Yearly Archives: 2018

Toyon Bay Safari Animals

If you are slightly familiar with Catalina Sea Camp, you have most likely heard of our friendly neighborhood bison. But there are so many other species of animals that call Toyon Bay home. Every week, we welcome circa 200 campers to invade the bay and to have one of the best weeks of their summer. I wanted to take a look at the more permanent residents of the bay.

 

BISON

Bison Bison

The bison is not native to Catalina Island. In 1924, a filming company decided to take advantage of the beauty of Catalina Island to film the movie “The Vanishing American” there. Then someone on the crew decided that they simply must have bison there in order to enhance the movie. They paid to have these bison shipped over to the island, they filmed the movie, and then they shipped off—without the bison. Now, this massive animal has made the island its home, and sometimes makes trips down to camp to say hello.

animals

Photograph by: Ashley Hann

SEA STAR

Asteroidea

My only encounter with sea stars had been watching the talkative one in Finding Nemo. Then one day, I joined a group of campers on a snorkel, and our instructor dove down and found one. I watched, just as fascinated and intrigued as the 10 and 11 year olds, as our instructor showed us the creature. She later told me that she was worried about the stress level of the sea star, which when risen, can cause their limbs to fall off. A common party trick for sea stars and other aquatic creatures, this defense mechanism can occur without killing the sea star due to its regenerative nature.

animals sea star

SEA LIONS

Zalophus californianus

We’ve seen them on scuba diving trips, kayaking trips, blue water boat trips, around our float during the evening hours, and even on our beach a time or two. These babies can grow up to 800 pounds, but can cruise through the water at up to 25 miles per hour. If you have never seen one of these creatures move through the water, go to YouTube and spend some time researching. It’s nothing short of magic.

animals sea lion

Photograph by: Ashley Hann

LEOPARD SHARKS

Triakis semifasciata

So my boss told me that we would probably see sharks my first time snorkeling here in the bay (also my first time snorkeling ever). As prepared as she made me to face these lurking masses, I still had to force myself to breathe normally when I first saw its shadow about six feet away from me. Since then, I have probably seen a hundred of these guys, and I am now proud to say that I have touched one (in a closely monitored touch tank here in camp, but still). In reality, these sharks are fairly harmless. They are bottom feeders, so their mouths are towards the bottom of the sea floor; meaning bites to humans are difficult and thus uncommon.

animals shark

Photograph by: Gretchen Beehler

GARIBALDI

Hypsypops rubicundus

These bright orange little fish are all over our bay. They’re territorial little buggers, but they also make for a beautiful pop of color. Garibaldis are protected in California because they are the state marine fish. Some people say these fish can be trained to do a back flip, but I have only ever heard of one specific garibaldi that can do it.

 

animals garibaldi

Photograph by: Ashley Hann

FOXES

Urocyon littoralis catalinae

One of the first nights here I saw a stray cat near me. Nostalgic for my cat at home, I beckoned for it to come close to me and love me. After attempting and failing for longer than I care to admit, the creature ran away, and I realized that the animal I was trying to snuggle was a wild fox. The Catalina Island Fox is threatened specie of fox. It is registered with the Conservancy program on the island, which has been working since 2004 to bring population levels back up to normalcy. In 2004, there were just over 300 foxes on the island. As of 2017, over 2,000 foxes have been reported. Despite the work done and the accomplishments of the initiative, this fox remains threatened, and efforts will not cease.

Joel Sartore, a National Geographic award winning photographer featured the Catalina Island Fox in his photo project on endangered species, entitled the Photo Ark. Check it out here!
https://www.joelsartore.com/keyword/catalina-island-fox/

CASI, WRIGLEY, COCO, AND GOLDIE

Canis lupus familiaris

The most dangerous animals on the island—rock-fetching retrievers. These four pooches belong to our longstanding admin in the bay. You can follow Casi’s life here on her very own Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/casi_at_cimi/). All four of them have a very stressful life of unlimited affection and belly rubs, wide-open spaces to frolic and play, and all the rocks to fetch in the ocean that they could ever want. There are no signs that these animals will become endangered anytime soon, but I’ll keep you updated.

These are only a few of the most common fauna here in Toyon Bay, and I, for one, look forward to many more run-ins with these incredible animals.

