Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Solar Project at Small Hope

Four months ago, I expected my summer to be spent somewhere in the hustle and bustle of downtown Washington, DC, researching and writing memos on various environmental issues. It didn’t even occur to me that building a solar domestic hot water system in the Bahamas at a dive resort surrounded by mangroves and clear turquoise water was an option! I am glad I made the choice to trade in my metro card and suit for a bicycle and flip flops.

As August, and the end of my time with Small Hope Bay Lodge, approaches, I start to reflect on my experience here and all that has been accomplished. Working with Small Hope has been an incredible experience and a rare opportunity to be able to see a vision turn into a physical reality. I came down here with nothing but a notepad and with the help of some great teammates, Kevin Kurkul, Jake Vestal, and Esi Waters, and the support of the Small Hope family we can leave with a resort-wide solar hot water system, an energy monitoring program, community outreach material on solar hot water systems, and an environmental management plan for the resort.

Time has really flown by and these next few weeks will continue to fly by as we try to finish construction on the solar hot water system. I am ecstatic to get my hands dirty after weeks of dealing with the logistics of obtaining specialized parts and shipping to a remote Out Island like Andros.  (You will not believe how inaccurate those shipping estimate dates are!)

Finally after a few weeks of calling freight companies, distributors, and coordinating with manufacturers, the majority of the parts have arrived! We have been focusing our efforts on building the water manifolds for the hot water storage tanks and starting to solder the copper components. If you are interested in reading more about the specifics of the system, check out my blog entry on the system design. http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/internshipblogs/pulling-together-a-solar-hot-water-system-for-small-hope/ Once we are done with that, the team will start to run the pex tubing (a flexible tube that will deliver the end use water) around the resort and to each of our cabins. I am excited to see what our final system looks like and to get it online! I think it will be a great help to Small Hope in terms of reducing its energy costs, but also as an example for the community and to inspire others to follow suit! With plentiful sun exposure, Bahamians really could benefit by tapping into this underutilized resource!
Pin It Now!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Celebrating Tom's 60th Birthday

Tom on the old dive boat, 1972
We had so much fun here a couple weeks ago. Former Small Hope divemaster, (and big part of the Birch family) Tom Bain, came back to Small Hope to celebrate his 60th birthday. He brought along with him his wife and four children and lots of great friends. They group took up the entire resort and it was a blast! There was one BIG party (and several smaller ones)  which included guests wearing custom-made Androsia Batik fabric specially made for the birthday party, great food and appetizers, Chinese lanterns, and a beautiful and memorable champagne toast to the birthday boy.

Tom also shared with us some wonderful old photos he had of his time as a divemaster with Small Hope (40 years ago!). It was a great time for all! Pin It Now!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Beachside Wedding in the Bahamas . . .

Stephanie and John came to Small Hope Bay Lodge last week to celebrate their wedding. They brought friends and family to join in the celebration and everyone, including the staff and other guests of Small Hope, were so happy to watch this beautiful couple celebrate their love for each other. I can't think of a more beautiful setting for a wedding - a white, sandy beach; a warm breeze; Andros, Bahamas! The bride looked stunning, the champagne was flowing, and the entire place was full of laughs and smiles!

Thank you Stephanie and John for letting us join you on such a special day!

Check out the wedding video too! 

Pin It Now!