A signature program at FernLeaf is FernLeaf Travel Experiences. These trips are an EXCELLENT way for students to build independence, develop strong interpersonal skills and discover their unique passions and aptitudes. FernLeaf staff coordinate multiple different optional travel opportunities, domestic and overseas, throughout the year for our students. From March 10 through March 17, 2023 three of our teachers and a small group of students went on a field course study throughout the country of Belize. These blog posts are written by the students and will document their adventures and learning! See DAY 1 , DAY 2 , DAY 3 and DAY 4 posts here.
The morning started with another delicious breakfast with views of the ocean all around. We collected all our snorkeling gear and headed to the boat dock to start a full day on the water. Excitement was filling the boat with thoughts of jellyfish, corals and time in the ocean. Our first stop along the reef didn’t disappoint as we were greeted to the sight of small, non-stinging jellyfish in all directions and huge sea whips and brain corals. Our second stop raised the bar as we were treated to moray eels, vast formations of elk horn, stag horn and boulder corrals. We saw so many different species of fish it was hard to keep count. Highlights included a huge parrot fish, queen angelfish, schools of tangs, trumpet fish, rays bigger than the group leaders combined and spiny lobster.
Lunch was located at a small island called Bread and Butter Caye. The island was manmade with cement walls and it took seven years to fill with sand. The result is a tropical paradise that feels like a dream. We lounged in hammocks, swam in crystal clear waters, played on a water trampoline, ate beef chow mein with watermelon and chocolate chip cookies. We also got to meet the local dogs who loved belly rubs and naps in the shade. The next snorkel started from the beach by swimming through clouds of sardines out to the reef. The reef was like a majestic underwater fish kingdom that resembled the jungle on land. Each turn revealed many wonders. The trip back to Tobacco Caye had us vibing to tropical tunes and impromptu karaoke. Our guides made a surprise stop, treating us to swimming with multiple large nurse sharks and we also saw a huge grouper.
When back on Tobacco Caye we witnessed a beautiful sunset as we journaled about our day whilst sipping on mock-tails. Dinner was beans and rice, not rice and beans. The difference is that beans and rice are prepared and served separately while rice and beans are cooked together. If you have never had coconut rice you are missing out! Dessert was chocolate bread pudding…yum yum! The evening ended with our nightly meeting where we discussed highlights and have deeper conversations about our time on the trip. As we were giving compliments, a big noise from the tree tops had Emily yelling “Coconuts, watch your heads!” Turns out a whole palm leaf fell from the night sky.
As we went to bed, we all thought about the day ahead which includes our last snorkel and driving through the Maya mountains.
Written by David, Phillip & Sophia