Category Archives: THE BAHAMAS

Bahamas: The World’s Clearest Waters

Location of The Bahamas in the Caribbean
Location of The Bahamas in the Caribbean

 

Theme: Island Hopping in the Caribbean  Country: The Bahamas  Languages: English  Unit of Currency: Bahamian dollar  Locations: Eleuthera Island, Harbour Island, Nassau, Paradise Island, & San Salvador Island Years: 2005 (only San Salvador Island and Nassau) & 2011   Bucket list: Cliff jumping off Eleuthera Island’s coast

 

Ride A Horse on the Beach; Nassau, Bahamas; 2011
Ride A Horse on the Beach; Nassau, Bahamas; 2011

 

DO:  HIRE A JEEP AND VENTURE AROUND THE ISLAND

Eleuthera Island:
  • Walking and hitchhiking to Gregory town and checking out the historical little town before hiring a Jeep for the day
Island Signs; Gregory Town, Eleuthera Island; 2011
Island Signs; Gregory Town, Eleuthera Island; 2011

 

  • Hiring a Jeep and driving to the Southernmost lighthouse on the island
Various Destinations and I; Gregory Town, Eleuthera Island; 2011
Various Destinations and I; Gregory Town, Eleuthera Island; 2011

 

  • Caving Hatchet Bay Caves, witnessing the ocean trailing in the cave, and exploring sections of the cave known as Birthday Cake, Lord of the Rings, Bat, etc. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Climbing into the Light; Hatchet Bay Caves, Eleuthera Island; 2011
Climbing into the Light; Hatchet Bay Caves, Eleuthera Island; 2011

 

Inside the Cave; Hatchet Bay Caves, Eleuthera Island; 2011
Inside the Cave; Hatchet Bay Caves, Eleuthera Island; 2011

 

Prepping for the Caving Expedition; Hatchet Bay Caves, Eleuthera Island; 2011
Prepping for the Caving Expedition; Hatchet Bay Caves, Eleuthera Island; 2011

 

  • Visiting UNESCO World Heritage Site Queen’s Bath
Entrance of Cave within Queen's Bath; Eleuthera Island; 2011
Entrance of Cave within Queen’s Bath; Eleuthera Island; 2011

 

Tour Guide, Tom, Soaking in Queen's Bath; Eleuthera Island; 2011
Tour Guide, Tom, Soaking in Queen’s Bath; Eleuthera Island; 2011

 

Queen's Bath; Eleuthera Island; 2011
Queen’s Bath; Eleuthera Island; 2011

 

Deeper into the Cave within Queen's Bath; Eleuthera Island; 2011
Deeper into the Cave within Queen’s Bath; Eleuthera Island; 2011

 

  • Cliff jumping in between rocks
  • Snorkeling for lion fish
  • Swimming with green sea turtles
  • Cruising the Caribbean Sea during a sunset cruise
  • Surfing at Surfer’s Paradise
Surfer's Paradise Cool Sign; Eleuthera Island; 2011
Surfer’s Paradise Cool Sign; Eleuthera Island; 2011

 

DO:  SPEND YOUR BIRTHDAY WITH YOUR TOES IN PINK SAND

Harbour Island:
  • Pub hopping with Golf carts around the island
  • Sinking toes into pink sand during sunset
Celebrating my 28th Birthday in Pink Sand; Harbour Island, Bahamas; 2011
Celebrating my 28th Birthday in Pink Sand; Harbour Island, Bahamas; 2011

 

  • Drinking tequila and rum with locals
My Bahamian Tour Guide; Harbour Island, Bahamas; 2011
My Bahamian Tour Guide; Harbour Island, Bahamas; 2011

 

  • Taxing to Eleuthera Island on small boat

 

 

DO: PARTAKE IN THE FESTIVITIES AT SENOR FROGS

Nassau:
  • Exploring Junkadoo Beach
Lighthouse Tranquility; Nassau, Bahamas; 2011
Lighthouse Tranquility; Nassau, Bahamas; 2011

 

  • Grilling fish fry and conch fritters with the locals
  • Partaking in the Senor Frogs tradition with cruise ship members

 

 

DO: VISIT “THE DIG” AQUARIUM

Paradise Island:
  • Gambling in Johnny Depp’s favorite casino, Atlantis
  • Visiting “The Dig” aquarium – learn about the mysterious depths of the ocean
One of the Vibrantly Colored Fish at the Aquarium; Paradise Island, Bahamas; 2011
One of the Vibrantly Colored Fish at the Aquarium; Paradise Island, Bahamas; 2011

 

Children with Starfish; Paradise Island, Bahamas; 2011
Children with Starfish; Paradise Island, Bahamas; 2011

 

DO: DIVE IN THE WORLD’S RICHEST CORAL REEFS

San Salvador Island:
  • Teaching local children how to snorkel and scuba dive
  • Diving in the world’s richest coral reefs
Scuba Diving at Sunset; San Salvador, Bahamas; 2005
Scuba Diving at Sunset; San Salvador, Bahamas; 2005

 

Diving with Reef Fish; San Salvador, Bahamas; 2005
Diving with Reef Fish; San Salvador, Bahamas; 2005

 

  • Witnessing a hammerhead shark face to face
  • Exploring the island and sitting on pristine beaches
  • Hanging out with the locals drinking Kalik

 

Travel Hiccups:

The Jeep Cherokee that I had rented was not in the best condition, but since it was a Jeep I thought I would attempt to reach the southernmost lighthouse on the Eleuthera island. Once I reached the beach, I noticed that the signs to the lighthouse were non-existent. I stopped before I started driving in sand, and asked a family of tourists where the lighthouse is. To my surprise, they pointed in the direction of a sand path and a few trees growing on the outskirts of the path. I took their advice and drove through the soft sand. Then my worst nightmare happened, I got stuck! My back left tire was 2 inches deep into the tan light sand and I was left trying to dig myself out of this hole. After realizing that this was hopeless, my passenger Tatjana (a 50 something year old carefree soul longing to find her purpose in life), and myself walked 5 miles down the road to the closest sign of civilization.

