I went to Forfar Field Station in January/February of 2014 through the Ecotourism and Adventure Travel major with Hocking College. The experience definitely had a lasting impact on my life and inspired me to pursue a career in SCUBA diving. During my 6 week stay at Forfar we learned about geology, biology, icthyology (fish ID), dendrology (tree ID), coral identification, sea kayaking, windsurfing, sailing & got my Open Water and Advanced Open Water SCUBA certifications. The staff at the field station has always been super friendly and helpful, from the directors to the interns to the local Bahamian staff that cooks and works on the facilities or Daddy Cool who works as as security guard- everyone makes you feel welcome.
Andros has the third largest barrier reef in the world, so you can imagine that the diving is pretty good! We saw all sorts of critters in the ocean. Some of what we saw were sharks, rays, parrot fish, crabs, octopus, squids, BIG fish, etc. I enjoyed this program and specifically the diving so much that I kept taking diving courses when I returned home and am now a SCUBA instructor and manage a dive shop.
I still keep in touch with the members of my group and maintain good friendships with a few of them. When you spend 6 weeks on an island with a group of people you form some really solid bonds.
All in all I think this program is a great way for people who are taking a gap year to be introduced to a new culture, a scientific way of thinking, and put out of their comfort zone enough to experience some real growth.
What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
We were snorkeling at a really pretty oceanic blue hole and a 6ft reef shark swam around my group for a moment. During that moment, I'll be honest, my heart was pounding out of my chest. But then it swam away- it was just coming to check us out. Now it is one of my favorite memories.