This morning, we had the choice to attend a Bahamian church service; quite an experience for those who went to the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Cockburne (pronounced Coe-burn) Town. Eliza B. and Alison B. described their morning for us: "It was a pretty standard service, and was super welcoming to everybody (judging by the hug-filled meet-and-greet). It was different in that the hymns were sung first, and the pastor preached very loudly and repetitively for the next 35 minutes. It was a small church, and the soft pink walls, chairs in place of pews, and the large boquet of flowers on the altar gave it a very homey feel. The fact that it was a straight shot to the beach reminded us that we are in the Bahamas, and this, in fact, is not a dream we will wake up from to the cold snowy north."
After lunch, we reconvened at the truck to drive barely two miles to North Point. We then hiked up a craggy trail hugged tightly on either side by Bay Lavender, 7-year Apple, and Poisonwood (which we avoided at all costs) to the "point" where we free-climbed down the cliff-side. Ok, so it was more of a steep, pointy staircase, but it did involve quite a bit of finess to actually get down to the beach. Here, we abandonned our bags--but not our shoes, as we would be hiking on the Cay as well as swimming around it--on the rocks beneath the ledge to cross the sea to Cut Cay. While some of us chose to snorkel (Jen...), the rest of us decided we might as well walk.
This session was a bit more tedious that what we've done previously, as we were pretty close to the breakers and managed to get caught up in some hefty waves. Much of this reef was only a foot or two below the surface, but went deep enough to provide some pretty creepy areas to explore (you never know what's hiding under that ledge!). This, as well as the current and the larger waves made this reef harder to navigate, but we preservered in the name of science! There was another barracuda sighting by Joe B. (the biggest we've seen thus far), and a couple of eels poking in and out of the rocks (Kari I. and Kyrie D.).
We slowly made our way back to the shore, where we put on our shoes and hiked up Cut Cay with the hopes that we would see some San Salvador Iguanas. We saw one itty-bitty baby iguana crawling around beneath some rocks, but other than that, not one scale did we see. We did however see copious amounts of hermit crabs, nerites (a type of snail), and fuzzy chitons on the rocks in the surf. We were also treated to a hill-top botany lesson on some of the plants on the island, courtesy of Dr. Larsen.
After we hiked back down and crossed to North Point, we gathered for a class photo under the ledge. We then made the return trip to the truck, and found that Nicole P. was at the end of the rainbow. Not a pot of gold as everyone assumes. At this point, we're starting to hope for a list of organisms that we can present for our One-Organism-a-Day during class each evening, as we're starting to look for more interesting creatures within the reefs.
**Pictures provided by Kirk Larsen, Nicole Powers, and Kari Imhof.