Our post-Sandy internet on campus has been limited. And, the days leading up to the hurricane were a busy rush of preparation and planning. Our apologies that this has prevented regular Student Updates from being posted. So now, please enjoy one update written early last week by our new blog writer for the remainder of kayak rotations: Reilly Simmons. And, later today, look forward to a post-Sandy update written by Reilly yesterday. I’m Reilly Simmons and I will be writing the blog during this academic rotation. Having returned from our kayak and down island trips, K1 and K2 are now back on campus. We were excited to see all of our friends who were in the opposite rotations as us (K3 and K4) and we happy to see them after the eleven days we spent outside of campus. My fellow K2-ers were pleased to be back in our dorm yesterday night, feeling as if our rooms were five start hotels compared to our previous nights on kayak. Only ten days earlier, leaving from campus, we paddled around to the leeward side of the island, stopping at various white sand beaches to camp for the night. Most of us were lucky enough to go spearfishing on our kayaking on our trips to gain a local perspective on where our food comes from. At some point, I even found myself breaking the surface of the Caribbean sea, spear pole and fresh lobster at hand. Eventually paddling all the way around the cape of the island to reach lighthouse beach, the site where we would all do our solos.

Spanning the beach, all twelve of us were confined to our own personal slice of the beach to reflect for the following forty-eight hours. Some of us found ourselves talking to crabs, laying in the sun, and reflecting about all of our experiences here at the Island School so far. Returning from kayak, some of us went out on our down island trip, exploring all that Eleuthera has to offer. Stopping first at the hatchet bay caves, my group, K2, spent the morning exploring the cave, swimming in the underground pools, and coating each other with what seemed to be “cave mud”, yet none of us really knew for sure what it was. Exploring this cave made me realize even more how classes don’t have to be in a conventional class room and that you really can learn about the affects of tourism on a culture from your teacher who just happens to be covered in mud, half a mile underground. We continued on, exploring the many settlement while along the way talking to many local residents about their own personal opinions on tourism and culture in the Bahamas. Eventually making it all the way to Harbor Island, where I was able to walk around the small streets of the island and watch as they began to prepare for the tourists season.

Now, as I transition back into academics and campus life, I watch as many of my friends now head out on their own down island and Kayak trips, unsure of what to expect, but certain it will be an adventure. As we all start our fifty seventh day today, we are amazed to look back on the experiences we have had so far and are eager to make the most of the time we have left here.