Grass, Mud and Chickens

See photos from Day 2 of our trip here.

Friday we all woke early to have the first meal with our eating units.  Everyone is assigned to a group that meets for meals, bookwork check-in and excursions. The groups have a mixture of students, staff, chaperones and kids which allows for bonding with people that you wouldn’t normally have opportunity.  The food is plentiful and well prepared by the families living in the unit that serves it.  Everyone is required to pitch in for cleanup!

After breakfast and daily announcements, the students set off on their first full day of marine study. First year students spent their day at the grassy mud flats on the pier outside the resort and a quarry roughly 15 minutes away.

The grassy mud flats were described by Anna Paetkau.

“It’s important to shuffle when you aren’t snorkeling so you don’t step on marine life hidden in the ocean floor, like sting rays.  We snorkeled around, diving down to find shells.  We found a lobster family under a rock. Some of us saw sting rays, small sharks and barracuda.  We also saw some fire coral, sponge and a school of small fish which we tried to catch but they are so fast.”

After lunch they went to the local quarry, where according to Anna,

“It was important to jump in and away so you don’t disturb the upside down jelly fish that live near the edges.   We swam around the edges where the rock wall and mangroves are looking for lIfe inside the mangroves. It was murky and mostly full of jelly fish. On the wall you could see sea worms, a little algae, and anemones.  We also swam across to the other side of quarry to see comb jelly fish.”

Second year students studied quadrants.  Trey Santiago of Northridge High School said,

“We took a quadrant made of PVC pipe that is 1 meter x 1 meter and threw it into the water.  Then we would tell those on the pier what we found within the quadrants to record it.  I saw some algae, fish and some sponge.”

The IB Art students spent the day, “Traveling to Key West stopping along the way at various locations to find inspiring things in nature [to create drawings for later],” said Dani Smith.

Later that evening we all traveled to Key West which is about an hour and half from Layton.  The students were able to see and experience the interesting and colorful life that is Key West.  Dani’s favorite part was the pier at Mallory Square where the local artists come out at night.  The sword swallower was a favorite of Dani’s.  Trey enjoyed Mallory Square as well and liked how the local architecture was incorporated into nature.  However he felt the homes were to crowded and wouldn’t want to live there!

One of the odd things you will see in Key West are the many chickens and roosters roaming the streets, affectionately called “gypsy chickens” by the locals. Walking around you will see little families of chickens, rosters and chicks nesting in gutters and other small spaces.  They have gotten used to people and wander in and out of open restaurants.  Check out this article for more information on why the population has grown so large.

The bus arrived back at Lime Tree around 10:45pm just in time for everyone to get to bed for another early morning of marine study!