Archive for the ‘Sea Camp Daily Reports’ Category

Friday 25 October 2013

Tuesday October 29, 2013

Thursday 24 October 2013

Tuesday October 29, 2013

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Tuesday October 29, 2013

The morning started out with a layer of marine fog, which seemed to be a little thinner than the last few days, so we thought it would burn off, but it never did. Since today was the boat day for group A, breakfast was at 7 am instead of 8. We had melon, pastries, scrambled eggs, sausage patties, French toast, dried cereal and orange juice or milk for breakfast, then group A had to get their stuff together to head out for the boat.

Group B had some leisure time, while A scurried around getting their water bottles filled, sun screen on, and day packs packed. After A left, group B learned how to sea kayak, right off the shore behind of the Mission Bay, behind the boys dorm. After figuring out how to make their kayaks go where they wanted them to go, they learned a bit about the bay and its ecology, then played some games and performed stunts. In the game, half of the kayaks were on one team, half on the other with the final score being 5-1. Apparently the Brown-Framke kayak were excellent at this game, since they scored all 5 points for the winning team. After the game – teams learned to dance – while standing – in their kayaks, and performed stunts. A great time was had by all.

Next on the agenda was the plankton lab which was held in the classroom. Students learned about plankton, saw pictures of different types and then had a contest to see which team could design a “plankton” from clay and sticks that could float in the water the longest with the square shaped “plankton” of Heidi, Viv, Ema, and Emma winning. Landon’s team thought they were going to win, but they had carefully placed their entry onto the water, instead of dropping it into the water. When placed on the water, it hung at the top, due to an air bubble, but when dropped in, it promptly sank.

After the plankton lab, group B got ready and headed to Sea World. They all enjoyed looking at the animals, going to the Shammu and other animal shows and riding the rides. Heidi got to spend time with the dolphins – and ride one – thanks to her parents paying the highest price for this auction item from last year’s auction. She seemed very happy with her experience.

Group A left base camp and headed to the marina near Mission Point – where they had snorkeled on Tuesday. We hauled all the gear and coolers to our boat, the Sea Watch, then boarded and had a quick orientation. Charlotte was the model for how to put on the life vests – which we would be using if we had an emergency. We then left the dock and sailed past the bait barge covered with brown pelicans, cormorants, egrets, and sea gulls. Sea lions were swimming in the water around the bait barge and docked boats. We sailed past the park they had snorkeled at and on out to the open ocean. The sea was fairly calm, the skies cloudy, and the spirits high. Students loved getting wet by catching some of the water peeling off the bow.

After about 30 minutes, we could see lots of birds on the water – a sign that there was a lot of food in the water in the form of plankton and fish. The captain stopped the boat and pulled in some squid that some lucky people will be eating soon. We then started under way again, but changed our course a bit to see a pair of Risso dolphins. This breed of dolphin are shy and are more rare to see, several of the Sea Camp staff had never seen then before. We followed the dolphins for a short while – the students loving the view, then returned to our original course back toward La Jolla Shores and the caves that are in cliffs to the south west of where students had boogie boarded on Monday.

Once at the cave area, our anchor was dropped and students began putting on their wet suits and hoods. Once they had everything on – including fins and snorkel and mask, they jumped off the side of the boat to join one of the Sea Camp staff to go explore. There were about five students per Sea Camp staff in the water, plus one staff member on the boat who was acting as a life guard to monitor all the groups. The cloud/fog was still present, so not only was the water cold, but the air was cold too. Students returned some time later and excitedly told about the guitar fish, leopard shark, keyhole lipids, Garibaldi fish, and abalone that they had seen – along with the sea lions who were swimming in the area.

When they were ready to return, they came to the back of the boat where a platform had been lowered into the water. Two students at a time could sit on the platform to take off their fins – which they handed to someone already on the deck above, then the students climbed up the ladder to reach the deck surface themselves. Once on board, they stowed their snorkel/masks, fins, and hood in their equipment bag. They were then served cups of hot chicken noodle soup, which helped warm them up before they got back in the water. Unfortunately, while they were out snorkeling, the calm water was replaced by some large swells, two boys and one girl ended up getting sea sick, put getting back on deck, putting on dry clothes and the hot soup seemed to revive all three of them.

After eating the soup, students could dive off the side of the boat to get to the raft to play king of the raft. Cameron, Dakota, and Zack were doing a fine job of keeping others off the raft, until Aidan, Rebekah and others learned that instead of trying to climb on the raft, they first needed to pull the three boys off. Everyone had a great time – especially when Sea Camp staff joined in and took over the raft.

For those who wanted more adventures, they could jump off the bow of the boat (Aidan was the first to do so, followed by several others), or be launched off the side by two Sea Camp staff. Those who got to cold or tired changed into their dry clothes and watched the fun. After a while, it was time to go. Students were served the normal sandwiches, chips, fruit and cookies, but because so many had eaten several cups of the chicken noodle soup, many of the sandwiches were left uneaten until later in the day.

Our next activity was to look for whales. Phil (the owner of Sea Camp, who now works for Scripts) had been out on a plankton collecting boat earlier in the day and had come across Blue Whales and had given the captain the location of where he had seen these giants feeding. The captain sailed fairly quickly to toward this area – going too fast for anyone who wanted to stay dry to stay in the bow of the boat, so most of us sat in the stern watching the waves go by. Captain Chris slowed down and announced over the PA that there were whales visible from the bow.

We all headed to the bow to sea Blue whales – the largest (by mass) animal that has ever lived on earth. There was a pod of 8 to 10 of these plankton feeders in this area. We sat on the boat and could see whales blowing in all directions – some of them fairly close. They were lunge feeding – often lying on their sides as they moved through the water with first their side fins, then the side of their tails sticking out of the water. They would then turn over and we would see their back and dorsal fins come out as they took a breath. Several came very close to the boat – we were covered with whale snot several times from when they blew out close to the boat. Twice blue whales went under the boat – the second time Sophie Z reached down off the bow and was about 1 foot short of touching its tail. At least two of these whales kept moving parallel to each other – perhaps a mother and her child – although neither of them were small. Several times we could see the whole moth and head come out of the water as these beauties lunged for food. In addition to the Blue whales, there were at least a couple of fin whales feeding in this area too. The fin whales are slightly smaller, not as round, and have a larger dorsal fin. They students were quickly able to tell when it was a fin whale or blue whale when they came up for air and showed us their dorsal fin. A few times, when they lunged on their side for a gulp of krill, their belly side was toward us – and we could see they had male parts.

