About three weeks ago, seven of my classmates and three of my teachers and I went on a once in a lifetime trip. We ventured into the unknown to the island San Salvador, a very secluded place that made it feel like a private paradise.
The REEF 2019 trip to San Salvador allowed me to learn so much, explore a beautiful place, and most importantly, further develop my love for marine science. We experienced so many unreal moments including swimming with dolphins, traversing down into a pitch-black natural cave, exploring coral reefs, and more incredible endeavors that I will treasure as memories for years to come.
For the majority of our trip, we traveled in truck beds along curvy dirt roads. To reach the coral and commence our research, we boated on crystal blue waters captained by our new friend, Tony. The trip was amazing, but it was also a lot of hard work. Speaking for the group, I can confidently say we are now Elkhorn coral experts; while at the beginning of the week, I personally knew nothing about the species (I actually thought it was spelled “Elk-Corn”). Growing up by the water, I had always had an interest in marine life, but this week in the Bahamas furthered my love of learning about the diverse species and ecosystems under the sea.
We were successful in the plantation of our homemade coral tree: designed, drilled, and crafted by our own team. As the coral fragments will take time to grow, we have to wait (and pray) to see whether or not the coral fragments thrive; but no matter whether they live on to grow larger or the opposite, the effort was progress, helping the marine science community to get one step closer to an effective method to help this endangered coral reef species. To implant our coral tree, the purpose of this trip, Ms. Parente worked hard filming as Mr. Cassista and Dr. Crosby struggled in the currents, hammering away to get the tree implanted, while us students repeatedly dove to hang the coral on our new tree. We formed lasting bonds as we accomplished our goals together, making new friends, and having a good time every second, as well as successfully completing an ambitious goal.
I highly recommend this experience to anyone looking to have a new adventure, to see a real live ocean ecosystem up close, and to make an effort to save the coral reefs we humans are mostly to blame for destroying.