by Caciques Annie B and Helen Wednesday mornings: sacred sleep in days... except for those brave enough to venture out to Tunnel Rock for an early morning free dive! Those of us who took Maxey’s advice “You can take a dirt nap at the end of your life”, woke up bright and early and headed out to the boats, “Mac Daddy” and “Kenny T”. Once we arrived at Tunnel Rock and anchored our boats, we all jumped into the wavy waters and began our dives. In pairs of two, we took turns diving down toward the vibrant reefs, taking in as much of the beautiful scenery as we could in one breath. Practice truly must make perfect, because the more we tried, the better we got, and soon enough we were all making impressively deep dives. After the sun had risen well above the waters, we made our way back to the boats, and back to campus... just in time for breakfast. Waking up early that morning and jumping in the salty ocean, rather than sleeping in my warm bunk was one of the best choices I’ve made so far at The Island School. Though it was simply a fun morning activity, it was a phenomenal way for me to “seize the day”, and made me appreciate the true meaning of living life in the moment. -Annie
Today, in the tradition of true Bahamian culture, we were introduced to conch fishing by a local fisherman, Nehemiah. After studying sustainable fishing practices in Human Ecology, we decided to go out and do some fishing of our own.
We set out on some of the smallest boats on campus, which probably wasn’t the best idea considering the waves today were some of the biggest I’ve seen since we got here. After flying around the inside of our boats, we finally reached the perfect spot, as declared by our fishing expert. Donning masks, fins and snorkels we leapt off the boat into the clear water below. Carried by a crazy fast current, we followed Nehemiah as he somehow spotted conch shells, which I swear were the same color as the sea floor. It was amazing seeing how connected he was with the water around him, zoning in on a single square foot of the whole ocean floor. I floated along beside him, searching for the shells, but didn’t spot one. Maybe it’s a little too early to declare myself a true Bahamian fisherman. Of course Nehemiah had been doing it since he was a teenager, so maybe if I start now I’ll be as good as he is by the time I’m in my sixties. We floated around until we were sufficiently pruney and had a total of about 10 conchs. Swimming down to depths of almost 20 feet, we retrieved the conchs to carry back to campus for a midday snack. We then made the long, bumpy journey back to campus, mentally preparing ourselves for the task of de-shelling and eating raw conch. We set up shop on the boat deck and watched as Nehemiah very quickly removed all 10 conches from their shells. Shockingly, we discovered that the body of a conch is a lot more complicated than what we see when we eat our conch burgers in Rock Sound. They have eyes and guts and a bunch of other parts, which Nehemiah expertly removed, exposing the edible part. Having never eaten raw fish before in my life, it was a little scary, but here you have to do everything once, so I ate it and it was delicious. As Christy said, “You’ll never taste anything fresher in your life.” It was an exciting day out on the water and I can now say that I have eaten some of the freshest conch in the world.