Category Archives: Explore

In the explore section of our blog we literally EXPLORE everything around us diving deeper into what surrounds us by land, sea, and air. We search for answers and adventure all while having the best time at Catalina Sea Camp! If there is a topic you would like us to cover then just leave us a comment on any blog post.

Happy Halloween From Our Fish Family to Yours

Black Eyed GobyThe black eyed goby, often called a ghost goby, is a small Osteichthyes, named for their black eyes which contrast their light beige skin. Reaching only about six or seven inches long as an adult, they eat smaller organisms such as amphipods, mollusks, and crustaceans. They are active during the day, living in sandy areas near rocky intertidal zones, not often below 400 ft. A cool fact about these fish is they are protogynous hermaphrodites! This means that they all start their lives as female, and will eventually change to male. Their reproductive organs are changing!! This happens for many species in the animal kingdom. 

Halloween Dragon Fish

The dragon fish (Grammatostomias flagellibarba) is a deep sea Osteichthyes (bony fish), also called the loose jaw or viper fish. Growing up to two feet in length, with a muscular jaw and extremely large sharp teeth, they can hardly close their mouths. Their jaws are “loose,” meaning it is hydrostatically connected to their skeleton, there is no skin behind the jaw which reduces friction and drag. They feed on small fish, crustaceans, and anything they can find in the dark depths of the ocean. One of the coolest adaptations of these dragon fish is their bioluminescence! They have photophores on their underbody as a form of camouflage. Some of the 287 known species have a lure at the end of their mouths, called a barbel, with photophores covering it to attract prey. They also have specialized red photophores underneath their eyes that act as headlights. The long wavelengths of red light do not have enough energy  to reach far depth in the ocean, so most deep sea creatures do not have the ability to see red light. Therefore these fish have headlights that other creatures cannot see!! They are bandits of the deep sea, with night vision while still invisible to those around them.

Happy Halloween FishLike the Dragon fish, angler fish are a deep sea Osteichthyes, living at least 6600ft below the surface, where light does not reach. They average two to eight inches long, but some species can grow up to forty inches long! Only females have the lure with bioluminescence photophores at the end of it. They use this to attract prey and males. Males are much smaller than females and do not have a lure so they spend their lives wandering the dark abyss until they find a female, and in a survival effort they will bite and latch onto the body of the female. Over time they will fuse to the female, body and blood line, and obtain all their nutrients from the female. The females will have multiple parasitic males on them, therefore having their genetic material at the ready when it is time to reproduce. Females are often red or translucent to blend in with their dark surroundings, their lure is actually a modified dorsal spine with bacteria at the end of it. The symbiotic relationship with this bacteria produces the light. Once a prey gets close enough to it, the female will catch and swallow it whole! They have a large, fast jaw with sharp teeth, allowing them to eat prey twice their size! Scary and awesome!

StonefishThe stonefish is arguable one of the most terrifying Osteichthyes in our world’s oceans because it is the most venomous fish in the world! Quite the creepy halloween creature. Their venom is a defense mechanism. They have dorsal spines with hypodermic needles. If something tries to attack from above, or if something steps on them, it will encounter these spines. Sharp enough to puncture human skin, and deadly enough to kill an adult human these spines are terrifying! The venom is cytolytic, meaning when it is injected into the blood stream it explodes cells and basically dissolves from the inside out. As a master of camouflage, they will hide perfectly still in coral or a rocky reef, sitting and waiting for a meal to swim by. Once a small fish swims too close they ambush! Sucking the prey in and swallowing it whole. Quite terrifying…but tis the season!

Goblin SharkLastly, we have the absolutely adorable goblin shark! This Chondrichthyes (cartilagenous fish) lives in deep water, usually 130 to 4000 ft deep. They are purplish grey in color with bright blue around the edges of their fin. Unlike other sharks, goblin sharks do not have a protective eyelid. They average about five ft long, but the larges recorded was over twelve feet long! Their distinguishing extended snout is covered in pores called Ampullae of Lorenzini. These are filled with electroreceptive jelly, which allows sharks to decide pulses in the water, or under the sand, up to about one meter away from them. Goblin sharks are capable of extending their unhinged jaw out as far as their snout to eat organisms such as small bony fish, squid, and crustaceans.

Sources

https://dwazoo.com/animal/blackeye-goby/

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/group/anglerfish/

https://oceana.org/marine-life/ocean-fishes/deep-sea-anglerfish

http://www.seasky.org/deep-sea/dragonfish.html

https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/fish/deep-sea-dragonfish

https://oceana.org/marine-life/ocean-fishes/stonefish

https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/sharks-rays/goblin-shark

Pictures

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https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiazNmM5KHlAhVvmK0KHSNcB_gQjhx6BAgBEAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2Fbriangratwicke%2F3783101610&psig=AOvVaw2vquZl-deimwVTx37Um9PH&ust=1571349743470230

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=&url=https%3A%2F%2Fpixabay.com%2Fphotos%2Fstone-fish-old-quaint-fish-creepy-1295032%2F&psig=AOvVaw1DLvjpaZkbYFnKTlE7ZsRh&ust=1571349854800431

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.”

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.

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.

Communities Who Fort Together, Stay Together!

Put on your silly face and let’s get fort building! Here at CIMI, we’ve constructed some pretty spectacular cardboard castles, and we’d love to have you over! But you can’t build a magic castle without a team of friends and an active imagination…

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Although us CIMI instructors dabble in the art of fort building whenever possible, we also live daily under similar notions that the process of fort building requires. How might this be? Because just like every good fort, it’s inhabitants must work in harmony and use teamwork in order to construct a solid fort foundation. In this way, we must live together in a community environment, much like any good fort inhibitor. In any communal home, whether it be a dormitory or some couch cushions and pillows, groups of people work in teams to cooperate in order to cohabitate and live happily ever after.

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Us Sea Camp instructors live in this fashion, in dorm-style and shared room quarters. We enjoy time hanging together, but alone time is as equally vital. In a communal living situation, it is very important to respect your fellow roomies, and know when it’s time to play and when it’s time to take some moments of silence. Each of us requires different levels of social interaction, so it’s important to be able to read yourself and others when it comes down to living in a shared environment.

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To cohabitate effectively, scheduled chores are as well sometimes necessary. It’s hard to keep track of cleaning shifts with so many people using shared facilities, so what better way than to have your assigned cleaning day! Just like when we were younger, scheduled chores keep us accountable for every day house messes. We also like to throw cleaning parties, where everyone grabs a broom and joins in! We think that the best way to clean is to enjoy ourselves while doing so, and our favorite style is with loud dance music and plenty of mopping moves.

And of course communal living has it’s perks…you have friends around you all the time! Our favorite part about living in a shared community is the company we keep. In our spare time, we enjoy playing team sports, going on epic snorkels, and joking around with one another. Imagine waking up next door to all your friends, it’s just the best! No need to travel far to spend time with one another…look no further than across the hall!

So whether you are building a fort or living in a shared environment, keep in mind the 3 C’s, community, cooperation, and communication! Following these will help you to succeed in any environment, with any fort companion or housemate!

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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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