The tenth Sea and Learn season opened in Fort Bay Harbour on Monday evening, October 1, with an ambitious Big Splash programme. Governor Jonathan Johnson officially opened the season with remarks about the history of the initiative. Gathered for the event was a diverse mix of people, with a noticeable increase in local Saban participation compared with previous years. Connis Vanterpool gave the evening a sophisticated feel with a wonderful live saxophone performance.
The evening’s featured lecturer, visiting scientist Kathy Guidon, fed the fairly large tarpons within the harbour under everyone’s eyes. She attempted to collect DNA samples from the tarpons present for feeding.
Resident artists Micheline Hinse and Rachel Thijssen gave a wonderful modern dance performance on and off the new retaining wall in the harbour. The new wall is to become the location of the latest public art mural project in Saba. Resident artist Stacey Simmons and former resident artist Joan Bourque announced that they would be working together with the youth of the island during the Sea and Learn season to create a new nature-themed mural.
The evening’s feature presentation by Guidon lived up to high expectations, making much terminology accessible to the lay public, at the same time covering a wide range of issues related to the subject “Tarpon: The Silver Kings of the Caribbean.” She spoke of local tarpons’ likely provenance and behavioural characteristics that tourists and locals could observe and encouraged participation in the DNA collection efforts. Returning researcher and deep-sea explorer Edie Widder took registered participants on a bioluminescence dusk snorkel excursion, a rare experience to explore the world of glowing marine organisms, Tuesday evening, October 2. On Wednesday afternoon, Guidon took participants on tarpon snorkel excursions. She also gave a presentation on tarpon for the youth of Sacred Heart School and held a dive activity with the youth snorkel club.