by Caciques Carter and Griffen Three shrill notes from the irate alarm clock permeate through the room of 12 sleeping boys. Brendan slaps down the source of this rude interruption and slowly the 12 of us roll out of bed, preparing for our first run, a 4.25 jog through the lush wilderness. Despite fighting new temperatures, unreal humidity, and foreign surroundings, we all returned with smiles of accomplishment and a new-found pride. After brief chores and breakfast, we said our goodbyes to our friends who had spent their morning preparing for the 3-day kayak trip around south Eleuthera; we would stay behind, to spend that time learning how to scuba dive.
After a brief meeting with our instructors and Chris Maxey, the 24 of us staying on campus split into smaller diving groups of 5-6 students and 2 teachers. Our boathouse manager, Ron, taught us everything we needed to know about the gear–what each tube and weird flagella did and how they connected to one another. We learned how each piece of gear was vital to our experience underwater. Understandably, many of us were anxious about diving for the first time, what to expect and how to be safe. But, like the run, we students leaned on each other for both moral and physical support. And, with such small groups, each of us received plenty of personal attention and instruction with our two diving gurus. They taught us the basics of breathing, maneuvering, communicating underwater, and how to respond to many different problems while diving–how to respond to an empty tank, how to breath off of a buddy’s backup regulator, how to clear masks, and how to safely equalize. After hours of heavy lifting and relentless drills, we had finally been rewarded with the feeling of success. With the foundations of diving, we descended to the deep unknown (well, like 40 feet deep) and explored The Saddle, a large dredged out hole, rich in aquatic life, like lionfish and starfish. Our first dive down here at The Island School with our new community had been remarkable. We all anticipate exploring all of the treasures that Eleuthera has to offer and using this knowledge as part of our awesome curriculum down here at The Island School.