The eighteenth edition of the annual Sea and Learn event kicked off at Eugenius Johnson Community Centre in Windwardside on Friday night, October 1. Governor Jonathan Johnson, who is also the Saba representative of Prins Bernhard Culture Fund, the event’s main sponsor, officially opened the monthlong event.
Speaker at the opening night was deep-sea explorer and scientist Edie Widder. She wowed the audience with her imagery and knowledge gained from her explorations of the ocean’s bottom.
Widder is a pioneer who has also produced many tools that have allowed observations of animals and behaviours never seen before, including the first video of a giant squid filmed in its natural habitat. She has also spearheaded the development of water-quality monitoring systems and new methods of mapping pollution.
Widder was invited on the giant squid expeditions for her expertise in bioluminescence. Understanding how various deep water sea creatures use red, blue or white light to hunt or avoid predation was key in this research.
Widder was at Saba Comprehensive School earlier on Friday demonstrating different light forms to fourth and fifth form students.
The 14 experts invited to the Sea and Learn programme are conducting dynamic presentations at local bars or restaurants every other evening throughout October. Their schedule also includes hands-on field projects with visiting tourists, the elderly, local children and adults.
Sign-ups were taken to join Widder’s night snorkel excursion on the local dive operator’s boat Sea Saba, to observe ostracods in action. Only in Caribbean coastal waters without light pollution can one witness these tomato-seed-size crustaceans as they emit a mucous-illuminated bead strung together to signal to potential mates. Widder explained that Saba is one of few places on the planet to experience this phenomenon.
Subjects covered in this year’s Sea and Learn programme include pregnant tiger shark research, lobster migration, how to build your on remotely operated vehicle (ROV), what powers the supermassive black holes, urchin propagation, our region’s volcano monitoring and much more.
Visit www.seaandlearn.org for more information and schedules of the various activities. Nighttime presentations are live-streamed via Facebook and YouTube.
This year marks the 18th annual Sea and Learn event which was started in 2003. Only last year’s pandemic interrupted the programme from running consecutively. The event is also sponsored by the public entity Saba, all hotels, dive shops, most restaurants and local artists.
The Daily Herald.