Well I have been extremely busy, but now that I have settled into my midterm break, I can fill you all in about my recent adventures. So my field trip began at 8 am on Sunday… I wasn’t even hungover for the hour and a half boat ride! (ok, so I was still drunk but hey… better than puking/seasick) We got to North Caicos at around 10:00, which was my home for three days. So we arrived to our campsite, was the backyard of a house. We set up our tents, and had lunch. The site was very interesting, as the person who lived there was very into the environment. There was a small farm, which had a turkey, ducks, roosters, and other little birds. He also breeds fish for the aquarium trade, so he had a ton of beautiful fishies. Next, we gathered into a bus which took us to Wade’s Plantation. The bus was a pretty old looking school bus that was borderline falling apart…but it ran so that is definitely a plus. Our tourguide on Middle Caicos was so knowledgeable, it was unbelievable.. He seemed to know about every single plant and animal that we came across. It was awesome to hear his stories and learn about all the native organisms. Middle and North Caicos look strikingly different than what I am used to on South. There were so many trees and it looked so lush that I really felt like I was in another country. Anyways, we got a tour of Wade’s Plantation… and learned a ton about slavery, it was cool to learn about the history. After this, we visited two different farms. One was government run and the other was privately owned. The first had a ton of goats, which were soo cute. There were even some babies, one of which was born just the day before! It was definitely an exhausting day, and by the time we returned to our campsite, I was ready for a nap. I crashed for an hour or two, than it was time for dinner. The women whose lawn we were using (I am blanking on her name) she made us some dinner, and it was pretty good. The worst part of my experience was the bugs. Ugh the no-see-ems were brutal. I had to wear pants and long sleeves despite the 90 degree and humid weather. After dinner, we had a bonfire, and I enjoyed some delicious smores. The next day we took an hour bus ride to Middle Caicos. The islands are connected by a bridge, so there was no need for a boat.
My day on Middle Caicos was unbelievable. I am obsessed with this small, relatively uninhabited island. We explored caves that the island is known for, and it was an incredible sight. Our tourguide was knowledgeable about all the bats that inhabited the caves, and we saw tons of these critters. The caves were so beautiful, and it made me want to explore. There were so many caverns and crevices, and water filled with little shrimp that don’t need liught to function. It was crazy cool, I added cave scuba diving to my bucket list as I saw how clear and beautiful the water was in the cave. After the caving adventures we ventured to the Middle Caicos Co-Op that had some local artisans crafts they made out of dried sea weed, it was awesome. I purchased a little ipad cover (…I don’t even have an ipad) but hey, it is beautiful and will come in useful for something… Anyways, we enjoyed our lunch here, than headed off to the beach. I have been to quite a few beaches in my lifetime, but I can honestly say that this one was up there in my list of most beautiful beaches. It was known as Mudjin Harbor (google it, it is breath taking). It is located in the middle of no where, and we were the only ones there it was spectacular. There was a huge crevice cut out from the waves, and than a huge stretch of white sand beaches with the bak drop of cliffs. It was unbelievable it is hard for me to describe. Ahh,. There was even a path that lead to a secret beach that you have to walk through a hole in the earth to get to. It is the coolest thing I have ever seen. After the beach we headed back to the campsite to practice techniques for surveying (the whole purpose of this fieldtrip.. I will explain later) After this, we had dinner than Luda and I hungout alone on a rock wall, bonding and talking effortlessly for the whole night… it was wonderful.
The next morning we headed back on the TCI ferry and headed to Provo, the island I stayed on the whole week with my fam. We got into groups (I was partnered with Irene) and we headed to the world renowned Grace Bay Beach to survey tourists about seafood. It is not tourist season by any means, so it was a little difficult to fulfill the minimum surveys, but we did it! We got to meet some lovely people, all of whom thought we were quite adorable college gals. It was so interesting to hear their opinions on the seafood serves here in the Turks and Caicos. They were like “yes, I got Tilapia which was caught locally!” like sorry hun, that was shipped in from miles away, def not caught here in the Caribbean. After the beach, we were to the “mall” known as Saltmills Plaza to finish our surveying. I might have got a little distracted and went shopping between surveys, buying some much needed Turks and Caicos souvenirs. After we were finished with surveys, we headed to Ports of Call Hotel, where we checked in and I got settled into my room for the night. Ugh, I can’t even describe to you how happy I was to have air conditioning and a shower!! I practically ran to the shower, and cleaned of the deet/sunscreen that had accumulated on my skin over the past few weeks. It was my first hot fresh water shower since September! And boy did it feel good. After my shower and dinner, I decided to try to find my parents. With sketchy wifi, I knew they were last at Saltmills at a restaurant for dinner, so I walked in that general direction and found them! It was so nice to be reconnected, I love them to death. I shared some of my stories from the past semester, and then we headed to the grocery store to stock up for the week. For here is hella expensive, but my parents are quite smart and brought quite a bit of food with them (thank goodness), because the prices at the grocery store were outrageous! We headed back to their hotel with the essential foods, and they showed me around the beautiful hotel, it was breathtaking. Before I knew it, it was time for me to head back to Ports of Call for my 10:00 curfew, so my dad dropped me back off. I would like to add that the driving here is on the opposite side of the road than in America, so I was quite impressed with the amazing job my dad did!
