At the start of Field Work Term I had the most amazing opportunity to go on a Bennington class trip with Betsy Sherman (aka Biology Goddess/Science teacher extraordinaire) along with our Coral Reef Biology class to the Cayman Islands on a SCUBA diving data collection trip. We all got SCUBA certified (woohoo!) and went on to collect data for REEF.org, an organization that relies on volunteers (mostly students) to collect and submit surveys so they can monitor reef fish populations in the Caribbean.
There is no way to even begin to explain what it feels like to be breathing under 60 feet of water, inches away from some of the most beautifully bizarre organisms on this planet! In addition to swimming through schools of brightly colored fish, we observed sea turtles munching on sponges, huge maze-like coral colonies, shoals of squid rapidly changing color, and the list goes on and on.
I had been dreaming of going on this trip even before I was accepted into Bennington, and it was one of the (many) reasons that I feel in love with this place. “Betsy Sherman’s SCUBA trip” became sort of a mantra for me, and after years of waiting (the trip itself is offered every couple of years) I finally found myself dressed head to toe in SCUBA gear getting ready to dive in! Plus, we had the chance to SCUBA through a shipwreck which was totally awesome.