A few hours had passed since the incident, and we met a few locals that were willing to help us out, for a small fee.  A boy and 2 male adults gathered us in a truck and took us to where the Jeep was buried in the sand. The boy’s father attached his winch to the back of the Jeep and slowly began pulling us out of the sand and back on to the dirt path. A few smiles were exchanged and a good amount of dollars for their hard work. It was a very eventful day, to say the least. I was thankful that we were able to get back on the road when we did. The night grew darker, and though I still wanted to photograph the southernmost lighthouse on the island, Tatjana and I made our way back to Gregory town to return the Jeep. To this day, I still want to see this beautiful lighthouse, and this time I assure you I will not get stuck!

Bahamians Save the Day; Eleuthera Island, Bahamas; 2011
Bahamians Save the Day; Eleuthera Island, Bahamas; 2011

 

Article in Daily American Newspaper; Personal Accomplishment

Somerset Daily American                                     (Front Page)

 

Jessica Benford (right) stands in the water with a ninth grade student in San Salvador, Bahamas. The photo was taken in 2005 when Benford received her scuba diving certification. Natives from the Bahamas were taught how to swim and snorkel. (Submitted photo)
Degree in marine biology provides adventure for Rockwood native
By TIFFANY WRIGHT
Daily American Staff Writer

March 15, 2008



 

Spending weeks at a time near the ocean and researching marine life is not a typical lifestyle in Somerset County — but it is Rockwood native Jessica Benford’s job.

Benford, 24, Cape Canaveral, Fla., is a marine biologist. Her job is to research and observe major marine species all over the U.S.  She has seen endangered whales, barracudas, sunken ships and vast miles of ocean.

“The three important things in my life are family and friends, the ocean and traveling,” she said. “I love traveling and being adventurous. I like seeing new sites and marine biology is a huge part of that. I’m not just observing from an aquarium I’m actually out there in the water. It’s nice being able to find the next big adventure.”

Benford said her love affair with marine studies started when she was a child and she took her first trip to the beach.

“I just fell in love with the ocean,” she said.

As she got older her parents took her to Sea World, which intensified her interest.

“I started asking the people who worked there about their degrees and what colleges they went to and if they liked their job,” she said.

Benford attended the Pennsylvania State University of Fayette for two years and worked toward her bachelor’s degree in biology. She spent the rest of her collegiate time at Penn State’s main campus. She graduated in the summer of 2007 with a wildlife and fishery science: fishery option degree.

In order to become more acquainted with marine life, Benford learned to scuba dive. She received her certification in the spring of 2005 during a trip to the Bahamas.

Benford’s knowledge of marine biology has allowed her to do something important — travel.

“I traveled to Boston and just got back from a project in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ll be heading back to the gulf on March 24 and there’s a project in Alaska that’s happening this summer,” she said.

In Boston, Benford was a scientific observational researcher for endangered species. One of her most gratifying experiences was seeing an endangered North Atlantic right whale.

In the Gulf of Mexico she studied sperm whales. During that project, large companies on vessels search for oil in the ocean. The marine biologist’s job is to make sure the company follows the correct policy and does not corrupt species in the area.

For those interested in studying marine biology, Benford said it is important to get hands-on experience.

“Hands-on experience is the key thing to get this job,” she said. “If you’re ambitious and adventurous, you’re going to have a great time in this field.”

She said aspiring college students should take advantage of certifications and trips.

“You have to have an intellectual approach to it and really be interested in the animals,” she said.

Ultimately, Benford wants to research great white sharks, but for now, she said, she is happy to see new places.

“I’ve been taking a lot of videos and pictures. It gives me something to collect the memories so I know I was out there,” she said. “It’s nice because I’m traveling all the time and I get to see the world.”

**

Thanks to my mom she asked me to write a little bit about myself and my new position. She submitted this to my High School and the local newspaper. I had an interview via telephone with a journalist right after the Viking Vision project. Surprisingly, I had come home to seeing my picture in the local newspaper that my mom sent me. What an amazing publication! This was my solid evidence that I was reaching closer to my ultimate goal – “Last Destination Florida; the Road Trip down the Chosen Path.”

 
My aunt Shir’s review on my passion: “My niece Jessica’s article was run in the Somerset Daily American Saturday.  She has been crazy about the ocean ever since she started visiting me in Ocean City when she was 3-4 years old.  As soon as she discovered what a marine biologist was (at the age of 7) that’s all she ever wanted to do.  My family has watched her go through many changes over the years but this particular desire never changed.  It’s been a great experience to watch her grow up into such a talented, kind, and enthusiastic young woman.  Jess is fearless in her love of life and always has a smile for everyone she meets.  She’s worked hard to achieve this particular dream and I’m so proud of her.”