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Floating Lab field trip is the first of the traditional field trips
that are true San Diego classic experiences, that parents, if not
children, hear about years in advance and look forward finally getting
their turn. Not every school child can go on a field trip to an
ocean bay to gather and examine wildlife.
were three classes and two boats. Doug's class was unfortunately
the one split. Two car pools went on our boat, while the teacher
and the rest of the car pools went on the other. So our boat was half
our class and another third grade class. That's 30 kids a boat.
This was not a small boat. It was not a fishing boat, but a dive boat, rigged to support scuba divers. This would serve our oceanographic needs well.
first order of business on the boat before it left the slip was an
orientation for the kids: what they were going to do that day, ship's
rules, and of course instructions regarding the life jackets.
The instructor was great with the kids, and kept their rapt attention.
That's Doug in his brother's orange cap, by the way. The photographer/father could not have had a better strategy for helping you to spot him in the pictures if had tried....
other boat with the rest of the class departed first. Here it
goes into San Diego Bay with downtown on its left and the jet hangers
of Coronado's North Island Navy base on its right.
first work on board was to cast a net. Volunteers were
requested. Doug refused to volunteer (for anything) because his
brother had told him not to; that if he volunteered he would get a
lobster on placed on his head.
After the volunteers had cast the net, it was time for everyone, volunteer or not, to haul the net in (as the boat was moving) to see what was caught. A line of students went around the boat in a counter-clockwise circle, grabbing the rope and pulling it with them up the starboard side of the boat.
was tagged to be barrel man, taking the rope from the moving line of
kids as they brought it forward and laying it in the barrel. He
is convinced he got this job because he was the only father on board
(although there was nothing particularly taxing or physical about the
were collected from the net and placed in a water barrel. If a
particularly important or interesting animal was not captured in the
net, it was produced from on board holding tanks and thrown into the
The barrel was then taken forward, and Jesse our oceanographer explained each of the creatures, which included a sting ray, sponge, a California halibut, a crab and a lobster. Yes, the lobster was put on someone's head (but not Douglas'; he stayed well back).
exploring the creatures in the bucket, the kids broke up into teams to
perform oceanographic experiments. Here Douglas is washing muck
retrieved from the bottom of the bay. They discovered mussels,
decorator tube worms and hermit crabs.
sea lions and cormorants combined to really stink up the bait docks
where we stopped to do our oceanography.
the mud sample, we moved on to the holding tanks were the kids had the
opportunity to touch each of the animals captured in the net.
Doug holds the clipboard where they recorded their oceanographic
observations (e.g. "the starfish felt like pebbles").
were additional experiments to determine water depth, temperature,
clarity, wind speed, and tide direction.
there was the plankton experiment. We ran out of time and didn't
collect our own sample, but Jesse was prepared with some sample ocean
water himself. Using this interesting projection system, everyone
got to see the plankton (or at least its shadows) moving around.
|That concludes the oceanography portion
of our cruise. Now was a slow ride back to the pier while we ate
lunch. Here are Keith and Doug and the San Diego skyline.
was a lot less thrilled, it seems, to get his picture taken with his
classmates. Maybe he was just tried of pictures by this point.
|And that was the end of our three hour
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