We watched the whales for over an hour – an amazing experience that was exciting to the students and the Sea Camp staff, many had never seen the lung feeding behavior, nor the sheer numbers of blue whales in one area. It was an amazing experience, and because the sky had remained cloudy/foggy we were able to see so much more than if we had to see them with the sun glare reflecting off the water.

It was finally time to return to the harbor, so we left the whale feeding area and headed back to the shore. We slowed down one more time to bring some of the giant kelp that was floating by back with us for the Sea Camp aquariums. When we sailed past the bait barge, there were about 20 sea lions taking a nap on the end of the barge, and a few more in the water near by. The boat was docked, we hauled all the gear back to the vans and drove back to base camp. Group A arrived before group B, so they washed wet suits and started their free time activities (shows, phone calls, basketball/volleyball/Frisbee, working on their Sea Camp journals, etc.). Once group B returned, students from both groups shared their adventures of the day.

Around 6, we had supper – salad, garlic read, spaghetti, chicken parmesan, cooked green beans, and chocolate pudding. Group A had a little more free time after dinner, while group B put their gear bags together for tomorrow’s boat ride. Tonight they were to have their last lab – Night Adaptations – which traditionally ends with a modified game of capture the flag. When Kirk and I left, the energy level was high and happy, hopefully our students were able to calm down a bit of the lab.

Another wonderful day at Sea Camp.


Tuesday 22 October 2013

Tuesday October 29, 2013

Monday 21 October 2013

Tuesday October 29, 2013

Greetings from Sunny San Diego!

As you all know, we met at the Southwest check-in at DIA very early – between 4:30 and 5:00 am. After getting luggage checked in, Mr. Framke lead the group toward security, with Mrs. Du Houx bring up the rear. Mrs. Hatchett brought the one student whose family had gotten lost at the airport down to meet the rest of us while we were waiting in line at security – so 50 Slavens’ 8th graders and two staff were ready for this trip. About half of the group – including both teacher – were put in a separate line that was doing an experiment where we did not have to take off our shoes, take our computers and liquids out of our bags, etc. We got through security much faster than the students who had to stand in the regular line. The students in the regular line seemed to be excused from the X-ray scanner, they were told to go around it. Only two students were pulled out for extra checking, a girl due to her bracelets, and a boy who appeared to be a random search.

Once through security, it was on to the train and out to concourse C. We all fit into one car of the train, and the students tried to ride it without holding on. We got off the train and headed to the gate, just in time to line up to start boarding. Part of our group was the A boarding group, part were the B group. Luckily, Dakota’s mom – who works for Southwest – was waiting for us, and we were all permitted to board together, occupying the back of the plane. Once on board, Mr. Framke handed out the algebra sheets which kept the students occupied for most of the flight – several students finished the algebra sheet on the plane and handed them into Mr. Framke.

We had clear skies for most of the flight, although it was dawn over much of the area, and only the higher peaks had sunlight. As we got toward San Diego, a marine fog blocked our view of the ground. We went out over the ocean – although all we could see was the fog layer below – and then approached the runway from the west. We dropped below the fog to suddenly see houses and cars that were much closer to us than we had imagined. We were all thankful when the plane touched down safely.

We arrived in San Diego, and were met at baggage claim by our Sea Camp group leader, Austin. Once everyone had their luggage, we headed outside to pile our luggage in a mountain of suitcases, and we waited for Sea Camp’s 14 passenger vans to pick us up. The vans arrived, students were loaded into the vans while Sea Camp staff put our luggage in a equipment van and on a trailer pulled by the equipment van. Then we were off for Fiesta Island’s Youth Facility – the home base for Sea Camp.

At Sea Camp, students had a quick breakfast of melon, dry cereal, donuts, scrambled eggs, bacon, waffles and juice. They put their luggage into their dorm rooms, got on their swim suits and sun screen, filled their water bottles, and our Sea Camp day began. Group B went to the Birch Aquarium, Group A to La Jolla shores for boogie boarding and beach walks. At the Birch Aquarium, students got into groups of 3 to 4 to complete a scavenger hunt and explore the aquarium. Group B took time to make sketches and notes about the aquarium in their Sea Camp journal and seemed to enjoy all the tanks of fish – especially the large kelp tank, and the touch tanks outside. They also like working the teeter totter and bicycles that powered a water fountain. We were at the aquarium from about 10:30 to 12, San Diego time, ending out visit with a quick trip through the gift shop. We loaded up in the vans and headed to La Jolla shores for lunch.

An interesting phenomenon was that all the girls in group B (including Mrs. Du Houx) rode with the Sea Camp counselor Carrie, while all the boy sin group B rode with SC counselor Josh.

At La Jolla shores, group A had been boogie boarding and beach walking and were not yet back to the park/picnic area with group B arrived. Group B got in line for their lunch – choice of many different types of sandwiches (tuna, chicken, roast beef, ham, and veggie), chips, apple or orange and some brownies for dessert. About the time they were finishing up their lunch, group A returned with stories of watching sting rays, nurse sharks, and fish while they snorkeled after boogie boarding. The fog had lifted before we went to the coast, the sun was high, the water was clear and calm – not much for boogie boarding, but the snorkeling was great.

Group B played a version of hide and seek in the park while group A ate their lunch. Group A then played a few rounds of sprout ball, while group B learned about putting on a wet suit and how to use a boogie board. Group A then went to the Birch Aquarium, while group B had their turn with boogie boarding/snorkeling and a beach walk. In addition to the sting rays and leapard sharks, group B also saw sea lions and perhaps a harbor seal, along with many fish. A great day at the beach was had by all.

