In the last week of March, The Island School campus had the honor of hosting cave diver, Brian Kakuk and his team at The Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute. Brian and his team have been diving caves and blue holes in The Bahamas for more than 20 years and were in South Eleuthera on an expedition. The many Blue Holes in South Eleuthera contain an intact fossil record that is helping the scientists piece together the history of The Bahamas as far back as 4,000 years ago.
Members of the expedition presented to Cape Eleuthera Institute staff in a presentation focusing on the significance of the fossil record. Nancy Albury from the National Bahamian Museum and Richard Franz of University of Florida natural history department, spoke on the fossil record being uncovered. They found remains of land tortoises, crocodiles, and birds, which suggest the caves were dry dating back 2500 to 4000 years. In other caves throughout The Bahamas, they have discovered human skeletal remains of the Lucayan people who once inhabited these islands.
At The Island School, Brian Kakuk, Kenneth Broad, a University of Miami marine and eco-scientist, and Thomas Iliffe, professor of marine Biology at Texas A&M University, shared a presentation on the exciting world of cave and blue hole diving. Their presentation included photographs taken as part of an expedition featured in National Geographic Magazine cover story. Dr. Iliffe shared some new finds he uncovered including brand new species he discovered living in blue holes and ocean cave environments in the area.
The team will continue exploring these caves and blue holes throughout The Bahamas and examining their finds, which will be appearing in an exhibit in the National Museum as well as on documentaries in the near future.