806 McCulloch Street, Suite 102 Raleigh, NC 27603 United States
Bahamas: San Salvador
June 26 to July 16 and July 22 to August 11
Fascinated with the underwater world or interested in becoming a marine biologist? Join us at the world renowned Gerace Research Center in the eastern Bahamas to learn about the marine world and intricate reef systems firsthand, with the reefs, seagrass beds and beaches of San Salvador as your classrooms. The sheltered waters of Grahams Harbour are immediately accessible to the Center, with nearby seabird rookeries and patch reefs. Other study areas close by include hypersaline lagoons filled with ancient stromatolites, mangrove channels and fringing reefs that are home to an abundance of colorful marine life big and small. Under the instruction of professional marine biologists, the curriculum is designed to anchor traditional learning with immediate real-world application and hands-on experience. The combination of dive training, field experiments, lectures, exams and marine surveys provides a comprehensive overview of tropical marine biology.
Settle into the Gerace Research Center and explore the impressive facilities of this former submarine tracking base. Ready to get wet? Hop into the warm, turquoise blue water for some scuba and snorkeling refreshers and learn the basics of scientific diving. Then we get started with our first marine biology lessons. What is coral? How does it form into reefs? Snorkel through the patch reefs at Rocky Point to see what we've discussed firsthand. Then hop on the skiff in Grahams Harbor and ride to Green Cay to see the endangered San Salvador iguanas.
The best way to learn about corals is up close and in the water. The reefs of San Salvador have a rich variety that is quickly accessible from both shore and boats. Observe coral species we've studied in class at various snorkel and scuba sites. Examine rare pillar and fused staghorn corals. Learn how to diagnose coral diseases and colonies experiencing bleaching and algal overgrowth. Analyze and discuss the feeding habits, life cycles, symbiotic relationships and ecological concerns of a coral reef system. As our skills in the water progress, we head out on our first wall dives. Check out a spectacular reef which drops dramatically from 35 to 6,000 feet. Keeping your eyes peeled for big fish and sea turtles, descend into deeper waters to survey different growth forms. Then drift snorkel Pigeon Creek and cruise along the mangrove roots looking for tiny fish. Scuba dive at night to discover the magic of bioluminescence and the marine worlds nocturnal metamorphosis.
Need a break after cramming your brain with coral knowledge? Trips to Cockburn Town and other island settlements provide a welcome distraction. Get to know friendly locals as you shop for souvenirs. Climb to the top of Dixon's lighthouse for a magnificent view of San Salvador. Investigate archaeological sites and the ruins of abandoned sugar, citrus and sisal plantations. Feast on a picnic lunch at the beach where Christopher Columbus first landed. Venture inside coastal caves or bodysurf at Sandy Point.
The next phase of our course comprises reef fish ecology. Over a hundred species are found in the waters surrounding San Salvador, each with unique behaviors and habitat preferences. After some introductory ichthyology lessons, well focus on the details of different fish families. Sea basses, parrotfish, stingrays, puffers&we cover these and many more. Visits to shallow patch reefs and deeper walls get us up close to the creatures we study. Learn how to hover upside down to find ledge-dwelling basslets and hamlets as you become master fish stalkers! Soon you can tell related species apart with no more than a quick glance. These skills will soon come in handy!
We spend our final days as professional marine biologists in training, assisting with ongoing international research programs. We design and carry out our own underwater fish count surveys for REEF and help with monitoring projects. Preparation and teamwork is essential for these scuba-based studies, but were ready. An evening hike to North Point provides a breezy place to watch the sun sink into the ocean. Maybe we can even see the green flash! In this beautiful setting, we marvel at how much we've learned, explored and accomplished, and at how fast three weeks can fly by.
* Hands-on marine biology studies and research
* Explore and scuba dive the thriving reefs off San Salvador in the Bahamas
* Marine ecology projects
* Data collection for the REEF Fish Survey Project
* Earn your PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver certifications
* Island exploration
Call for more details
in Groups of separate trips of 10-12 participants by age