At about 4 pm PST, we headed back to Sea Camp’s base. Upon arrival, both groups took part in a wet suit washing party – until all the wet suits had been washed and hung up. Students then got a more formal orientation about rules and logistics at Sea Camp. After the orientation, they could take showers, call home, work in their Sea Camp journals, or play games (basketballs, footballs, volleyballs were all in the air – plus a Frisbee or two, too). Dinner was served at about 6 pm, and consisted of baked chicken, salad, mashed potatoes, cooked peas and carrots, dinner rolls, Jell-O and lemonade to drink. After eating and cleaning up the tables, students had a little more free time before their evening labs – one group would be doing the fish lab which included dissecting a fish; while the other group did the invertebrate lab which included dissecting a market squid (fish bait).

A wonderful first day at Sea Camp was had by all. When asked, almost every student said their favorite part of the day was the boogie boarding/snorkeling – especially seeing the nurse sharks and sting rays.

8th grade Friday 19 OCtober 2012 – Sea Camp – late post

Monday October 22, 2012

The day began with breakfast at 8 am, consisting of eggs, flour tortillas, shredded meat, cheese, sand salsa to make breakfast burritos, plus the normal fruit and dry cereal and juice.  Students than had some time to start organizing their stuff for our return to Denver, before we headed out for the morning.

Group A loaded up in vans first and headed for La Jolla shores for the last time at boogie boarding.  The skies were overcast, but the drizzle the weatherman predicted did not take place.  The lack of wind did make the waves small, so many students put their boards on the shore and spent the time body surfing.

At the end fo boogie boarding, Group B joined us for an early lunch – the same sandwiches, chips, fruit and cookies.  Group B had been to th Birch Aquarium while A was at the beach, but because of heavy traffic, Group B only got to spend about 20 minutes at the Birch Aquarium.

After lunch, Group B stayed at the beach to boobie board, and Group A went to the Birch Aquarium at Scripts.  Students got into groups to complete the scavenger hunt and look at all of the exhbits.  Before leaving they had a few minutes in the gift shop to buy souvenirs.

After the Birch, we headed back to base camp for one final wet suit washin party, then it was on to cleaning the dorms and packing bags.  Once the dorms were spotless, students got their cell phones back, we loaded up in the vans and were off to the airport.

We were flying on Southwest, checked in, got through security and had some extra time for mass consumption of junk foods – thanks to a delayed flight.  Once on board, most students sat together in the back of the plane, but a handful were spread out in the front between adult strangers.  We arrived back in Denver, Emily’s dad met us at the gate since he had just returned on a different flight.  The 49 students, and three adults navagated their way on the train back to the main terminal where waiting families greeted them.  Luggage was picked up and students dispersed very quickly, the week of Sea Camp was over, but the memories will live on.

8th Grade Thursday 18 October 2012 – Sea Camp

Thursday October 18, 2012

Greetings from Cool and Cloudy California!

What a difference a day can make, yesterday’s 90+ sunny skies were replaced with overcast, windy skies and a high that was about 15o less than yesterday.

Today Group B went on the boat, Mr. Framke will be writing about that, and Group A did sea kayaking, the plankton lab and went to Sea World. 

Breakfast was at 7 am, although several female students had been up since 5 am – talking.  The meal consisted of fruit (strawberries, pineapple, and honeydew melon), scrambled eggs, waffles, sausage or bacon, cereal and pastries, with juice to drink.  Group B loaded up and headed for their boat trip, while Group A prepared for sea kayaking.  The wind was strong, so students were told to wear clothing that they did not mind getting wet while kayaking, but that would help keep them warm.  Students were divided into groups of three – two with paddles and a middle person to help coordinate the paddle movements.  Each students put on a PFD – otherwise known as a life jacket, groups picked up their paddles and moved to an open cemented area next to the dorms.  Sea Camp instructors explained how to hold the paddle (so that you could read the Sea Camp name) and how to use them for making the kayak move through the water and turning them.   Students then hauled the red kayaks down the sandy slope into the water of the bay next to base camp.


The front of the kayak was put in the water, the lead person sat down in the front of the vessel, it was pushed a little further out into the water, and the middle person boarded, then it was pushed most of the way out before the rear person got on board.  With oars in hand, each kayak team figured out how to make their kayak go where they wanted it to go.  This was a challenge with the strong wind that was blowing.  The two Sea Camp instructors were each in yellow kayaks designed for one person.  One lead the group, the other bringing up the rear.  After all had mastered the fundamentals of navigation, they group formed a tight cluster and had a discussion about bay ecology.  They did not attempt to kayak around a small island in the bay due to the strong wind, instead staying in the same general area from where they entered the water.  After their discussion, they played a game involving the passing and through of a plastic ball.  There was much shouting and fierce competition during the game, but all seemed to have a great time, and the groups that wanted to stay dry managed to stay dry, and the ones who wanted to capsize their boats did so.


Once back to shore, the teams hauled their kayaks back up the bank, put their oars away, dipped their PFD in the disinfecting solution and took quick showers to wash off the salt water.  Once all the gear and boats had been put up and students were dressed in dry clothes, we headed for the Sea Camp classroom for the Plankton Lab.  The instructors discussed many important details about plankton and passed around photographs of different types of plankton.  Students added more notes to their Sea Camp journals and participated in the lecture/discussion.  At the end of the lab, each table group was given two sets of 16 pictures – one with adult organisms, one with the juvenile forms that were plankton.  The groups had to try to match the juvenile pictures with those of the adults.  This is much more difficult to do than it sounds.  As the answers were given, there was much groaning, and occasional cheers as students scored their own predictions.  Three of the six table groups tied at getting six correct answers out of the 16 matches – a very typical outcome for most classes.


After the lab, students got ready for Sea World and picked up their lunch – sandwiches, chips, fruit, and a cookie, and we loaded up in the vans and headed over to the park.  On the way, students in my van entertained the Sea Camp driver and my with their singing – it is amazing how many 8th graders know the lyrics to Hey Jude and many other old songs.

Once at the park we entered and had out bags searched.  Even though you are not supposed to bring food into Sea World, since we are a school group they permitted students to bring in their sandwiches, etc. – if they had not been consumed before we got there.  Once through the entrance, we followed the Sea Camp staff to a grassy area next to the space needle which was out meet-up location.  The Sea Camp staff stay in this location while we are at the park, so if groups have any problems, or get split up, they know where to go.  Each group of 4 to 6 students received a scavenger hunt worksheet that they were expected to find the answer to – this was collected by Mrs. Du Houx and will be graded.  Students could look at all the animal exhibits, watch the shows, ride the rides and eat junk food while completing the assignment.  Most headed for the newest roller coaster – the Manta.


