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Let us answer your questions:
How do I get there?
Our travel agent will assist you with purchasing your airline tickets
to Ft. Lauderdale. You will connect with our charter airline in
Ft. Lauderdale and fly with the group to the Bahamas. Wild Studies
staff will greet you at the airport in the Bahamas, assist with
bags, and arrange transportation.
will I stay?
Participants will live aboard a floating research facility called
Eco Island. Eco Island is a state of the art eco friendly two level
facility complete with separate male and female living quarters,
a dining area which converts to a classroom, a wet lab for research
projects and animal observation, and a separate living are for wild
studies staff. Alternative and clean energy sources include solar,
hyrdo power, and wind as well as eco friendly septic and reverse
osmosis technology for drinking water. The environment will be considered
first in all aspects of the program from meal production to waste.
I need travel insurance?
Yes. Wild Studies requires each participant purchases an inexpensive
travel insurance policy that covers trip cancellation, missed connection,
trip interruption and delay, and emergency medical evacuation and
treatment. Click here for more information
on travel insurance Moreover, due to weather, unannounced government
rules changes, unreliable freight shipping and airline schedule
changes, or other forces beyond our control, any planned schedule
or activity may have to change or be cancelled without notice. Airline
tickets are purchased in your individual names and are your property
once paid for. Subsequent schedule changes, route cancellations,
or other complications are beyond our control. Hence it is the named
individual’s responsibility to handle such matters directly
with the airline.
What will I eat?
Our program includes 3 meals daily. Because of the remote island
location and short growing seasons, nearly all food items must be
brought in by ship. Therefore availability of some items may be
limited. Breakfasts will consist of coffee, tea, juice, fruit, toast
with jelly and peanut butter, bagels and cream cheese, and either
pancakes, French toast, or scrambled eggs and potatoes or sausage.
Sandwiches or hot dogs along with pasta salads, casseroles, watermelon,
chips, or cookies comprise our lunch menu, whether packed to take
along or eaten at the Institute. Peanut butter and jelly is always
available. Sandwiches typically are deli meats, tuna, egg, or crab
salad, chicken, PBJ, or hot dogs.
Evening meals can vary but typical dinners would be spaghetti and
meatballs, beef and bean burritos, oven fried chicken with mashed
potatoes, or pizzas. Salad and dessert is included and we always
have vegetarian variation available. From time to time we will be
visiting other islands; you may purchase a small amount of personal
snack foods. Quantities of personal foodstuffs must be kept to a
minimum due to very limited storage space. Water and Kool-Aid or
punch are always available.
do I need to bring?
A packing list will be provided to you. Don’t over pack!
Most activities require only bathing suits or shorts and a t-shirt.
Your bag must be soft-sided and a duffel type bag is best (total
allowed baggage is 40 pounds. This 40 pounds does not includes your
carry-on/backpack). Any bags weighing more than 40 pounds will have
to be lightened or left behind. Our charter planes can accommodate
only a limited amount of weight.
Do I need snorkel gear?
No. We provide mask, fins, and snorkel, although you are welcome
to bring your own if you wish to do so. You will need to purchase
an inexpensive pair of hard-soled dive booties for use with our
fins. Do not bring barefoot fins. We enter and exit dive sites on
rocky and sharp terrain. For groups participating March to May,
a 2-3mm wetsuit is highly recommended. The air temperature is warm
but the water is cool. Students participating June-August, we recommend
a rash guard or dive skin. If you have impaired vision, you may
want to consider and extra set of disposable contact lenses for
use inside your mask. SCUBA divers may bring their own gear. SCUBA
is not a normal part of our eco education program but outside trips
may be arranged for certified divers for an additional fee. Parent
permission is required. Ask us for details.
is a typical day?
Each morning the program director meets with students and chaperones
over breakfast to discuss the day’s adventure. Each activity
is preceded by a half hour lecture and discussion covering topics
of marine biology and island ecology as well as an outline of the
particular issues related to the site being explored. Activities
continue throughout the day with an hour or two of free time before
and after dinner that allows for plenty of sun, sand and surf. Evenings
consist of a short class session, reviews of the day’s activities,
informal discussion, and lectures, and slide presentations.
Airfare from Ft. Lauderdale, personalized goal-oriented marine
ecology and free diving instruction, all equipment, you’re
snorkeling/dive logbook, snorkeling guide to the Caribbean field
guide, and a Wild Studies T-shirt. The Bahamian departure tax of
$15.00, tips for baggage handlers at the airport, and taxi fare
to and from the airport are also included. You will want to bring
some personal cash (typically $150.00 is sufficient) for candy,
snacks and souvenirs.
What documents will I need?
A valid passport is mandatory.
Do I need any vaccines?
Proof of vaccinations is not required to travel to the Bahamas
or to return to the States from the Bahamas. However, it is a good
idea to make certain all basic vaccinations, such as tetanus/diphtheria,
are up-to-date. Malaria is not a problem here. However, always check
with your doctor first and the Center for Disease Control website
Is there a telephone?
There is a phone for EMERGENCY CONTACT ONLY. The old adage “no
news is goods news” definitely applies here. Each GROUP may
bring ONE laptop with a wireless card to use at our facility. Contact
your group leader to see if a laptop will be available. You can
also see photos and read stories of the daily activities by going
to www.wildstudies.com each day. Weather and technology permitting,
the staff will post photos and blogs every evening.
What skills do I need to participate?
moderate to strong swimmer can have a wonderful time here, just
snorkeling and floating on the surface, soaking in the natural beauty
below. If you are a little more advanced and adventurous we will
teach you the skills needed to free dive (holding your breath).
We set no goals or requirements, but by free diving, you will greatly
enhance your experiences by being able to observe and photograph
up close the marine life you'll be studying all week. When you arrive
at this skill level, many students are issued one additional piece
of equipment, a quick release weight belt. Just 2 - 4 lb. will make
descents much easier, increase bottom time, and enable you to explore
the many tunnel-like swim throughs through-out the reef. There is
never any pressure to exceed your own comfort level, we have flotation
vests if requested, and additional instruction and supervision should
it be needed.
role does the group leader /chaperone play? (student programs only)
Group leaders and chaperones are student-guests just like anyone
else. They do no teaching and are not permitted to guide, supervise,
or lead student groups on land or in the water. They are, however,
The point of contact for participants before and during the trip,
responsible for student discipline, including enforcing lights out
time in the evening, and ensuring prompt and full attendance at
Is it safe?
Safety is a difficult question. No outdoor adventure is safe. This
is an eco adventure educational trip. Adventure does not come without
some risk. This trip is not as safe as sitting home watching TV
or playing with a computer. You are out experiencing nature, and
nature can be unpredictable and dangerous. Since our beginning in
1992, with the training, rules, and procedures we have installed,
we have never had an incident more serious than a minor scrape or
split toenail. Please follow our rules and help keep it that way.
What about emergency medical care?
Emergency air evacuation is available, but can take several hours
to arrive. We do carry a cell phone so we can locate the nearest
help, but be assured there is no service like we are used to in
How do we get around?
The Exuma Islands are known for their pristine reefs, mangroves,
and island ecosystems because getting to many of the islands are
accessible only by boat. Participants will spend much of their time
on Eco Island, a floating research facility and transportation will
be via open air motor craft and kayak.
Let us answer your questions: