Marina Cut, just adjacent to the Marina, was just opened up this week, meaning that Island School students are now permitted to jump off the low bridge and float down current cut (with facility supervision of course). So, now that the cut is now open, I was so excited to take my turn floating down the lazy river. My advisor, Flora Weeks, was kind enough to supervise a group of girls who all wanted to jump off of the low bike bridge and swim in the current cut. As soon as classes ended at 4:15, I ran up to girls dorm to change into a bathing suit, then I jumped on my bike and peddled towards the marina.

Before hopping in, I decided to make a quick marina store stop and buy an ice cream. After, I walked towards the cut and dangled my feet over the crystal clear water while enjoying the cold ice cream in the heat. After I had watched three or four people jump off, I decided that it was my turn. So, I grab my mask and snorkel. Just before jumping off, looked over my toes which hung over the edge of the bride into the vibrant blue water. The hue of the water was incredible because as a man made cut, it is very deep in the middle but quickly gets shallower on the outskirts.

I counted down from three, held my breath and took one huge leap off the bridge. Submersed in water I opened my eyes, remembering I had a mask on. I left the strong current float me down the cut as I watched the wide array of life swimming past me. To my left, I saw a cluster of mangroves that provided habitat for many small and colorful fish. Looking down, I saw a large ray gently gliding along on the bottom of the floor. So, I decided to hold my breath and dive down to try to get a better view. It was so incredible to see a ray so close; I got so excited under the water that I had to come back up for air. Continuing on my way, a little further down, I saw a huge nurse shark swimming in my direction. At first, my heart jumped a beat at the sight of such a large shark, but I quickly remember that nurse sharks pose no real threats to humans. So, the shark and I swam along side each other for what seemed like hours. But suddenly, the nurse shark darted out in front of me and then turned around to face me. He started to rise up to my level in the water and as he swam closer, I realized I should probably get out of its way. So, I dove down and let the shark swim over me. After, as I looked back it its dorsal fin swimming away, I was in complete awe. Hopping out of the water and walking back to the bridge to do it again, I was so completely amazed at what just happened.

-Hanna Pierce

Hanna