At 2 o’clock, all students came back to the meeting place on time for a check in – some with very large stuffed animals – I am not sure how they are going to get them home tomorrow.  After check-in they were off again, many going to the Shamu show to sit in the splash zone.  Final check-in was at 4:15, although several students showed up before this.  A few of the boys had decided to do some impromptu dancing and singing for money – I think they earned 50 cents for their street performance.

All students returned at the appointed time and we headed back to base camp.  The boat trip group had already returned, the water had been so rough that they had come back and ended up snorkeling at Mission Point – the same place they had learned to snorkel at on Tuesday.  They had gotten a change to see a very large pod of common dolphins while on the boat, and when they did the troll net, they caught several rays and two octopi, in addition to the types of fish and lobsters that Group B had caught on Wednesday.

During free time, the Slavens’ football team had a practice, with some of the Sea Camp staff playing them in a scrimmage.  For supper, we did an early celebration of Betsy’s birthday with cake and singing – her actual birthday is tomorrow.  Dinner consisted of salad, hotdogs, raw carrots, and chili beans, with the birthday cake as dessert.

Tonight is the bon fire, and excitement levels were running extremely high in anticipation of this event by the time Mr. Framke and I left at around 7pm. 

8th Grade Wednesday 17 October 2012

Wednesday October 17, 2012

I hope you have all survived the wind storm in Denver  – my husband informed me that we lost my favorite tree (an old willow) which took out our power line so he is sitting at home in the semi-dark with a generator to give him some lights. 

San Diego had much nicer weather- high in the 90’s and sunny.  The day started with breakfast at 7 am consisting of watermelon slices, scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, cereal, muffins and juice.  Many students had purchased their Sea Camp Hoodies, hats etc., so the color theme for clothing was dark blue.  After breakfast, group A loaded up with their gear to go to the boat.  Group B was staying back at base camp for sea kayaking, a lab on plankton, and then headed to Sea World for the afternoon – Mr. Framke should be sharing more about that in his write-up.

Group A rode in the vans to Mission Point, where we packed all the gear out to our home for the day, the Sea Watch.  This boat is used for deep sea fishing when not used by Sea Camp.  Students and staff packed six large coolers (for stowing our dry clothes) and one bag of snorkel equipment per snorkeler, plus food and other supplies.

Once on board, students were herded to the bow of the boat while the crew prepared to cast off.  Bethany was the model for how to put on life vests in the event of an emergency, but luckily no one needed one today.  Safety procedures and boat logistics were given, then we set sail out of the harbor and into the Pacific.  Students enjoyed riding in the bow of the boat – catching waves with much screaming from the girls.  There were many large swells today, not a calm sea, but not particulary rough either.  Since the Coronado’s are still off limit (per the Mexicangovernment) we sailed north to La Jolla Cove, not to far from where we boogie boarded the first day, but it takes much longer to get there by boat than by car.

The Sea Camp staff had been warning us that they had not seen any marine mammals in several weeks so we were pleasantly surprised when a large pod of common dolphins started swimming along side of us, several coming to swim and play in the wake of the boat.  They stayed with us for some time – to the delight of the students.  Later we saw more dolphins, this time Risso dolphins, but they did not come to play with the boat.  Then more common and some bottle notes dolphins, at one time their were about 15 or 20 dolphins riding the wake of the boat at the bow.  There were also some sealions taking naps in the water.

We got to La Jolla cove, and students put on their wet suits.  To enter the water, everyone jumps off the side of the boat, holding snorkel masks in place. Sea Camp staff go first – and have a large floatation device in the event that students need some help.  Once a group of five or six students have joined the Sea Camp staff person, the group swam away from the boat toward the shore to explore the sea life.  All students eventually got into the water, although a few were not feeling well – the cold water usually makes people feel better, and it did.  Unfortunately the water was not clear, so it was difficult to see any fish or invertebrates, and the large swells did not help.  Most students came back to the boat in a rather short amount of time, although Sean, Robb, and Marina’s group stayed out with their instructors for almost an hour.

Once back on board, students were given hot chicken noodle soup.  They could then either get back in the water (without their hoods, snorkels and fins) and play on the raft, of take off their wet suits and put on their dry clothes and take a nap.  Several students enjoyed the raft and jumping and diving off the boat, while many other preferred a nap.  After awhile, it was time to move on, so all students got back on board and changed into their dry clothes, the raft and the anchor were hauled in and we set sail again.

Students ate their lunch (sandwiches, chips, cookie and fruit) as we headed out to look for more sea mammals.  We found a very large pod of common dolphins, many with young.  It was run to watch the baby dolphins swim with the mother, many even played in the wake of the boat.  We again had dolphin company for a long period of time.  Unfortunately, we did not see any whales – in fact the Sea Camp staff said this was the best day for sea mammal encounters that they had had in weeks; their hot fall temperatures and the prohibition against going into Mexican waters where the upwhelling zones tend to be had severally limited whale and dolphin encounters.

We headed back to Mission Point, but before going to the dock, we went over eel grass beds and dropped a trolling net.  Students helped put the net out, and when it was time to haul it back in, we all grabbed onto the rope, walked it back to the bow, then went around the port side to return to the rope and pull it some more.  Most students made at least three laps of this rope pulling, some did four.  We did this procedure three different times.  When finished, we docked at the bait barge – which was occupied by sealions and many pelicans, cormorants, sea gulls and other birds.

The Sea Camp staff went through what was caught in the net and sorted out the fish and invertebrates into the water-filled bait wells in the back of the boat.  After the net and rope had been stowed, they showed the students the different types of fish that had been caught (bass, pipefish, a small ray, and many others) a sea cucumber and several lobsters.  Students then had the opportunity to handle the fish and inverts themselves.

When finished, most of the animals were returned to the water, students returned to the bow of the boat while the captain and staff sailed back to the home dock and parked the boat.  Students then helped haul all the gear back to the vans and we returned to base camp, where they washed wetsuits, then had free time for showers, phone calls, etc.  Group B came back to base camp about 45 minutes after group A, both groups shared their adventures of the day.

