Oceans of Opportunity

Dispatch 052909 | it’s better in the Bahamas

Flying across the short stretch of Atlantic, the turquoise water and white beach sands emerge from the horizon and guide the way to this home away from home. Every time I see the islands in the distance, it is an instant reminder of how simple life can be, and free from distraction. It’s better in the Bahamas.

Keeping in mind that the tail and of this trip is in support of a research project, as I looked out over the vastness of the ocean during my flight it truly dawned on me that it is literally impossible to imagine that the amount of ocean research being done right now is sufficient. Let alone sufficient, it barely tells a fraction of the global story of how important our oceans are on this planet. There are generations upon generations of exploration to do, followed by research, conservation, and management of its resources. This is an exciting time.

I arrived in Georgetown, Exuma and made my way to town. There I met up with Catherine Booker, a friend and colleague who has dedicated a significant amount of time to living and working in this region over the past few years. She gave me the tour of the M/V Tortue, her family’s converted tug anchored in Elizabeth Harbor, which will be our home and work platform for the next week. We then swam over to the Chat & Chill on Stocking Island for a quick bite, and a few drinks – winding down the day Bahamas style.

I learned that the Exumas are facing some challenges. The Four Seasons Resort has closed, which has taken with it more than 500 local jobs. This is devastating to the population of only 6000 on the island. Today’s economic crunch is reaching far and wide. In a country that is so dependent on tourism, the current economic climate could hamper development in the region for several years.

Tomorrow we have an early AM departure with Tortue, heading northward along the Exumas, ideally making it as far as the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Until then, time to sleep off my long travel day, and settle into Bahama time.

ML

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