Yearly Archives: 2017

Spotlight – Advanced Climb & Kayak

Often at Sea Camp we see instruction emphasized through activities, experiences, and interactions; Advanced Climb/Kayak is no different. Instructor Ryan (Photographed with instructor Nick) spoke on his instruction of the course explaining that the aim is to challenge students through rigorous physical activities and experience incredible views of the natural beauty of the areas surrounding Toyon Bay. As a native of Kentucky, Ryan spent his youth hiking through the backwoods of the Kentucky Appalachian Mountains and spending time on the water at Kentucky Lake. His experience prepared him to meet the challenge of leading such a multifaceted experience for our campers.

climb kayak

Students can look forward to two diverse challenges through the course: first on the water, and later tackling some of the challenge walls at Sea Camp’s very own rock wall. Out on kayaks, campers are able to participate in challenge-by-choice activities, which urge campers to stand up on their kayaks, walk to the bow of them, and balance during headstands and dances atop them. These challenges add an element of fun to learning the best ways to balance and paddle through the water – a first for many campers! As part of the climbing portion of the class, campers take on some of the challenge walls aptly named Chuck Norris, Chupacabra, and The Beast. Campers seeking additional challenges can opt into new restrictions like blindfolds or using only one arm.climb kayak 1

Advanced Climb/Kayak sets out to help campers explore activities outside of the conventional by challenging them beyond what is expected. These opportunities to go beyond what they thought possible are what help campers grow, both personally and together as a team. Instructors like Ryan are at the forefront of it all, encouraging campers through experience and making the most of activities through thinking outside of the box.

Spotlight – Rescue Dive

Did you know you can become a NAUI-certified Rescue Diver at Catalina Sea Camp? Dive programming at Catalina Sea Camp covers a host of diverse activities and skill sets, both to encourage divers to explore the underwater world around Catalina Island and to educate divers to become better equipped to handle the challenges of this extreme sport.

rescue dive campers

One of the courses that campers enjoy is Rescue Dive. Led by NAUI Dive Instructors here at Sea Camp, the rescue diver course serves to educate campers about first-aid procedures in dive-specific circumstances. The course covers both skin diving and SCUBA diving and ranges from the classroom setting to the water, allowing for campers to apply their training in real-life simulations.

rescue dive matt

Matt Menninger leads the current Rescue Dive course, helping a small group of students learn the ins and outs of rescue diving. The opportunity for divers to learn these skills not only allows for them to be more confident underwater, but also gives them peace of mind when diving with others in all kinds of conditions. Ultimately, Rescue Dive is just one of many great opportunities for campers to stretch their skills to new levels, equipping them to make the most of future adventures, and stay safe in the midst of ever-evolving challenges.

rescue dive card

Have fun, Rescue Divers!

Spotlight – Diving at Catalina Sea Camp

Snorkeling and diving are some of the most awesome experiences campers can immerse themselves in at Catalina Sea Camp. Peach and her dive team are something special to watch. As certified NAUI Dive Masters and Instructors, they offer unique opportunities for campers to encounter nature through adventurous underwater explorations at Sea Camp. She and her team of experienced dive instructors generate excitement and awe through helping campers access a world that is often times completely new to them. Campers often share first-time experiences with their friends, whether it’s the first time they get to touch a sea hare during a snorkel session, or learning how to breathe underwater during Basic SCUBA courses.

dive

For Junior Sea Campers, these programs look like everything from exciting dive-deck demos to opportunities to experiencing these organisms up close and personal on group snorkels. For the Senior Sea Camp programs the curriculum deepens, allowing campers to explore SCUBA through incremental courses that improve dive skills, stress safety, and encourage creativity through photo or video of our underwater world here at Toyon Bay and around the island.

diving

While adventure and education are main focuses for Peach and her team, safety is always at the forefront of courses and activities on the dive deck and in the water. The unique opportunity for campers to practice diving in Toyon’s private bay and have the flexibility to travel across Catalina on our Discovery barge to places like the Avalon Dive Park and Lover’s Cove to see other unique ecosystems is a one-of-a-kind experience for dive students.

The Adventure of Science Spotlight

Science and Adventure at Catalina Sea Camp is about more than just education – it’s about experience, interaction, and challenges. Campers that come to Catalina Sea Camp get awesome opportunities to experience more than conventional courses in science when they come to Toyon Bay, as Jeff Chace and his team work day in and day out to provide opportunities for campers to go beyond the textbook to experiencing science first hand at our Plankton, Algae, and Fish Labs as well as in our Marine Mammal Hall and through experiences traveling across the island in Catalina Explore and Adventure classes.

