Sarah Bartlett's Adventure

Sarah Bartlett used her $3,000 prize to participate in the following adventure:

Adventure Program
The Wild Dolphin Project

Adventure Location

Adventure Activities
Swimming with Atlantic Spotted Dolphins and assisting with research

Adventure Duration
10 days

Number of Adventure Participants
7 people on research team

What made you apply for the scholarship?
"I've always wanted to swim with wild dolphins, and I saw this as an opportunity to make a dream come true. The Adventure Scholarship is such an incredible way to honor Gene Doyle, because it gave me one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I know it's done the same for other winners."

What was your favorite activity on the trip?
"Every encounter we had with a group of dolphins was incredible, and each one was different and awesome in its own way. But besides being in the water, my favorite activity was being "on watch." Each of us had to rotate shifts for an hour at a time, sitting up on the bridge keeping an eye out for dolphins. One of my shifts was around sunset, so we were usually anchored and I was up there by myself. It was so peaceful to sit and look out at the ocean, and to have the time to reflect about things. It was a great way to end each day, and it made me realize how important it is to take time to just be quiet once in a while."

Describe your best day on the trip.
"One night, we went out into the deep waters over the edge of the sandbank where it was about 2,000 ft deep. That's where the dolphins go at night to feed. We pointed lights down into the water which attracted fish that the dolphins feed on. While we waited for them to arrive, we had dinner out on deck. It was Polynesian night, so everyone wore sarongs, and we had the most delicious Thai food. We had tiki torches burning, and the stars were SO big and bright. Then the dolphins came. I could hear them clicking and whistling long before I could see them. They would come zipping out into our little area of light, grab a fish and disappear again, to reappear from a different direction in the next moment. This went on for more than an hour. It was probably the most amazing experience I've ever had. It was kind of scary in a way, swimming in water that deep in the dark, not knowing what else could be outside the light. But being tense the whole time just made it that much more exhilarating."

Would you do it again? Why or why not?
"I would love to do it again! Swimming with dolphins is so out of this world, and each time it's a little bit different, so it can never get old. I loved being out on the Stenella in the middle of clear blue waters, and I especially enjoyed the people. It was an awesome adventure."

How has your adventure changed your outlook?
"I realized that Dr. Herzing and the rest of the team have their priorities straight. The key to happiness and success is doing what you love. She started the program 15 years ago and has spent every summer out there since, and she still gets excited every time we spot dolphins like its the first time. Obviously she knew what she was doing when she chose dolphin research, the Bahamas, tiki torches and Polynesian food. Now, she's the leading expert in the field... she's like the Jane Goodall of dolphins. I hope I can find a profession that I am that passionate about."

Advice for potential Adventure Scholarship applicants:
"Relax and have fun with the interview... they're nice people!"

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