We awoke this morning around 6:30 a.m., finished up breakfast and last-minute packing, and drove out to the Belize City port, where we then spent the next hour and a half on a powerboat, which delivered us to Calabash Caye. This journey took us through large fields of mangroves and other sea-bound vegetation, as the captain of our boat maneuvered through the close-cut gaps between these plains. Once we landed on the caye, one of the island’s supervisors, Nicole, showed us our living quarters and facilities before we were supplied with an incredible lunch courtesy of the resident cooking staff. After lunch, our group hopped back on the boat for a short ride to our first dive destination of the trip: a shallow field of seagrass full of small fish and sea stars. A few members of the group were even able to photograph a passing ray and a barracuda. Overall, our first snorkel excursion was a definite success!

Once our dive had come to an end, we headed back to Calabash Caye to begin work on our on-Assignment projects. The two groups, photography and marine conservation, split off for group brainstorms to make sure each member had a good idea of what exactly they should be doing, and individual students then began to work on their projects. We ended the day with another amazing meal cooked by the on-island staff, as well as a celebration of one of our group members’ birthday. Overall, it was an incredible first day on Calabash Caye!

The next day we started off with a boat ride out to the Lighthouse Atoll, but with the help of our awesome boat captain, we made it to our snorkeling spot at the Blue Hole in good time. Our guides, Victoria and Monique, led us around the edge of the Blue Hole and answered lots of questions we had about our On Assignment projects. We got to see many species of fish like Blue Chromis, Parrotfish, Bermuda Chubs, a Grouper, and an Angel fish. Some of us also saw a Nurse Shark in the distance!

The group with our captain and guides after our snorkel in the Blue Hole. Photo by Jenny

The group with our captain and guides after our snorkel in the Blue Hole. Photo by Jenny

After our successful snorkel at the Blue Hole we took a short boat ride to Half Moon Caye for a delicious lunch packed up for us by the kitchen staff at CCFS. Then we took a walk to see the Red Footed Boobies that nest on the island. Photography students got lots of great photos of the birds and land hermit crabs while on our walk too.

Sophia and Joey taking photos of the hermit crabs. Photo by Jenny

Sophia and Joey taking photos of the hermit crabs. Photo by Jenny

A nesting red footed booby on Half Moon Caye. Photo by Jenny

A nesting red footed booby on Half Moon Caye. Photo by Jenny

Victoria and Monique took us to a snorkel spot called “The Aquarium” after lunch. Between the scenic boat ride, snorkeling at the Blue Hole (which was a once in a life time opportunity), and seeing the Red Footed Boobies on Half Moon Caye, we all had a day to remember!