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Bahamas Marine Biology 

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Itinerary

+/- marine biology summer camps in the Bahamas

Day 1-4

Behold your turquoise classroom.

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. Snorkel through the estuary at Pigeon Creek to see the mangroves firsthand, then dive into beautiful Sandy Point where coral patch reefs support a variety of fish and invertebrate life including barracudas, parrotfish and butterflyfish. Scuba dive at night to discover the magic of bioluminescence and the marine world’s nocturnal metamorphosis.

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Day 5-9

Learn about coral reefs.

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 you'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 your skills in the water progress, head out on 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 investigate the well preserved fossil reefs of San Salvador, reefs once underwater that you can now explore on land.

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Day 10-12

The ultimate spot to earn your PADI Specialties.

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. Bodysurf and play football at Grotto Beach, an idyllic spot surrounded by clear turquoise waters. Complete your deep dive as part of your Advanced Scuba course and earn PADI Specialties such as Coral Conservation, Underwater Naturalist and Project AWARE. Take a trip in the skiff out to Green Cay to see rare rock iguanas scramble over the rocks while terns and frigates soar above.

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Day 13-17

Get up close to the creatures you study.

The next phase of the 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, you'll focus on the details of different fish families. Sea basses, parrotfish, stingrays, puffers…cover these and many more. Visits to shallow patch reefs and deeper walls get you up close to the creatures you've been studying. Learn how to hover upside down to find ledge-dwelling basslets and hamlets as you become master fish finders. Soon you can tell related species apart with no more than a quick glance. These skills will soon come in handy!

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Day 18-23

You’ve become a marine biologist in training.

Spend your final days as professional marine biologists in training, assisting with ongoing international research programs. Design and carry out underwater fish count surveys for REEF and help with monitoring projects. Preparation and teamwork are essential for these scuba-based studies, but you're ready. An evening hike to North Point provides a breezy place to watch the sun sink into the ocean. Maybe you can even see the green flash! In this beautiful setting, marvel at how much you've learned, explored and accomplished, and at how fast three weeks can fly by.

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