Patrick Henry Community College students study sharks in the Bahamas

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 10:16 PM EDT
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - For the last two years, Wiley Martin and Marco Diaz have studied biology at Patrick Henry Community College, under Professor Jason Worley.

“We do herpetological surveys; we go around campus looking for a variety of amphibians and reptiles,” said Worley.

Worley was watching Shark Week last summer when he found out about the Saving the Blue Program, which gives biology students the chance to study sharks with world renowned marine biologist Dr. Tristian Guttridge.

He brought that opportunity to Martin and Diaz.

“It was just out of the blue; he just hit us with it and we jumped right in,” said Martin.

As the trip got closer, COVID-19 brought a cloud of doubt when their June trip to the Bahamas was pushed back to July after the prime minster closed the borders.

Once the trip was rescheduled, the two had to be tested seven days ahead of the trip, leaving them on edge.

“Even the day of, we were all in the airport and two people couldn’t make it because they didn’t get their results back in time,” said Diaz.

However, once the two landed on Andros island, they had something else to put them on edge.

“Within the first three hours we were there we were tagging sharks,” said Diaz.

Something both never thought they’d experience.

“Working side by side with a biologist that’s been doing this 20 plus years was an amazing experience,” said Martin.

Even though their time in the Bahamas is over, their work is still swimming.

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