For dinner students had salad, cooked carrots, macaroni and cheese and meat, cheese, and cooked peppers and onions to make a sandwich, with a cupcake for dessert.  After dinner, Group B put their gear bags together for tomorrow’s boat ride – and all students could see the moon for their moon observation.

Tonight the entire group was to do a night adaptation lab, which usually ends in a capture the flag type of game.

8th grade Tuesday 16 October 2012 – Sea Camp

Tuesday October 16, 2012

Students were aroused at around 7:45 am PST for an 8 am breakfast that consisted of fresh strawberries and watermelon, French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, pastries, and cereal with milk and orange juice as the drink options.  After breakfast, group B got ready to go snorkeling while group A stayed at base camp for the invertebrate lab. 


Group B lined up, and when all were accounted for, headed for the vans.  We drove to Mission Point marina, parking in a city park.  Students were told to get out a towel and sit down for a bit while the Sea Camp staff unloaded and organized the wet suits and snorkeling masks, fins and hoods.  Even though it was a foggy morning, most students enjoyed a few minutes lying down in the sun.


Once the equipment was organized, Sea Camp staff member Matt asked for a volunteer to show how to put on the hood – Ally volunteered and Matt helped her put on the hood over her dry clothes.  He then had her demonstrate how to put on the mask. 


Students began putting on their wet suits – many needed the squid juice to lubricate the process and several students needed additional assistance.  Half of the group was going to seine first, the other half snorkel. 


Once the wet suits were on, students who were going to snorkel first got a hood, a snorkel and fins.


When all were dressed, both groups headed toward the water.  The tide was very high, so the seine group played some games before beginning the seining.  The snorkel group spit into their masks, and washed them out and got in the water to get the face and hair wet before putting on the masks.


After a while, the groups switched.  Both groups were excited about their snorkeling experience, they saw many fish, limpids (which most liked for good luck) snails, and sea slugs.  Neither group had much luck with seining due to the high tide; one group caught one small fish, the other group caught one crab.  Students got out of the water and put on their dry clothing.  About the time they were ready to eat, Group A arrived (they had been doing the lab back at camp).  Both groups got to eat lunch together – the regular choice of sandwiches, chips, apple or orange and I hear there were cookies, although neither of the Slavens’ teachers got a cookie.  Some students had a salad instead of a sandwich. 


The wind had picked up just before lunch, the fog burned off, and the tide was going down.  After eating, Group A stayed for their turn at snorkeling and seining.  They had more luck with the seine, one group caught a pipefish from the eel grass beds, and the pipefish gave birth to babies while in the bucket.

After eating, Group B headed back to base camp for the Invertebrate lab.  They had some free time when we returned before starting the lab which was conducted in the classroom.  Students took notes and learned about different phyla of invertebrates.  Colton was the grave soul who donned the blindfold before being handed an invertebrate that he had to determine its identity by feel – he guessed correctly that it was a sea star.


Part way through the lab, we went outside for a game to help get the circulation flowing and wake us all up.  After the game, we learned about more phyla, and then students worked with their table group to dissect a market squid.  At the end of the dissection, students used the ink sac to make squid tattoos or give themselves mustaches.

At the end of the lab, students could visit the shark tank and spend some time with the classroom aquariums – watching Leroy the morey eel and sharks get fed the squid the students had dissected.


After the lab, Group A had returned and both groups washed the wet suits.  The Sea Camp store was then opened for students to buy hoodies, hats, water bottles, etc. 

The Slavens’ flag football team had a practice in a field across from the dorms; students called home and wrote in their Sea Camp journals; others played four-square, or played with the animals in the touch tank, and most took showers.


After free time students gathered at the tables for dinner, which was salad, fried chicken, mash potatoes, corn and chocolate pudding.  After dinner the entire group was to participate in a marine mammal lab.


All in all, a good day was had by everyone!

8th Grade Monday 15 October 2012 – Sea Camp

Monday October 15, 2012

Greetings from Sunny San Diego!

We all arrived at DIA around 7 am, although some were delayed a bit by the amount of traffic – Monday morning seemed to have many business travelers.  We got checked in at the Southwest check in, then lined up and headed for the security.  Mr. Framke led the way, with 49 students behind, Mrs. Du Houx bringing up the rear.  We got to security – along with many other people, so we went back and forth in the zigzag cue, until we finally reached the point where we took off our shoes and put our stuff in bins – about 45 minutes later.
Instead of walking through a metal detector, you now go into this glass box, raise your arms above your head and the box examines you – I am assuming this is the X-ray security they were talking about last year.  Several students had to go back through this scanning two, three, or four times, but eventually we all got through.  One student had metal decorations on her skirt and had to wait for Mrs. Du Houx to come and be her guardian before the female security guard patted her down.  Two other female students had to wait for Mr. Framke to come and allow the security to go through their back packs and remove the hair gel they had put in the carrier-on-bag just before they left – needless to say the gel was confiscated. 

Once through security, we lined up again for counting, and took the train to concourse C.  Luckily our gate was close to the train entrance, because the plane was about to board.  Students had five minutes to use the restroom and fill their water bottles with Denver water before we started to board.  One student had lost his boarding pass, but he still had his luggage claim tags, so the lady at the check-in was very nice and reissued his boarding pass.

We were able to occupy the back of the plane and students were kept busy working on the algebra sheet Mr. Framke had passed out as we boarded.  The flight was smooth – the views spectacular – and the students were well behaved. 

All seats were filled, and several passengers were decked out in their Bronco attire, I assume they were going to tonight’s game of Broncos vs. San Diego. The captain wished Denver well – I guess he is a Bronco fan too.

Once we landed, and started leaving the plane, Ashby noticed that some students had left their pencil bags and a hoodie, which she collected – thanks Ashby for watching out for your fellow students.  We went to the luggage carousels, all bags made it on time.  Stephanie from Sea Camp met us in baggage, and led us outside where we made a large mound of our bags and waited for the Sea Camp vans and trailer to arrive, which they did a few minutes later.  Students were loaded into the 14 passenger vans while Sea Camp staff loaded up the luggage in the trailer and the equipment van.  It took a while for us to make it to Fiesta Island, due to heavy traffic, but we finally made.  It was a sunny warm day – the weather report says that we should have warm clear weather all week.

