by Caciques Tessa and James As we do every Wednesday, we began our day with a relaxing sleep-in. Today half of the students spent a long period in Marine Ecology, while others spent it in Human Ecology. Over the past few weeks in Human Ecology, we have been focusing on ecosystems and agriculture, both marine and terrestrial. Today I had to the chance to see and experience the agriculture right here on campus. For the first half of class I was at the Aquaponics center at CEI. We caught, weighed and filleted Tilapia that we will be eating for dinner on Friday. I was nervous to handle the fish, but I gave it a shot and helped scale a few fish. After this we moved over to the garden and farm on campus. At the garden we planted some tomatoes and helped fix the drip irrigation system. Josh showed us the most practical way to grow tomatoes in a climate like this one. It was interesting to see the behind the scenes work that goes into our food. Here at The Island School, one thing we struggle with is keeping our food local; both of these systems were put in place as an effort to become more self-reliant. At the end of a long day of classes, we were all surprised by a big load of mail, to lift our spirits!
A cascade of bubbles erupted from my regulator as I knelt down on the sandy bottom. I slowly looked around, surveying my environment, as I always do at the beginning of a dive. Peter gathered us together and gestured that we would be touring Cathedral for a short period before we broke off and studied the reef. We followed him, trying to feel as graceful and nonchalant as the thousands of fish around us. We craned our heads in every direction to try to absorb every detail, every life, and every unique symbiotic relationship that was flourishing around us. As my buddy and I settled into our spot and began to record the things we saw, I relaxed and focused as intently as I could on the cornucopia of organisms before my eyes. A massive yellow jack swerved past me and immediately caught my attention before swimming gracefully back up to the top of the reef and joining his companions. Schools of snapper flitted warily around each other while parrotfish continuously grazed on algae. Going from the hectic everyday experience of classes, homework and the like, going scuba diving was an amazing change of pace. We are able to learn in a completely different environment whilst gaining a new perspective on everyday life.