Channel Islands 2014

Channel Islands 2014 Blog #5

Written by Kalei A. of Scotts Valley High

July 18, 2014

Everyone on the train!

Everyone on the train!

Today we woke up around 7:30 to have breakfast in the dining halls. Luckily, the line for breakfast was not long, but the building was super crowded. The food was very good. There were pancakes, waffles, fruit, eggs, sausage, cereal, and so much more! It was a huge buffet! It was a good way to start the day. After breakfast, we ended the day with our last activity. We went tide pooling at the Santa Barbara beach. We used grids to help us count the species in the tide pools. On a sheet of paper, we wrote down the amount of each species we saw. We then talked about beach ecology. We learned that when something is taken from the environment, it can mess up the ecosystem. After our discussion, we went back to the dorms, packed up, and checked out. Everyone had a fantastic time on this trip. This was a very fun trip and was a huge pleasure to be apart of. It was a very different experience. This trip will always be memorable.

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Channel Islands 2014

Channel Islands 2014 Blog #4

Written by Kalei A. of Scotts Valley High

July 17, 2014 

Dolphins near our boat!

Dolphins near our boat!

This morning we woke up to a fantastic breakfast of breakfast burritos! As always, we woke up at 7 am to start our day. After breakfast, we were separated into our three groups. Each group went to either snorkel for fish ID, kayak, or do invertebrate ID. My group started out snorkeling. We had to wear wetsuits and they were so difficult to put on! When you got the wetsuits on you felt so stiff that you almost couldn’t walk! When we went into the water, it felt cold but the wet suits kept us warm! The wetsuits loosened up in the water so they were not uncomfortable anymore! We snorkeled around the rocks of the island. We saw so many different species! We saw sea anemone, sea urchins, blacksmith fish, Garibaldi, and so many others! We even saw a bat ray! It was so much fun looking at everything underwater. We were given clipboards that you could use underwater. We used the clipboards to write down what species and how many we saw of them. We certainly saw many.

When we got back to the boat, we discussed what species we saw and how many of that species. We then switched groups and my group went to the invertebrate ID area. We got to see different species of invertebrates. It was very interesting seeing the species close up. One of the coolest things we saw in the invertebrate ID was the crossbred sea urchin. It was a crossbreed of a red urchin and a crowned urchin. It was a bright red color and it was very pretty.

The sea cave in front of our boat!

The sea cave in front of our boat!

We then swapped groups and my group went kayaking. Kayaking was so much fun because we got to kayak into one of the sea caves! The water in the cave was very clear. We learned that the water in the cave is so clear because there is not much phytoplankton in it because of lack of sunlight. The cave was really pretty. The design of the rock was gorgeous. While kayaking in the cave, we saw a sea lion! After kayaking we had a delicious lunch of burgers, macaroni & cheese, potato chips, and watermelon. After lunch, we started heading back to Santa Barbara. On the way back, we saw a big pod of dolphins! The dolphins were jumping around the boat. It was so cool!

More dolphins near our boat!

More dolphins near our boat!

After a few hours, we arrived in Santa Barbara. There, we were driven to the University of Santa Barbara to go to our dorms for the night. The Santa Barbara campus is beautiful and is placed perfectly near the beach. We all checked in and were given our room keys. The dorms we stayed in were on the very top floor. The rooms were a bit small but contained two desks, two beds, and a big closet. After we settled in, we went to have dinner in the dining hall. The dining hall was so crowded! People were everywhere! There was also so much food and there was a huge selection! After dinner, we went back to the dorms and went into the lounge room and ended the day with a game of cards.

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Channel Islands 2014

Channel Islands 2014 Blog #3

Written by Kalei A. of Scotts Valley High

July 16, 2014 

Torrey Pines Hiking Trail

Torrey Pines Hiking Trail

Today we woke up at 7 am sharp to a fantastic breakfast of blueberry pancakes, eggs, and bacon. It was very delicious! We started the day earlier than usual because we had a pretty big list of things to do. We separated into our groups to do labs. One lab involved the rocky tide pools and the other involved plankton. I was in the group to start at the tide pools. We explored the tide pools and looked at the different species of animals and algae. The exploration was cut short so we had to cancel our tide pool lab and return to the boat. We then changed plans. Instead of doing the tide pool lab the group did fish ID instead where we had to identify the species on the cards. The point of this was for snorkeling later in the day. After that, we swapped groups and started the plankton lab. We chose to collect the plankton horizontally instead of vertically (what the last group did) to see how much plankton was at the water’s surface. After collecting the plankton, we came back to have a delicious lunch of enchiladas, rice, beans, guacamole, salsa, and chips! We were all very hungry after all that work!

Santa Rosa Buckwheat

Santa Rosa Buckwheat

After lunch, we moved to the north part of Santa Rosa Island to go hiking on the Torrey Pines trail. We saw a really cool plant called the Santa Rosa buckwheat which is only native to Santa Rosa. It was quite a lot of work to get to the area of the Torrey pine trees. It was definitely worth it though because they were spectacular. We learned that the Torrey pines were only native to two areas: Santa Rosa and San Diego. We also learned that they receive their water supply from rain and fog. I thought it was very interesting that the Torrey pines received moisture from the fog.

