The screams and squeals that echoed around campus marked K3 ‘s return home last night. The reunion was sweet but short-lived, however, for they depart once again this morning for their Down Island Trips. K1 and K2 have been enjoying their academic week on campus. We finished up our Human Ecology Intensives yesterday, which were focused on Sustainable Farming, Aquaponics, or Plastics. Each group spent a total of 9 hours working in these groups, learning in depth about the topics. Sustainable Farming learned about permaculture and all the systems we have on our own farm that imitate natural ones. We spent a handful of hours constructing an herb spiral. We made an escalating rock wall spiral and layered compost, cardboard, straw, pig manure, dirt, and seaweed on top. We put rotting logs on the bottom of the layers because they act like sponges and retain a lot of moisture. The purpose of the lasagna-like soil is to help create rich soil that stays wet, therefore reducing the amount of water needed. The purpose of the spiral shape is to create microclimates. The elevation in the middle creates shade for the sides, and the elevation encourages drainage of water, making the bottom of the spiral a shadier, wetter microclimate, and the very top the sunniest. Each group made videos about their projects and prepared 15-minute presentations for our last class. We had a lot of fun learning from our peers and watching their creative videos. The aquaponics group twisted some comedy into theirs, and scored quite a few laughs from the room. Otherwise, students here are continuing with morning exercise, with run and swim tracks doing routing workouts this morning. Our pole swim was especially tricky due to the current and the waves. Definitely swallowed a considerable amount of water. We had a long exercise two days ago, and everyone is getting excited, as the Super Swim looms closer and closer. We are praying for good conditions.

This week we also went on our night dives. This was probably one of my favorite nights at The Island School. Simply being out on the boats as the sun was setting, the water unusually glassy, was a ludicrously beautiful sight. Our group descended, equipped with dive lights, and we immediately saw what I am positive to be an 8-foot long loggerhead sea turtle. It was so big it almost looked prehistoric. Our group sat still watching it for a good while until we thought our lights were bothering it, and I was so excited that I was exclaiming to myself through my regulator and squeezing my dive buddy’s arm. There was a lot of other life to see down there that we explored during our dive, but that turtle was something I will never forget. I went to sleep that night smiling; so happy with the place I am living, the experiences I am having, and the people I get to share them with.