The next few days were a blur, but they were pretty heavenly. They were filled with some family time (missing my sister, Kylie, of course) and beach time and lots of relaxing. We explored tons of beaches on the island, and found the most secluded and picturesque views. Thanks to Google and Trip Advisor, we did not have a single bad experience. All of our meals were to die for. From conch salad, to grilled lobster, and rum… lots of rum, the tastes of the island are incredible. The views are just as mouthwatering, and we enjoyed our first lunch out at La Brisas, which was located on Chalk Sound. The water on chalk sound was unlike anything I have ever seen. The shades of blue are unbelievable, and the chalky hue just made it so unique. I will def try to include photos of this. Another noteworthy experiences was our meal at Bugaloos, literally on the beach. Our table was located on the sand, on an amazingly beautiful beach. There were locals in the water cleaning fish, so we knew the food was super fresh. I got some fish… and boy, it was tasty. I also had the most delish drink of my life. It was a mix of guava, mango, strawberry, and rum… super yummy, and the scenery definitely heightened my senses.
This morning, during our walk on the beach, we decided to bring our masks to go snorkeling. We stopped by at the snorkeling site, where we headed out to the reef. The currents were not as bad as the past few days, so it was super relaxing. I had a blast showing my parents the ocean and the underwater landscape I have been experiencing for the past month. It was super beautiful, and I was thrilled that an eagle ray soared by a few times. They are such giant and graceful creatures, it was an amazingly fun morning. After our snorkel, we came back to the hotel for lunch, and then decided to go on another island adventure. We agreed on checking out Long Bay Beach, and after miles of dirt roads and dead ends, we finally found the beach access. As soon as we arrived, the rain cleared, it was such perfect timing. The beach was empty, pristine, and overall magnificent. I took out my water float, and soaked up the sun in the crystal clear waters. The ocean was unreal, so blue yet crystal clear. I let Mom float and relax while I donned my snorkel mask, and explored the waters. I was followed by dozens of small fish, who loved my company and followed me everywhere I went. I started collecting shells, and observing the wildlife under the sea. Before I knew it, an hour had past and I was starting to get water logged. My time in the water was so fun, and I found some unique and beautiful shells, and made quite a few friends with the fishies. I swear to god I am supposed to be a mermaid, or maybe I was a fish in a past life, because I feel so calm and happy when I am underwater. I could spend my entire day under the sea, just hand me a snorkel and mask, and I could explore forever. I love to watch the fish, and just the feeling of floating is so relaxing, ahh I love the ocean so much. Speaking of the ocean, my mom recently showed me a movie on Netflix called Mission Blue. It is a documentary about Sylvia Earle, a pioneer in oceanography. She made me realize that my passion for the ocean has a potential to change the world. Her passion for the ocean has created a movement to protect the waters, and she is just such an amazing woman. I highly recommend you check out the movie, it will change your prospective on the ocean, and the resources that come from it. It breaks my heart to see how damaged the oceans are becoming, and I really do want to do everything I can to change this, and help with conservation and restoration of the world’s seas.
So, I am not gonna lie I am pretty exhausted right now. Tomorrow I fly back to South Caicos, and I really am excited to see everyone once again, and I even miss all the locals. Everyone I have met in the country are just unbelievably nice. They all are so genuine and kind, I love the vibes I get from them. The smiles are contagious and it is hard to be upset when you are around so many nice and happy people. Sometimes looking at the conditions and poverty that some of the live in is upsetting, but if you look deeper and examine the mental health of these people, you will see that they don’t mind living simply, and are still so happy. It really makes me wonder why material objects are so important to some. Anyways, I am off for now! Goodnight, goodnight!