September 14, 2010

by Caciques Margaux Burnham and Tucker Beckett

Today students got to see something pretty amazing in the North Gazebo after lunch. Annabelle, a researcher, had caught two dogfish and one cat shark with the rest of the shark team this morning. Little is known about these elusive species, including the origin of the names “cat shark and dogfish,” in fact, every shark expert who came to breakfast at The Island School had no idea why they were named this way!

The shark team’s normal procedure goes that they just tag the sharks and release them, but out of the 25 sharks tagged that day, these three didn’t survive because of a 4 meter six gill shark tangling up the line. Luckily for us, Annabelle brought them back to campus and gave us a mini-lesson on these fantastic species. Although most of us were tired from classes and ready for a post-lunch nap, the exhibition of sharks was too exciting to resist! Many of us had the courage to touch the shark’s dorsal fins, tails and even the eyeballs, which are a unique shade of blue-green that helps them see deep in the ocean where there is not much sunlight. It was a cool introduction to sharks, especially for those on the shark research team.

-Margaux Burnham

Editors note: Check back soon for a post explaining more about CEI's Shark Research program!

This morning brought me out of my bed with a jolt; it was the second day of timed run-swims, and yet again half of the school would be frantically running and swimming all across the point to show ourselves what we could do. After a brief morning circle and some stretching all around, we spread ourselves out over the boathouse beach, donned our scuba masks, and with a quick countdown, we dove into the water, beginning the mad race against time. By the time I was done slogging through, swim cut after cut, I was exhausted for the wall that lay before me, and the long jog after it. But the strong boost from my classmates waiting there launched me over the top and into a sprint for the cliff. I barely even realized I was doing it as I flung off of it and into the warm waters of Triangle Cut. As I surfaced and began to stroke towards the other end, I realized with dismay that my mask was not on my face where I had left it, and was already sunk to the bottom. Without looking back, I plunged on without it, and a few swims later, to the flagpole, where the cheers and encouragement of my friends pushed me towards the finish. (Don’t worry, I went back and got the mask later).

-Tucker Beckett