Sea Camp Day 2
On our second day on Fiesta Island, famous for being the site of the first every triathlon, we awoke to the smells of eggs and breakfast burritos with gray, cloudy, and calm skis. Little did we know just how much local sea food we all would get to sample. All the kids ate their fill including Dietrich whose heaping plate of seconds defied belief (see picture). Once the tables were cleared and cleaned team A readied themselves for the invertebrates lab while team B and I grabbed our slightly odoriferous neoprene suits and piled into the vans.
After a short trip to Mission Point we divided into two groups, while one group snorkeled, the other seined in the shallows. Seining is an ancient method of catching fish. Two people hold a wooden stake that is attached to a net. The net has one side that is held at the top of the water by floats while the other end weighted side of the net scraps the sea floor. While the net is held taught, the rest of the group links arms and methodically marches through the water towards the net. Frightened fish try to escape the chorus line by swimming … right into the net. There was quite an income. We netted dozens of smelt and one juvenile halibut that was so unsightly that students thought that eating him would be gross.
The snorkeling group had the opportunity to see, touch, and even taste the local sea life that calls the rocky Mission Point home. Some of the highlights were an octopus, brittle stars, sea stars, sea hares (although they move more like a tortoise), and flitting Garibaldi’s. Alana swears that the giant Limpet or whale’s eye does in fact taste like sweet potato, while Elizabeth was just happy to get the seven years of good luck that comes when you lick the mollusk. Yummy and good for you too! To bad the same can’t be said of Brussels sprouts. All the snorkeling was just a tease for what is to come on the boat trips which start tomorrow.
In the afternoon, team B entered the classrooms for the fish lab. The lesson started around the shark tank where the sea camp staff unveiled the future Sea World star Leopold the leopard shark who they have taught to do tricks. When the trainer commands it, Leopold will jumps out of the water near the side of the tank and splash the student who the trainer is pointing at. I was dubious at first, but as several students said, seeing is believing. After the short performance, Leopold allowed several eager students to touch his dermal denticles (skin). After the discussing sharks, students were treated to a fish dissection where they ventured into the fishes stomachs, heart, and swim bladder which makes a sound like bubble wrap when it is squeezed. The highlight of the lab was when Aiden and Maya tasted the slime from the Liker Limpet and the staff description of how the primitive agnatha fish would coat a fictional dead whale, named Brooke, on the bottom of the ocean with a slime that it secrets from its scale and then eat the entire carcass with nothing other than it’s rough tongue. Yikes!
In the end, our second day in not-so-sunny San Diego was tremendous fun and it has wetted our appetite for the adventures that are still to come. Check back tomorrow for a detailed account of marine life that team B encounters. Check the 8th grade blogsite for the url for pictures from the day.
Kirk and Kathy