Friday, July 25, 2008

Marine bio Camp - day 6 recap

Well, this year's Marine Biology Camp came to a close with a whale watching excursion with Capt. John Boats out of Plymouth, MA. Although our chances of seeing anything seemed slim with the heavy fog rolling in, our luck was good once we hit Stellwagen Bank and the fog cleared. Highlights from the the trip:

  • Saw five humpbacks up close, including two cow-calf pairs, as well as a couple of minke whales and a fin whale off in the distance

  • One of the humpback whales we saw was Salt, the first humpback to be given a name some 30+ years ago, and her new calf, Sanchal
  • .
  • Great bubble net feeding beahvior

  • Best of all, Sanchal gave us a show with a "spinning head breach" right in front of the bow of the boat. This was the first time I had ever seen a breach and was as amazing as I thought it would be!
Upon our return to campus, we gave the Marine Bio students their final exam. We'd been hyping it up all week long, scaring them into paying attention and taking notes, even offering bonus points for various things throughout the week. In the end though, the "final" was a fun scavenger hunt across campus, complete with a bucket for bringing back samples (e.g. an herbivorous marine gastropod, a piece of flotsam, a member of the phylum Arthropoda). No grades are assigned - everyone had fun, learned some stuff, did some things they never did before, and got a cool RWU Marine Biology t-shirt. A success by all accounts (excepting the one kid that left mid-week).

It was an intense week - I feel like we did an entire semester of a Marine Bio lab/field course in one week. I think I'll go to bed now and sleep for about three days!

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