Science adventure

Campers in our one-week programs have the opportunity to experience our ocean firsthand by collecting plankton samples to view under the microscope and feeling invertebrates and sharks in our touch tanks. In the three-week programs campers explore Catalina to study endemic species and experience the beauty of Sea Camp’s surroundings.

Science adventure 1

Through opportunities to adventure, campers participate in activities ranging from archery and the giant swing to rock climbing and stand-up paddle boarding. Activities are dictated by challenge by choice, where campers push themselves to their own personal limits in a safe environment. Regardless of what campers are doing on any given day, Science and Adventure staff make it their mission to engage campers, through sharing the incredible beauty of the nature surrounding Toyon and by encouraging campers to push themselves beyond what they thought possible.

This Week’s Spotlight: Sailing at Toyon Bay Yacht Club

Sailing with the Toyon Bay Yacht Club, or TBYC for short, is a quintessential part of the Catalina Sea Camp experience.  From the ‘yachties’ who run activities in the yacht club to the courses taken out on the open water learning to sail single and double hull crafts, the Yacht Club embodies more than just the opportunities for campers to learn to sail. When campers come to the Yacht Club they can be anyone they want. As part of the opening ceremonies out on the yacht deck, campers choose ‘Sail Names’ that are often goofy, sometimes part of the campers past, and always solidified as their new identity over the course of the next few days learning to sail. They then write these sail names on miniature sails to be hung in the roof of the Yacht club, next to those of past campers and amidst memorabilia commemorating the rich, warm history of decades of past yachties. The whole experience is unique for campers, encouraging a light-hearted experience in the midst of challenging learning experiences.

sailing

At the helm of the whole enterprise is Cupcake (pictured above), who has spent the last two years as director of the Yacht Club and the last five years as part of its staff (in case you hadn’t guessed, that’s her Sail Name). She picks only the best sailors for her team, looking at a combination of personality and experience to ensure that not only the courses are successful, but also that the experience as a whole is an amazing chance for campers to come and be a part of something special for their time here at camp.

sailing 2

The Toyon Bay Yacht Club encourages campers to be themselves, to learn out on the open water, and relax in good company on the sunny Yacht Deck or in the shady Yacht Club. By pairing together time spent out on the open water and time spent in the unique atmosphere of the yacht club, Cupcake and her team work to ensure that campers can have an incredible, memorable summer.  

Art

Spotlight: Art Shack

Art

Art Shack is the perfect place for imagination and exploration here at Catalina Sea Camp. To exert the body in adventures out on the water is one thing – to work out your mind, getting creative and imaginative, is another! Art Shack is a place where Junior Sea Campers can become superheroes and warriors, and where senior sea campers can connect through crafting together.

Art 2

At the helm of the Art Shack, and part of this week’s spotlight, is Keira, an instructor truly fit for the ideas that spring from the canvas, construction paper, glitter and paint that find their home on the art Shack’s packed shelves. During the year, Keira is busy working as a costume designer in Massachusetts and New York City, but when summer comes around, she heads to Sea Camp to lead campers in bringing to life their most creative ideas.art k

Art Shack has a long history at Sea Camp, as art has always been a part of camp curriculum. The current Art Shack has been a haven for students on the hill for the past 20 or so years. And in that time, instructors like Keira have been guiding students in their creative endeavors. Every lesson starts with a creative idea, perhaps imagining what superpowers one might choose, or who and what one would defend as a knight in the Middle Ages. What is awesome about Art Shack, though, is the reflective takeaways Keira works into the lessons. Superheroes defend those in harm’s way, and knights represent gallantry and chivalry, and these ideas are turned into food for thought for the campers. Questions can be powerful in these times of reflection. Often these activities spur questions like, “what kind of knight’s ideals do I want to live out in my own life? Who can I defend on a day to day basis?” Or, “what is important to me to work towards in life?” These ideas are massive subjects for anyone to take on, but when they are packaged in the form of a creative activity, campers and counselors alike both have great fun in crafting and take away something deeper.

Art

Art Shack is part and parcel of the balance we strive to seek here at Sea Camp of pushing our bodies to adventure and encouraging our minds to grow. Keira also strives for Art Shack to be a place of reflection and rest in the midst of the packed schedule that encourages campers to make the most of every moment. In doing so, she ensures campers are refreshed and ready to take on new challenges when they step onto the deck of the Art Shack.