Once at Sea Camp base camp at Fiesta Island, students were given an orientation about Sea Camp, and were then permitted to move into their dorm rooms.  The rooms were switched from what we have used the last several years, the girls are in the one large room dorm; the boys are in the two room dorm.  After getting situated and putting their bathing suits on under dry clothes, and getting sized for a wet suite, we had lunch.  Sea Camp has changed their catering company so instead of the subway style bread for lunch time sandwiches, students had the choice of different breads with each type of sandwich – chicken salad, ham, turkey, peanut butter and jelly and many more plus Fritos, a cookie and either an apple or orange. 

After lunch we loaded up in the vans and headed to La Jolla shores. 

The coastal fog was rolling into Fiesta Island as we were leaving, but it was not present as we drove north.  Group B got to boogie board first, while group A did a beach walk, then the groups switched.  After bookie boarding, students were to change out of their wet bathing suits into dry clothes and put on their close toed shoes. 

We headed off to the tide pools at around 3, since today was a New Moon, the tidal range is large, with the low (spring) tide at about 3 pm.  Students were put into group of four or five students each with a bucket.  We headed down a large cement staircase to the tide pools, and the fun began.  Hermit crabs and fiddler crabs were all over the place, as were sea anemone, and algae.  Groups started screaming in excitement as they found baby fish (including a baby Garibaldi), small octopi, chitons, sea stars, brittle stars, sea hares, and much more.  We had a few casualties; Brandon and Collin were lifting up a rock, but somehow managed to cut both of their hands on it.  A Sea Camp staff person was right there to help clean up the hands and bandage them after disinfecting them.  There was a rumor started that Brandon had cut his palm because he was trying to catch a baby shark (about three feet long – sometimes longer depending on who was telling the tale) but the shark had slipped through his hand and sliced it open.  It was amazing how many students believed this whopper – at first – even though none of the pools were big enough to house a three foot long animal.

After collecting for some time, the group sat down and discussed the types of stresses that affect animals in tidal pools and looked at the cool animals we had found.  The animals were released before we returned to the vans.  As we sat and looked at things, the coastal fog moved in to the point that we could no longer see the water, the waves and the people paddle boarding off the shore from the tidal pools.

We returned to the vans, and drove through more traffic to return to Sea Camp base on Fiesta Island.  There was no fog south of the tidal pools so we had a clear view of Sea World and the area surrounding Sea Camp.  Back at camp, students helped with the wet-suit washing, then had free time to take showers, call home and work on their Sea Camp Journals.  Mr. Framke, Nolan and Peter went for a cross country workout/run in preparation for the state meet.

Dinner consisted of a tossed salad with dressing, lasagna, garlic bread, green beans and jelly for dessert.  As students finished eating; students had a little bit of down time before tonight’s labs. Tonight, one group is scheduled to do the fish lab, the other the invertebrate lab.  The air was chilly, so students were encouraged to put on their hoodies and long pants.

Thursday 29 September 2011 – Sea Camp

Monday October 3, 2011

Greetings from San Diego!

Today is the second boat day, so breakfast was at 7 PST. Students up and more awake then yesterday, not many sleepy heads on the table. Breakfast consisted of cereal, fresh fruit and melon, fried egg with ham and cheese on English muffin sandwich, fruit filled Danish, for breakfast.

Group A left for their boat trip. They had calm seas, clear waters and saw many of the same types of mammals as group B had seen the day before. Several students lined up after breakfast to see if their parents had authorized them to have medication for sea sickness, and as a result, no one got sea sick on the boat. At the Coronados, both Sea Camp staff Whitney and Mr. Framke wore weight belts and were able to dive deeper and both caught small horned sharks which they brought up to the surface to show the students before releasing them. Many other wonderful critters were also spied, followed by a game of king of the raft and the long boat trip home. One thing group A saw that group B did not see was the largest fish – a mola mola, which lies on the surface of the water.

After the boat people left, Group B free had some time while Sea Camp staff got kayaks ready. They then headed into the classroom for the Plankton lab, during which they learned about the two main types of plankton; that plankton make up 50 to 80% of the atmospheric oxygen; about the current conditions that are causing upwelling and the red tide; then they tried matching juvenile plankton pictures to pictures of the adult animals. There were 18 sets of pictures; most only got 3 or 4 of them correct. This illustrated the fact that juvenile forms usually look nothing like their adult counterparts.

After the lab, students got in groups of three, put on a life vest, got two paddles per group and carried their kayaks down to the water’s edge for the sea kayaking adventure. Unfortunately, they were more interested in dunking each other instead of learning about bay ecology, so the kayaking experience was cut short – the staff cut out the fun stuff of the kayak challenge because students were not listening.

After washing the life jackets and taking quick showers, students got ready for Sea World. They were given their lunch (sandwich, chips, cookie, and fruit) at base camp and were told to put it in their backpacks and eat it when they felt like it once we were at Sea World. Students worked in small groups of three to five to complete the scavenger hunt sheet that required them to actually look at the animal exhibits before they started riding the rides and eating massive quantities of junk food. The bat ray exhibit and a few others were closed this year because of construction on a new ride and exhibit called “the manta”. All in all, they were well behaved, returning promptly at the designated time and place.

Back at base c amp, Group B had free time. Group A returned from the boat trip, and after the wet suit washing party, joined with the others to share stories, adventures, take showers, call home, and work on their Sea Camp journals.

Dinner consisted of chicken tenders, salad, corn on the cob, French fries and yellow Jell-O for dessert. After dinner, there was some more free time – many of the girls and some of the boys were preening themselves for the campfire that was scheduled later for the evening.

Before the campfire, the entire camp went to Tourmaline shore to see bioluminescence of the red tide – but the red tide was dissipating and low clouds reflected too much city light so we could not see the bioluminescence in the waves. We could see it when we drug out feet across the wet sand (we were there at low tide).

Back at camp, a campfire was held along the water’s edge, followed by the last night of slumber at Sea Camp.

