by Chris Teufel This past weekend consisted of a number of firsts and lasts. The first coffeehouse, but our last settlement day, the first Island School basketball game, the first, and hopefully the last, stitches and my first free dive. On Saturday morning we started off the day with run/swim track, and while the swimmer’s did their one mile trek to the pole off of the marina, the runner’s worked on sprints. We transitioned from sprinting up the hill leading into the inner loop, to sprinting to and from a telephone pole down the road. Both exercises provided a good wake up call and start to another beautiful day here. After breakfast, “Green Turtle” and “Hawksbill” classes went to settlement day in Rock Sound while “Loggerhead” and “Leatherback” stayed behind for History and Literature classes. In the afternoon we switched, and instead of Rock Sound the other classes headed to Tarpem Bay settlement while we discussed Omeros and got an introduction to historiography. That afternoon concluded classes for the weekend and officially started our Saturday night off. At 8:00 we kicked off the first coffeehouse with a performance from the sustainable fisheries and conservation research group performing an original poem by our very own Kate Barley and her research group. This act was followed by several a-cappella and guitar accompanied performances which blew the crowd away. After the coffeehouse, a movie was played in the Presentation Room while kids either went to bed early or stayed out to chat amongst ourselves.

Sunday morning brought an optional free dive after a late, 8:00 breakfast. With our group of about 15 students and faculty we boarded “Simon Says” and “Kenny” before making our way out on some of the clearest waters we’ve had here yet. We debriefed about the site, Cathedral, and its spiritual significance, which was why we always dive this site on Sunday’s, before dropping off the boats and into the clear, calm waters. Looking down at the site from above can take your breath away, but it’s not until your down there peering into the caves, tunnels, and ridges offered by this magnificent structure that you truly understand the awe-inspiring power of it. Maxey describes this site as something no man-made structure could compete with, which is another reason why it resonates so deeply with your spiritual side. We made roughly seven or eight dives, observing everything from small, two-three centimeter Christmas Tree Worms, to the occasional four foot remora and even a large Tiger Grouper. Two brave students, Harrison and Cutter, had the courage and lung capacity to dive down and travel through the tunnel of the structure and the way they spoke about the experience made me eager to try it next time. Later on, after lunch, a basketball game was held at Deep Creek Middle School where nearly every boy and a few courageous girls competed in our first game. Sunday night’s study hours consisted mainly of groups meeting in preparation for their Project Introductions on Monday morning. After meeting with my group for over an hour, practicing slides, adding final touches, and spell checking everything, we decided we were ready to present. That’s all for now but stay tuned for the next post on how these Project Intro’s went.