Thursday, February 1, 2018

Cape Eleuthera & Island School

So many of our stories seem to start with 'we met a guy in a bar' - well this is another one.....
A new pet? Our giant isopod shell
We came into the marina at Cape Eleuthera after a fabulous sail down from Governors Harbour, as a front was due to pass over. This was a bit of a strange place - kind of a ghost town!  It was developed in the 70s by Juan Trippe (of Pan Am Airlines fame), as a playground for the rich and famous, it included a golf course, tennis courts, plans for 60 villas, an airport capable of landing jets and the marina. The infrastructure was all put in place but the homes were never built; we understand due to a change in property legislation in the Bahamas. The resort went bankrupt just before Trippe died in the early 80s and the resort changed hands but was then left to return to bush and scrub, however as you walk around you find evidence of it everywhere, from concrete foundations to dug out waterways. The marina has undergone a bit of rejuvenation in recent years and has some new development happening but it's pretty low key with just one restaurant / bar, which is basic but good.

Stormy Day at Cape Eluthera
One of several dug out area ready for the development but now just left
No Name Harbour
Walking around no-name harbour - collecting rubbish off the beach

It was at the bar we met Chip. We quickly learned that Chip and his wife lived at Cape Eleuthera, his wife running the local school and Chip manages the infrastructure for the Island School which was just down the road. Chip invited us down to the Island School the next day for a fascinating tour of this amazing organisation which benefits the local community, provides semester programs for high school students and is doing world class marine and sustainability research. We met the CEO, Ed and several other shark researchers, they had been doing some cool stuff by putting traps and deep sea cameras in the deep water just off the cape. Ed had all these incredible creatures in glass jars and then as a souvenir of our visit gave me an Giant Isopod shell that lives about 500m down in the ocean- I'm not sure what Australian customs will think of this when we get home but it's super cool, like a huge sea woodlouse (see picture above).

The wonderful Island School at Cape Eleuthera

We met up with Chip at the new centre for sustainable development -  a very clever design to keep cool. Here students are involved in sustainability projects to benefit us all, not just the Island School.

Everything, literally everything at the Island School is recycled - they even run their mini buses on biodiesel they make from cooking oil taken off cruise ships.

Here the are drying wood for furniture - used on the site - no power just sun!

The bike centre is servicing bikes for use by students and in the community

The boat shed - dive centre. These guys are out diving everyday for research and training skills, the local school has diving as part of it's curriculum

Not a bad view to study

looking back over some of the buildings and grounds that includes a 'poo-poo garden' that uses human waste to fertilise plants on the campus

Island School nursery, special shade cloth is in use and the veggies are growing in fish poop as the soil 

Deep see critters in the lab

Fish tanks for research projects, making fish poop for growing vegetables

All water on site is either rain water or solar powered pumps from wells - tanks situated around the site store it and the conch shell shows how full it is. Even all sewage is processed on site.

Chip brings us to his place a shows us his photo book of rounding cape horn with Skip Novac - is there no end to this guy's talents?

Pig Palace - including inspiring signs from the students

Chip shows us the flow of water coming in from the well

Chip and Andrew - what an amazing and interesting day - we learned so much.
Learn more about the island school at

We spent three nights and met some great cruisers while being rolled around the somewhat swell prone marina, then set sail for the Exumas.


1 comment:

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