Wednesday 28 September 2011 – Sea Camp

Monday October 3, 2011

Greetings from San Diego!

We woke up today to an overcast, foggy morning with an early breakfast (7:00 am PST) because today was the first boat trip day. The boys were up and at the gathering tables for a long time before any of the girls poked their sleepy heads out of their dorm room, even though the report was that the boys had a difficult time quieting down and going to sleep the night before. Everyone looked tired and most had on their Sea Camp hoodie and hat so with so many heads down on the tables while they caught a bit more sleep before breakfast it was difficult to see who was who..

Breakfast consisted of cereal, fresh strawberries, scrambled eggs, bacon, and French toast. Volunteers from Group A did the clean up since Group B needed to get dressed and ready to head for the boat. The weather report had said that the maritime clouds would be burning off by this afternoon, but it looked to be a cold boat ride. Students thought it was raining because the humidity was so high with the light fog on the ground.

Group B lined up, were reminded of what they should have with them, were given a chance to grab any missing items and then loaded up in the vans. The gear van took off with the wet suites, coolers, etc a few minutes ahead of the passenger vans and we all headed for Mission Bay. Once at the harbor, students lined up to pack equipment to the Sea Watch, the boat which would be our home for the next seven or so hours. Once on board, students were given an orientation to the boat, including how to put on a life vest, which we luckily did not need to wear on this trip. We started out of the harbor – watching the many pelicans, cormorants, egrets, herrings and sea lions in the harbor area.

Once out on the open ocean, the sea was fairly calm, with slight swells but smooth sailing. After we were underway for awhile, the boat stopped because the crew wanted to fish for squid in the red tide – apparently a good place to find them. The first mate dropped a special line for catching squid, when he pulled the line in, he had two squid, but one got a way while he was bringing it up on board. The other one was landed, and showed off its camouflage ability, first changing colors to match the deck, then turning orange to match the orange bucket that it was put it. It was then placed in a cooler, but it had been injured while they hooked it to bring it on board, so after it settled down and everyone had a chance to observe it, Sea Camp staff member Jeremy dissected it, just like the students had done to the small market squid in the lab. The difference was this one would be eaten by humans instead of the animals in the Sea Camp aquariums.

After the squid catching, students settled in, many resting in the back of the boat. A few girls were in the front, Sarah Holle was at the front of the bow, watching the water go by when she (and others) got to see a minke whale swim in front of our bow and then surface a few times on the port side. Most students were able to catch a glimpse of this first whale of the day.

Things settled back down, then a large pod (30 – 40) of common dolphins was in the area. The captain slowed down our boat and many of the dolphins swam in the wake of the boat at the bow. All the students were up to watch this exciting activity!

After awhile, the dolphins got bored and went their own way. Students settled in, this time a large pile of them found the raft sitting on the deck at the back of the boat made a great bed, others worked on their Sea Camp journal or took naps in other places, a few others felt sea sick and were hanging over board feeding the fish.

As we sailed south, we got out of the red tide area and the water was blue and clear. We could see the Coronado Islands off in the distance – we were getting closer. We could also see many birds landing on the surface of the water – a sign that there are fish in the area – and possibly whales. Many of us were in the front of the boat watching for whale – and we saw them. First we saw some larger whales feeding on the krill off to the port side; these were either fin whales or blue whales. Then we saw more toward the bow and starboard – mostly minke, some of whom were lunge feeding – we could see the white markings by their mouth. The there were more of the larger whales which the Sea Camp staff said were clearly blue whales. At one time we could see whales in almost every direction we looked. After watching them for some time, the captain turned the SeaWatch and we headed back toward the Coronado Islands.

We had out lunch at this time – the usual sandwiches, chips, cookie, and fruit (today we had bananas). A few of the girls were eating their lunch in the bow, when they noticed many sea lions and dolphins in the area. Some of the dolphins again rode the wake at the bow; these four girls had their own private showing since everyone else was in the back of the boat eating. The dolphins stayed with the boat for a long while, then went their own way.

We got to the islands, setting anchor at Three Finger Cove. The water was clear and warmer than it had been of late; the clouds burned off so the sun was shining brightly, and the sea lions and harbor seals were very curious about what all these animals in black wet suits were doing in the water. All but one student got in the water for the snorkeling – going in small groups, each with a Sea Camp staff. A few of the sea sick students came back early, but most stayed in the water for a good while. When students did get out, they were offered some hot chicken noodle soup and were told to stow their fins, mask and hood away. Students could then jump back in the water (under Sea Camp staff guidance) to play on the raft if they wanted. There was a good game of king of the raft going for awhile. At first, Elliot, John, Drew, and Eli were the raft masters, but the girls wanted on board too. After awhile Abby and Rose where the ones on the raft, having displaced the boys. Then the boys took it back with the help of Sam and many others. Noah did a great job of pulling people off the raft as he fell off – one time he took three with him. The captain told the staff that we needed to bring everyone on board so that we could set sail for home. Caden was the last to abandon the raft before it was brought on board.

The trip home was quiet. The clouds had moved back toward the end of the snorkel period. About 10 students had become sea sick at some time on this trip, so they took naps – as did most of the rest of their classmates. The return trip was about 2 ½ hours, so their afternoon nap helped revive them all.

Back at Sea Camp base camp, group B had to do the wet suit washing party before they could shower and share experiences with Group A who were already back – and full of sugar.

Group A had spent the morning doing a plankton lab and learning to sea kayak. After students learned to master their kayaks, there was much falling over board in the shallow bay next to base camp. All were wet and had a great time. The wet experience continued at Sea World with many students riding the Atlantis roller coaster that ends with a big slosh of water at the bottom, or being soaked by Shamu, or the other water ride. They did look at the animal exhibits and finished their scavenger hunt, but two of their papers were very wet – one beyond use and had to be rewritten.

All students – from both groups – were extremely animated during free time and supper (which consisted of salad, cooked carrots, mash potatoes and gravy, roast beef, and strawberry shortcake for dessert). After dinner, group A had to back their snorkel bags for tomorrow’s boat trip then all students were to take part in the night adaptations lab (which usually includes a game of capture the flag).

Another long and wonderful day was had by all.