Making Friends at Camp

Coming to Catalina Sea Camp is full of new moments. Whether it’s sailing over the open water or learning how to knock and fire your first arrow, camp here teaches us all kinds of lessons. Arguably one of the most important, though, is the way that camp allows us form friendships that become the essential new ingredient to thriving in a new setting. No matter whether we make friends to enjoy camp experiences together, support each other through homesickness, or challenge each other to learn and appreciate the beauty of surrounding nature, making new friends is a surefire means to ensuring the summer ahead will be one of the best experiences a camper can have.

Friends all

 

One of the ways we celebrate these new experiences here on Catalina, and at many other camps across the nation, is through making bracelets to commemorate the friends made at camp and remember the role friends play in our lives. The bracelet most commonly used to celebrate new friends at Sea Camp is known as a Turks Head bracelet, during the making of which the ends are fused together to represent celebrating the impact camp has on new friendships and allowing campers to truly be themselves and thrive through celebrating uniqueness. To learn how to make the Turks Head, come to camp and learn from one of our instructors or counselors! For now, though, we created a simpler DIY for those interested in learning a simple way to commemorate new friends. Watch the video and read the instructions below to get started.

What you will need:

  • 2 Strands of thicker rope
  • 2 Strands of thinner rope
  • A Clip Board
  • Tape

Instructions (also refer to the video for a more thorough visual description):

  • First, measure out two arm lengths and cut the thicker and thinner ropes to have four lengths of rope, each measured to two arm lengths.
  • Second, tie one end of all four ropes together in a knot and place the knot underneath the clip of the clip board
  • Third, arrange the two thicker ropes side by side to the end of the clipboard and tape them down, securing them on whatever surface you are working on.
  • Fourth, use the smaller lengths of rope to tie knots around the thicker pieces, the way we like to do this is by alternating which side the knots are tied on (refer to the video to watch how the knots are tied, take note of shaping one side like a four and pulling through the other side from under the thicker rope)
  • Fifth, continue this process, either alternating or keeping the knots to the same side for two different unique looks, until the bracelet has reached the adequate length to reach around one’s ankle or wrist.
  • Sixth, once the desired length is reached, tie the other end in a knot and cut off the excess rope.
  • Seven, tie the bracelet around your wrist or ankle and show it off to celebrate new friends and fresh experiences!

Under Pressure

It may not always be noticeable but everything on earth is under pressure. Above the ocean’s surface everything is subject to the air pressure of our atmosphere, which equals about fourteen and a half pounds per square inch, or one atmosphere of pressure.

If that doesn’t seem like much then consider the fact that it is pressing down on every single part of your body at all times. You’ve probably opened a brand new bottle of soda before and noticed how when the seal is cracked there is a familiar hissing sound and the bottle becomes more flexible. This is because sodas are stored under a few atmospheres of pressure to help keep them carbonated or “fizzy”.

fish

That’s only one example of pressure though. Now, consider water weighs a lot more than air. The amount of pressure that most animals in the ocean have to live with is a lot greater than the amount that surface dwellers have to live with. At a depth of only thirty-three feet, the surrounding water pressure is now two atmospheres or double the amount of air pressure at the surface. At this depth there is no need to worry about the pressure being strong enough to do any physical harm but for fish that use a swim bladder, which is a gas filled organ used to maintain buoyancy, the increase in density of their bodies becomes an issue. The deeper you go, the denser you become. The denser you become, the faster you will sink without being able to stop it. Luckily most fish have the ability to deal with this issue before a problem occurs, but for others like the chambered nautilus, maintaining the right depth is crucial for survival. The nautilus uses chambers of gas inside its hard shell and water exchange for buoyancy so unlike many fish, it cannot raise or lower its buoyancy level very quickly if need be.
To witness how pressure exists all around us you can do an experiment for yourself. Try cracking an egg under water and notice how the surrounding water pressure keeps the egg round instead of it falling apart.

WELCOME TO THE SEA CAMPER BLOG

We would like to thank you for visiting our blog. Catalina Sea Camp is a hands-on marine science program with an emphasis on ocean exploration. Our classes and activities are designed to inspire students toward future success in their academic and personal pursuits. This blog is intended to provide you with up-to-date news and information about our camp programs, as well as current science and ocean happenings. This blog has been created by our staff who have at minimum a Bachelors Degree in Marine Science or related subject. We encourage you to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, and Vine to see even more of our interesting science and ocean information. Feel free to leave comments, questions, or share our blog with others. Please visit www.catalinaseacamp.org for additional information. Happy Reading!

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