SOURCES:

https://www.catalinaconservancy.org/index.php?s=wildlife&p=recovery_of_the_catalina_island_fox

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/c/california-sea-lion/?beta=true

Now For the Americans

So, yes, we have a lot of staff from around the globe, but we also have staff from all over this country. We have staff from 23 out of the 50 states. That is 46% of the United States that is represented here at Catalina Sea Camp. This can ensure that we have the highest quality staff. After all, competing against candidates from all over the country adds a taste of competition that can only lead to the best staff out there.

Americans

While our largest population comes from California (no surprise there), we also have staff from New York, Texas, Georgia (Go Dawgs!), and so many more. Our farthest staff friend comes all the way from New Hampshire.

Americans 1

The variety of home states is also important to our campers. Every single week we have a team of counselors who pick up campers from the airport, allowing kids from all over the country (and the world) to come to Catalina Sea Camp. Even though being thousands of miles away from home can be intimidating as a camper, our staff knows what that feels like and can relate to the campers on an individual level. If you’re one of those lucky campers, look out for Kyle and Hailey, they’ll be meeting you at the airport, and getting you here for the best week or three weeks of your summer!

CCUSA: It’s Camp Counselors USA and We Love It!

Hey SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD it’s me, Dori! I am the social media coordinator at Catalina Sea Camp this summer!

CCUSA Dori

I thought I was going to be the weirdo all the way from the other side of the country. After all, I endured a five-hour plane ride all the way from Atlanta, Georgia, to be here. Then I found out that some people here had a five-hour layover on their 15 HOURS flight across nations and oceans—suddenly Georgia seemed just a hop and a skip away from here.

My slight southern accent fades to irrelevance in the wake of the Australian and New Zealand accents here. Is Catalina Sea Camp just that famous? Is it known all over the Earth? Do people from the far reaches of the planet clamor for the opportunity to work here?

Maybe or maybe not.

Catalina Sea Camp is a sponsor for an organization called CCUSA— Camp Counselors USA. This program works with the US Department of State to facilitate international opportunities for young people to work at camps all over the globe. Catalina Sea camp hosts 6 of these adventurers. Let’s meet these incredible people!

CCUSA GI

Gi

You’ll see her cooking up some shrimp or bicycling her way to ice cream this summer.

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Plans for after camp: Exploring the west coast for two months, making her way to Canada and eventually to Hawaii.

“Most of this stuff here have been firsts for me—this whole environmental and things I’ve been doing. It’s cool to just take it on and go headfirst into it all and know people that are returners, but also knowing that there are new people here too. It’s teamwork on a different level, and everyone offers a hand or does what they can to help.”

CCUSA Sam

 

Sam

Even though he’s an avid surfer outside of camp, he’ll be filling his time with skit performances, crazy costumes, and camp songs this summer instead.

Hometown: Kaiapoi, New Zealand

Plans for after camp: Visiting family in Seattle, traveling the west coast of America. Planning to visit San Francisco because of the city’s aesthetics and film history.

“This place has similar traits to my favorite place in the world—Malborough Sounds. It’s disconnected from the rest of the world.”

Brian

Pursuing his masters in education, Brian is taking the summer off to experience education in a different environment.

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Plans for after camp: Traveling for six weeks through America and Canada, specifically the Grand Canyon and Texas.

“My field is youth, and my friend did a program in Canada, and he loved it. This is my chance to see America and also have a break from university.”

CCUSA Anna

Anna

Working as the surf instructor, Anna gets the chance to shred the gnar with some first time surfers this summer.

Hometown: Tuross Head, Australia

Plans for after camp: To Indiana to visit a friend she met last year at Catalina Sea Camp, and then wherever she wants for the next month.

“I loved it—the island, the people I worked with. I made lots of new friends and did lots of things outside my comfort zone.”

CCUSA Olivia

Olivia

She may be missing whale season to work here, but she’d rather be here, spending time teaching kids about the ocean.

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Plans for after camp: Working on the Great Barrier Reef on Lady Elliot Island

“This place has such good community. We’re one big family. And I have the best boss in the whole world, Jeff.”

CCUSA Ben

Ben

Already having spent two summers here, he was appointed Crew Chief for this third summer at Catalina Sea Camp.

Hometown: Dunedin, New Zealand

Plans for after camp: Traveling the United States and the world

“Being able to be Crew Chief this year has allowed me to be challenged in new ways, that’s why I came back.”

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!

Categories

Archives

Tags