Tuesday 27 September 2011 – Sea Camp

Monday October 3, 2011

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Our second day at Sea Camp started a little later than Monday, breakfast was served at 8 am PST, and consisted of fruit, scrambled eggs, sausage, muffins. All students were up and ready for the day by breakfast time, excited to see what the day held in store for them.

After breakfast, group B climbed into the vans and headed for Mission Point for their first lesson in how to snorkel. In addition to the wet suit that they had learned to wear on Monday, they would now be using a hood, fins and mask. Sea Camp staff instructed them on the use of this additional equipment, then broke them up into two subgroups, half of the students would snorkel first; the other half would learn to seine. The snorkel half was then subdivided even further so that only four or five students were with each Sea Camp instructor. Even though the red tide reduced the visibility, students were able to see many fish and invertebrates on their snorkel.

The tide was high for this morning group at Mission Point, so they did not find much with their seine net, they did find a variety of small fish, but not many invertebrates. They still had run with races and relays along the shore. After the first bunch of students finished snorkeling, they took off their hoods, fins and masks and learned to seine, while the seiners put on this additional equipment for their snorkel.

While Group B was at Mission Point, Group A was back at base camp completing a Fish lab which included the dissection of a mackerel fish at the end of the lab. They washed up, donned their swim suits and came to Mission Point in time to share lunch with Group B. Lunch consisted of the usual sandwich, chips, cookie and fruit. After lunch, the entire class played a few rounds of modified hide and seek, then Group A stayed for the snorkel and seining experience while Group B headed back to Sea Camp for the invertebrate lab.

Once back at base camp, Group B took quick showers to rid themselves of the itchy salt water and got dressed for the lab. Sea Camp has a shelter outside the touch tank, with several picnic style tables and a white board – this is where the lab was held – conveniently located to all the cool invertebrates in the touch tank. Students took notes on a variety of different invertebrates. When introducing each phylum, Sea Camp staff selected a student to wear a blind fold, and they were then handed a live example of the critter, which they were to describe, before they could take off their blind fold and see what they had in their hands. In addition to observing many different live examples of invertebrates, this lab ended with the dissection of a market squid, and the giving and receiving of squid ink tattoos and mustaches.

Shortly after the lab, Group A returned to base camp from Mission Point. All students helped with a wet suit washing party, followed by free time for showers, calling home, working on their Sea Camp journal, and buying Sea Camp shirts, hoodies, hats etc. at the Sea Camp store.

After supper, students were all together for the marine mammal lab. They learned about many mammals that live in the San Diego area, watching a few videos and doing some other activities with the information. Even though this lab was in the evening after a long active day and did not have any animal dissections, Whitney, the Sea Camp instructor who taught this lab, reported that the Slavens 8th grade class had excellent behavior for this lab!.

Monday 26 September 2011 – Sea Camp

Monday October 3, 2011

Greetings from San Diego!!!

We started the day with our fastest trip through security ever – which meant students had plenty of time to buy all the junk food and McDonalds that they wanted and mirrored sunglasses too! Mr. Framke passed out the Algebra sheet – front and back – 50 problems, and once on the plane most students worked on it. A few played cards – although Ian S learned that when you wear mirrored sunglasses while playing cards, your opponent can read your hand as well as you can. Other wise the flight was uneventful – but very noisy. We arrived in San Diego 20 minutes ahead of schedule and were greeted at the baggage area by Sea Camp staff. After everyone’s bag arrived, we made a long line of students and bags out of the terminal and down the sidewalk where we created a large mountain of bags and waited for the Sea Camp bags and staff to arrive.

In a few minutes the familiar white 14 passenger Sea Camp vans arrived, one pulling a trailer to help move the bags. Students were seated in the vans while the Sea Camp staff (and Mr. Framke) moved the mountain of bags into the trailer and one of the bags. We were off for Sea Camp. The weather was in the 60’s an overcast when we arrived, but while we ate our breakfast, the sun started to burn off the fog and we had a beautiful sunny day for the rest of the day.

Breakfast consisted of cereal, canned peaches, chocolate chip muffins, scrambled eggs, sausage, and pancakes with juice. Everyone ate something, and many of the boys ate a hearty breakfast – some of the same boys who had chowed down on food at DIA – I guess sitting on a plane and working on algebra builds up an appetite.

Once breakfast was over, students were given an orientation to the Sea Camp staff and facility and then moved into their dorm rooms. They got ready for the day including being sized for their wet suites and putting on their bathing suit and clothes over them, plus bringing dry clothes to change into and closed toed shoes for the afternoon. Once all were ready – including liberal applications of sunscreen and drinking of water, we loaded back up in the vans and headed for La Jolla Shores.

At La Jolla Shores, the groups were divided into A and B. Group A boogie boarded first while group B did a beach walk, and then they switched. Their is a red tide condition in this area, which means the water is filled with a plankton called dinoflagellates that make the water red. It was strange to see the waves crashing with this red coloration, but it did not stop the students from having fun in the water.

After everyone had changed to dry clothes, we ate lunch at the La Jolla Shores Park. Students could choose from a variety of sandwiches (tuna, egg salad, roast beef, turkey, BPJ) several types of chips, either an apple or orange and a large cookie. We cleaned up our trash and loaded back up in the vans to drive to the tide pools at Sea Ridge (also called Tourmaline Surfing area).

Since today was a New Moon, the tidal range is at it greatest, and this afternoon’s low tide allowed us to find all types of critters. Students worked in small groups – each group had a plastic collecting bucket. There was much screaming – from both males and females – as they found cool stuff. Students were told to only put one of each type of critter that they found in their buckets. Several groups had a variety of mollusks and crabs, and many groups found small octopi too. We looked at all the critters before releasing them back to the sea. Back in the vans and back to Sea Camp.

Before a showers or calls home could be made, students had to clean the wet suits. After the wet suit cleaning party, some students played with the footballs of basketballs, others took showers, most called home, and many worked on their Sea Camp journals until it was time for supper. Tonight’s meal consisted of a wonderful tossed salad that contained a variety of peppers, baby corn, and black olives in addition to the lettuce; rolls; baked beans; BBQ chicken and ribs and brownies for dessert. Tonight one group will do the invertebrate lab, the other the fish lab.

A wonderful, but very long day was had by all.