Monday, October 20, 2014

Day One Recap

(To be edited later.  I'm tired)

Sea Camp 2014 Day 1
We all arrived at DIA around 6:30 am, although some were delayed a bit by the construction traffic.  We got checked in at the Southwest check in, then lined up for what was the first of many head counts and headed for the security.  Fortunately a sympathetic TSA attendant allowed us to go through the expedited screening which allowed us all to get through security without having to negotiate the typical slalom course that precedes the x-ray machines and body scanners.   Thirty minutes later 53 Slavens students emerged from the screening only a bottle or two lighter then when we had entered.  The excitement came when a Riley McWhite recognized Julius Thomas’s parents in the queue for the train and Jackson Smith had the courage to go up to them and shake their hands.  It turns out that Julius’s father is a principal and seemed genuinely interested in our school trip to San Diego.  Once we arrived at gate C37, everyone received their first Sea Camp rite of passage, the airport algebra sheet. With only 20 minutes before our boarding group most students elected to diligently start working, I love teaching at Slavens, while we waited our turn to board.  The flight was uneventful despite the pilot actually bouncing the plane on landing and soon we had disembarked and retrieved out luggage.
At the baggage claim we met our Sea Camp group leader Ryan and piled into the Econo vans that whisked us away to the Sea Camp estates locate on Fiesta Island in San Diego’s Mission Bay.  After a quick orientation we were off to La Jolla Cove where we had our first of many fine picnic meals.  This year the lunch fair has significantly improved.  I had this wonderful Mahi Mahi Japanese wrap that had just the right amount of wasabi that had me wanting more.  Don’t all 8th graders love wasabi?  Immediately after cleaning our area, OK we let the sea gulls do the lion’s share of the work (mine, mine, mine), we allowed our food to digest with a relaxing game of sprout ball (Sprout ball is a modified version of doge ball that Nikko, Ben, Tyler, and Ree were freakishly good at). 
Once the last ball fell to Earth the group split into two, half went boogie board and the other half went for a guided beach walk that focused on all the important roles kept play in the oceans ecosystem. 

    One of the highlights of the trip is always student’s first attempt at putting on a wetsuit.  Only one camper tried to put on the suit inside out (a new record low) and one tried to put it on by slipping the whole thing over their head!  It didn’t work.  Another hidden Sea Camp jem of an activity is the wetsuit chest bump.  Nothing gives you a good rebound off of another person than a 9mm layer of neoprene.  After discussing the safety precautions, your know always go in the water with a buddy, shuffle your feet to avoid the sting rays, and remembering that in the event of a water landing our seat cushion can be used as a floatation device, we grabbed a boogie board and jumped into the surf.  To be honest, the waves at the cove when I have been on the trip are few and far between.  Fortunately we are at the tail end of a swell so we actually had some solid waves to surf.  Will and Katie seemed like naturals in this new salty aquatic environment.  On the other side of the coin Marta and Lauren were out doing themselves for the best wipeout while several boogie boarders had to briefly leave the water with bloody noses from allowing a wave to push their boards into their faces.  I think one of them was trying to hold back the tide.
After several hours boarding and exploring we again loaded into the vans for a quick stop at Seal Beach.  Seal Beach is a beach originally built for children’s swimming lessons, however the beach proved to be such a good place for seal pup raising, but the pinnipeds ended up taking over the beach.  
You may think that this would constitute a full day of activity, but not so.  Once campers had their fill of watching the graceful seals swim, and then not so gracefully get out of the water, we again loaded the vans and returned to base camp of free time, dinner and night labs.   Even as I write this there is a Slavens student, scalpel in hand, slicing open the ink sack of a squid or emptying the stomach of a mackerel.
Good night from Sea Camp

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