Wednesday: Exploring Island Culture and Snorkeling into another Spectacular Oceanic Blue Hole

Once again, we all woke up to a spectacular sunrise on the beach, ready to begin our day. After a delicious breakfast of grits, tuna scramble, and eggs, we set off on the buses towards Red Bays, which was originally settled by Seminoles who canoed over from Southern Florida in the 19th century. As well as meeting a friendly boar and many roosters, we got to learn from several different individuals of the community. First, we encountered a basket weaver named Nicholas. He taught us to weave a basket, and let us take turns. Next, we gathered around a man named Otis. He was nothing less than a Renaissance man, being in the sponging, painting, and boar tusk industry. Later on we came across a family of wood carvers who had a passion for bartering with tourists, as well as a musician named Wilton Russel, who depicted his thoughts of the political system through song. Leaving the settlement, we climbed into the buses and set off to Conch Sound blue hole. In the open space of the hole, we witnessed the beauty of a large school of spadefish. Lionfish, grunts, moray, snappers, and parrotfish inhabited the chasm as well. There was also the rare sighting of a barracuda along the edge of the hole.  After gathering our snorkel gear and drying off, we headed back to the station with a small stop at the North Andros Supercenter to buy snacks and other needed supplies. At the station, the professors from Texas A & M gave us a lecture about the basic geology of the Bahamas. We learned about the sedimentation of the island, the process that created blue holes, and the possibility of rising islands if it weren’t for the Gulf Stream.  After a long and amazing day we all sat in the classroom to watch a Nova documentary about blue holes. It showed how the blue holes were formed and beautiful documentation of what inhabited the blue holes before humans came onto the Bahamas. It was amazing to see what the cave divers have to do in order to explore the caves in the blue hole.  They discovered new species, including birds that inhabited nests before the blue hole was covered with water. Besides species, the documentary covered the composition of the water, the rocks, and the basics of scuba diving at such deep depths. As we walked towards our cabins, the moon glistened against the sea before we settled down for a good night’s rest.

Video Highlights:

Rake and Scrape

Blue Hole