Santa Cruz Island Sea Cave

Santa Cruz Island Sea Cave

After the long hike, we got back onto our boat and sailed to Santa Cruz Island. It was about an hour and a half ride down there so we had some snacks off the veggie tray and played some ukulele. We sailed past certain parts of Santa Cruz Island and it was amazing. It was full of sea caves! There were so many of them and they looked so beautiful! They got bigger and bigger as we moved along the island. We arrived at a sea cave large enough to fit the boat in. We drove the boat into the sea cave and it was so beautiful. It was amazing. The sea caves were wonderful! We found a place to station the boat and we had dinner. The meat eaters got ham and the vegetarians got stuffed bell peppers. Everyone got a side of sweet potatoes, green beans, and salad. We also got warm biscuits! It was so delicious!

After dinner, we got the choice of kayaking or snorkeling. I chose to snorkel with a couple other people. We swam towards the edge of the island, towards a small sea cave. When we looked underwater it was amazing. We saw everything from giant kelp, to sea urchins, to sea anemones. We saw so many fish. We saw the California state fish, the Garibaldi. Another one that we saw is called the señorita fish. It is a very long and skinny yellow fish. After snorkeling for a while, we went back to the boat, showered, and had a delicious dessert of brownies with vanilla ice cream! It was very, very good! We ended the night with cards, of course. Today was quite the adventure. We saw so many new things!!

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Channel Islands 2014

Channel Islands 2014 Blog #2

Written by Kalei A. of Scotts Valley High

July 15, 2014 

View of the ocean on the hike

View of the ocean on the hike

Today we woke up at 7 a.m. sharp. We woke up to a fantastic breakfast buffet. We had a choice of eggs, sausage, cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, fruits, toast, and bagels. It was so delicious! We started out our morning by arriving at Santa Rosa Island. We were put into two groups, one group went to the tide pools and the other group went kayaking. I was placed in the group for tide pooling. The beach was so amazing and contained things that we do not normally see. There were so many beautiful abalone and snail shells. We walked around and explored the tide pools. We saw many bat stars and anemone. We saw this really cool slug on the beach called a sea hare. It’s very soft and squishy. Sometimes it inks. We saw many sand crabs and many snails. There were snails all over the rocks!! After exploring there, the groups swapped and we went kayaking. Kayaking is so much fun! It is certainly an arm workout! It was so cool because you got to actually touch the kelp floating around. The kelp is so huge and very pretty. We learned that the species of kelp was called bladder kelp. After a while, we kayaked back and went swimming in the water. It was so cold at first but we easily adjusted to it. The water is so buoyant! You can easily float there! We then had a lunch of either meat or veggie sandwiches which we packed for our hike on Santa Rosa. We hiked from the beach to the top of the hills. The environment was very desert-like with a lot of shrubs. When we got back from the hike, we were sized for wet suits and flippers. The wet suits are so difficult to put on! We then went snorkeling. It was so cool because you could see what was under the water. We saw a lot of kelp and sea grass but we did see some fish and a bat star! We learned how to dive under the water. At first, it was a little difficult because if you did it incorrectly you could hurt your eardrums but it really wasn’t bad. With diving, you had the advantage of seeing a lot more! We then returned back to a wonderful snack of nachos. We all hung out on the boat and played games. Later, we had a nice dinner of tri-tip steak for the meat eaters and sautéed mushrooms for the vegetarians. Yum! It came with a side of spiced broccoli, potatoes, and bread rolls. For dessert, we had a cheesecake and cookie ice cream! It was delicious! Day 2 on the boat was so much fun!

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Channel Islands 2014

Channel Islands 2014 Blog #1

Written by Kalei A. of Scotts Valley High

July 14, 2014

Today we departed from the San Jose train station all the way to Santa Barbara. The train ride took about 8 hours in total! The train was very comfortable, though, and we played lots of card games and talked. We told stories about what we’ve done so far this summer and relaxed the majority of the time.

We arrived in Santa Barbara around 6 pm and met Scott, who is a professor in marine ecology at the University of Santa Barbara. He and his assistants drove all of us to the University of Santa Barbara and took us to the REEF, which is a room full of display tanks and touch tanks. He showed us a lot of the animals in the touch tanks. We got to hold bat stars, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, and abalone. We learned about the five different taxonomic kingdoms which are animalia, plantae, fungi, bacteria, and protists.

We then had a dinner of pizza, salad, and lemonade. After dinner, we played a game where we had photos of marine organisms taped on our backs and we had to talk to the people around us to hint what the organisms were. It was a fun activity and allowed us to meet other people we didn’t know well. We then were taken to the wharf to finally get on our boat and get comfortable. We ended the night by playing a few rounds of cards. In all, the first day was very fun! We are all very excited to experience the fun in day 2 of our big adventure!

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