Three days ago, we left school for our Down Island Trip at approximately 8 am. Three vans, 28 people, and countless luggage headed to our first stop: the famous Mr. Sand’s bakery. Not only was it the best bread we’ve ever tasted, but we also got a taste of royalty as we heard about Mr. Sand’s adventure to Prince Charles’ wedding. His love for talking caused Remo to slyly end the conversation by complimenting his bread, and then we were off to the local market. You’d think we hadn’t eaten sweets in years by the way everyone loaded up on junk food. Don’t worry parents, we’re back to eating healthy! The local market owner, Mr. Bethel, then guided us to his pineapple farm. This is one of the only pineapple farms left in the Bahamas, and we have to admit they are the best pineapples we’ve ever eaten. Lucky for us, he even offered to introduce the girls to his grandson, whom he claimed we would “fall in love with on the spot.” After being in the sun for a couple of hours, we were ready to head off for lunch and ice cream, and took a refreshing cliff jump from twenty feet into an ice-cold ocean hole. After persuasion, everyone was able to take the leap, even if they were screaming the whole way down. Personally, this was our favorite part of the day! Then it came time to set up camp at Preacher’s Cave. After a quick tent-pitching lesson, we all took our tents to the beach and through trial and error, eventually ended up with something looking similar to a tent. Because we were all exhausted, dinner was quick, and we barely had the energy to finish up our s’mores before we headed off to bed. It was just in time, because as soon as we entered our tents it began to pour. The next morning we woke up with the sun at about 6:30 and quickly took down our tents while eating our favorite breakfast: granola! After an intense swim back and forth across the beach and a 6-minute ab workout, we headed over to Preacher’s Cave itself for a history lesson on The Bahamas. One thing that we’re going to take home with us is the benefits of the teaching methods here. We split into groups and each took turns standing on the historical preacher's podium, teaching the rest of the students about an aspect of The Bahamas’ history. We crammed back into the vans to travel to our next destination, Current Cut, where we floated a lazy river and ate PB&J for lunch.
The next stop was Hatchet Bay, which consisted of climbing down an old wooden ladder to enter into an eerie looking cave. We carefully maneuvered deeper into the earth surrounded by bats, with only flashlights and headlamps to guide us. Those who were daring went down another ladder into icy waist high water. Please don’t try this at home! While down in the cave, we learned about the history of the Lucayans and about how they found shelter in the caves. After leaving the cave we cleaned off as best we could (we hadn’t showered in two days, and we were covered in mud and clay) and headed off to Rock Sound for the Bahamian Independence Day celebration. Decked out in black, blue, and yellow we watched the marching band and socialized with the locals as they celebrated their 37 years of independence. Sadly, all parties have to end, and we finally arrived home with just enough energy to crawl into bed and fall asleep. The beds in the dorm have never felt so good. After an exciting two days we had a sleep in the next morning and then experienced an upbeat and unique local church service. It was exciting to be welcomed into their church with open arms. The rest of the day was open to exploration and relaxation. We are excited to jump back into human ecology and research tomorrow!
-Molly and Casey