Friday, June 4, 2010

Boat Trip-Floating Science Lab!

The day finally arrived, one we had been waiting for, for months! Our homeschool group went on a Marine Science Day field trip, on the waters of Ressurection Bay..out of Seward, AK. The Kenai Fjord trip is a popular one for tourists, but before the tourists arrive, they do an outstanding science program for school age children, which has won many awards for its content and approach.

You can always hope for wonderful weather, but the truth is its hard to find it in this part of our state. The mountains rise straight up from the bay, and they make their own grey, cloudy weather-complete with plenty of harsh winds. That's the normal weather..but we had a PERFECT, GORGEOUS day out there!!!

We were able to see lots of wildlife, including mountain goats (with new baby "kids" on the block), dall porpoises, sea otters, sea lion, and all kinds of water fowl. The porpoises were with us all day, playing in small groups around the bow of the boat, and jumping and flipping with joy in the wake behind us. They were SO entertaining!!

See the brand new baby mountain goat by his mama? He was so darling..I wanted to hug him!

The kids went to various "stations" on the boat, where they were instructed in all kinds of marine science knowledge and hands-on application. They learned about palangic and non-palangic sea birds at one station, with real (stuffed) birds so they could observe wing and foot structures.

At another science station, they used a net to drag the water and collect krill, then used the onboard microscopes to analyze and identify plankton, phytoplankton, and be specific. They LOVED that one.

At another, they took samples of sea water, and checked the salinity, turbidity, and temperature, and talked about how to find each.

At yet another, they learned difficult new vocabulary, pertaining to ecosystems, then went to an onboard tank to identify various ecosystems, and learn about the crabs, snails, sea stars, anemones, and more living there.

The scenery was unbelievably beautiful. I always wonder if I, having grown up on the Peninsula, can scarcely take it all in, how do the tourists not just slip into a coma at the splendor?? Its a mystery to me. I truly cannot tell you how much I love our mountains, beaches, bays, and wildlife. Its like a gift each and every time I observe it, and I will never ever tire of it as long as I live.

We had a WONDERFUL, fantastic day on the water, and loved every minute. We visited with our homeschooling friends, and took lots and lots of pictures. The boat took us from cove to cove, and even up to a glacier, then back around and out to the Gulf of Alaska, before returning to the Seward Harbor.

We were tired, sun-soaked, and happy, and drove the two and a half hour drive back home dreaming about our next boat trip.


Kim said...

Oh, my! SPECTACULAR. You are so right about Seward's weather . . . what a blessing that the day was so gorgeous!! And all the wildlife that you got to see! Great pics, G, wow!

DebW said...

What a great trip!! Fab photos!

Liz said...

What an absolutely gorgeous place to call home! And what a fabulous trip, learning and lovely sites AND beautiful weather, you can't ask for more than that. :)

Tricia said...

Looks like a fun day! Thanks for sharing.