I am finally back home and finished my study abroad course on Union Island. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to see so many beautiful and healthy reefs. It’s easy to say I was star struck on our first dive by the 360 views I had of this reef. The reef was alive with so much life and activity and that is something I will always remember. Not only did we witness beautiful marine life every day, but we were able to collect data that could make a difference to the local community. On this trip we had the pleasure of speaking and working with the local nonprofit president, Katrina, and the head warden, Roseman. They were both so passionate about their island and keeping it pure and healthy. On our last day we snorkeled a spot called Ashton Lagoon. This lagoon was part of a restoration project to help the flow of water, mangroves, and bird life. Snorkeling around the lagoon seemed like just a fun day but the benthic photos we took will act as an update of the marine life and I’m so excited to be a part of making a change for the better.
Once our group was done snorkeling around, we were able to visit a local school and speak to a group of second graders. The kids were so energetic and eager to learn. We created a game with them to try and demonstrate how important mangroves and coral reefs are to their island. We spoke about the ways they could help by keeping their island clean.
I did not expect to make so many great memories and friends on this trip. Another thing I didn’t expect was how well I got to know the locals on such a personal level. As our group would walk the streets, we would often stop to talk to people we knew or someone who knew of us. I didn’t imagine in two weeks’ time I would feel so comfortable on Union Island. I will forever cherish the experiences I had on this trip!
Left: Group photo with locals. Top Right: Scuba group on our way to a reef. Bottom Right: The whole class out to dinner.