Join us as we board our flight in Ft. Lauderdale and find ourselves just one hour later is the rich island paradise that is Nassau. Located on the island of New Providence in the renowned Bahamas island chain, Nassau is an ideal destination for our exploration of the fantastic yet fragile Caribbean marine ecosystem. On our arrival, we get acquainted quickly with the ocean that will be our classroom for the next two days as we board our pre-research vessel- a sturdy double-decker ferry- and head over to Blue Lagoon Island, home of Project B.E.A.C.H. (Bahamas Education Association for Cetacean Health). Here, students will be schooled in the husbandry, health and behavior of marine mammals before coming face to face with the island's resident dolphins in a once in a lifetime encounter! Whether it's a dolphin kiss, hug or remarkable 'foot push,' every participant will create their own personal dolphin connection and truly understand the need to protect the marine home of these incredible mammals. As we leave Blue Lagoon Island for the evening's rest, we have much to reflect on and look forward to. A home-cooked meal of fresh Bahamian seafood waits for us at our quiet beach inn on the grounds of a former orange plantation, where we restore our energy for the next day's exploration.
Our ocean odyssey continues as we explore the interconnectedness of the marine habitats back at Blue Lagoon Island. Learning to identify local reef fish and invertebrates is essential before embarking on our snorkeling expedition. Gliding through the tropical waters, we'll become acquainted with the rich variety of corals that exemplify the great bio-diversity of this reef system. Our knowledge is reinforced by the building of our own coral reef model as well as our exploration of the neighboring inter-tidal zone. Assembling our own traps, we'll catch and release animals living in this harsh environment, studying firsthand their unique adaptations for survival. We'll head back to our inn nestled in the grove with a greater understanding of how each animal- from the majestic dolphin to the curious parrotfish to the tiny periwinkle snail- is vital to this amazing marine system.
Day three finds us heading to dry land to delve into the rich island history of Nassau. We've caught a glimpse of the traditional conch vendors as we ferried across the Nassau Harbor- defended from 1789 by the cannons of Fort Charlotte which are still on display for us to discover. A local guide heads up our historic walking tour which includes visits to the Vendue House, a former slave auction site and current site of the Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation, as well as the Parliament building, Government House and the Cenotaph (Monument to fallen heroes).
As we journey through Bahamian history, we will unlock secrets of the islands' natural past, with a look at the medicinal plants and old herbal remedies still practiced here. No tour of this historic town would be complete without an exploration of Bay Street, with its straw market and local flavor. Throw in the historic underbelly complete with pirate lore- stories of revenge and plunder that add intrigue to this rich island culture- and we've truly experienced this magnificent island town. As we say goodbye to Nassau and fly home, we can look down at the deep blue of the Atlantic, knowing that we've come a little closer to understanding its secrets.