Tag Archives: Adventure

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.

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.

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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.

Camp = Adventures in Growing up

In the summer of 1987 a lot was going on. Astronomers at University of California discovered the of birth of a galaxy, Stars camp; Stripes brought the America’s Cup back to home to the US, and I was going to Catalina Sea Camp at Toyon Bay. My main ambition to go to camp was to get my junior certification in SCUBA, the rest was trivial in my young mind. Nevertheless, I was pretty apprehensive about the camp experience, let alone being away from my family. Who knew what to expect? I had friends back home, I was already a big fish in a small pond, and now I had to swim in the open waters of meeting new people? Ugh!

Let’s step back to where it all began. In 1985, my father owned an airplane, a Cessena 182 based out of Oceanside, CA and Ross needed a ride to Mexico. Permission slip in hand, and homework in flight, we took Ross Turner, founder of CIMI camp down to the Sea of Cortez to supervise a 7/8th grade school trip in a small town called Bahia de Los Angeles (unfortunately Guided Discoveries no longer offers this program). Arturo, our guide and owner of the Ridley’s and Leatherback Turtle farm Sanctuary took us by the hand for a tour of night snorkeling and daily nearby island tours. The school kids stayed in a large hostel bunk style. Each kid learned the rudimentary means to hoof 5 gallon buckets of sea water from the ocean to the toilets a 100 yards away, gross. Once, a strong girl came up behind a struggling boy and ripped that bucket from his hands, “woman-handling” 5 gallons to the toilet. Ok.

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We explored multiple islands with marine ecology and inter-tidal zones, along with night dives right off our porch. That particular night snorkeling adventure, we came across a Tiger Eel and various marine species. Arturo, our guide, shared his turtle sanctuary and turtle hatchlings from would be poachers. For a kid, this was unimaginable. We were inundated with knowledge and inspiration. Of course, I was two years younger, while these kids were in 8th grade. I had a few years of growing up before I was old enough to go to sea camp.

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We returned from that trip with a short flight stop to Toyon Bay on Catalina Island’s famous steep runway. Not for the faint hearted! There we met Jean-Michel Cousteau and his wind turbine boat, the Alcyone. We also met Environmental that was there to re-introduce the Bald Eagle to Catalina Island. What an experience! Shark cages on the Alcyone and baby Bald Eagles flying over Catalina. Several months later we were “channel surfing” as we do at home on the tube. National Geographic on assignment was featured on TV and there was the story of Jean-Michel Cousteau and the Bald Eagles, not to mention Kristy’s bright face with Ross and CIMI camp in tow.  They filmed CIMI camp with kids working their masks and snorkles, and I distinctly remember a beautiful arial shot of Toyon Bay and Catalina Island. After an adventure like this, who could resist going to Sea Camp, right?

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At 12 years old, I could barely fit into the scuba equipment, let alone my wetsuit. I was a small guy with big ambitions. Catalina Sea Camp at Toyon Bay was such a big place for my little body. We were engulfed by a small canyon, filled with roaming Buffalo on the soccer field, along with housing, class buildings, and administration around the campus. The place was buzzing with tons of new exploring. We developed a routine, much like school, but it was fun. Eating, classes, and fun campfire story telling filled the voids. The girls were looking pretty- we had a dance night and made best friends forever. The 4th of July we hiked to the side of the hill to watch the fireworks as far as the eye could see on the mainland. One night there was a campfire with a story of E-ot-tsu. Later on in life I only remember that it became later morphed to that with Harry the Killer whale. My least favorite experience turned out to be the nurse. She was the sweetest person, but she ultimately crushed my dreams. My first try at diving I was totally geared up, and Nurse Rachet stopped me cold feet. I had asthma. Although I had a permission slip from my doctor, it didn’t help and they were not about to take the risk. I was told I could not SCUBA at the camp, but I could be in sailing class. My eyes wet and red, I couldn’t believe it. There was nothing worse that someone tearing away at your dreams, at least from my perspective. But, even the worst experiences turn out to be the best stories. It wasn’t until later at camp I became best friends with her daughter that attended the camp at the same time. Today, we are all still very good friends, even nurse Rachet!

Sea Kayak Adventures

The story below was shared by an Anonymous Camper…we hope you enjoy seeing camp through his eyes.

My instructor smiles and says “are you ready?”  With a nod of my head, my instructor pushes on the back of my kayak, and I glide off shore and on to the ocean.  We are headed for Whites Landing.  I don’t know where it is but since the class I’m in is “Extreme Catalina,” I know its probably pretty far.  Our goal is to kayak to Whites Landing and hike back.  Since the hardest hike I have ever done was a trip with my parents to our local park, this will probably be the most difficult day ever!  

For some, this is just another trip on the ocean, but for me its the first time on the ocean.   Right now the ocean seems so flat and all I can see around me is my friends on kayaks and the ocean.  I can’t even see California.  It’s really easy to feel small out here.  The best part is that this isn’t the only time I get to do this!  I am here on Catalina for three weeks. 

Kayaking is different than anything I have ever done.  I have my own boat!  I have my own paddle and I get to choose where to go.  Our instructor taught us how to paddle and how to wear a life jacket and then just took us out on the ocean.  We spend time looking for dolphins, whales, and even something called a Mola.  My instructor tells me that this is a type of fish called an ocean sunfish and it spends the days deep in the ocean hunting jellyfish.  After it has eaten, it heads to the surface to lay out and warm up.  Birds will even land on them and remove parasites.  Apparently they can get to be as big as a me!  

About halfway there, we see splashes off in the distance and the splashes are heading our way.  My counselor and instructor get really excited and tell us to paddle faster.  My arms are so sore I can’t even imagine going faster until they yell “Dolphins!”  I have never seen them up close and they are so fast.  The first dolphin popped up just off my boat and surprised me.  The second one went under my boat and I swear it looked right at me.  I practically fell out of my boat trying to look at it.  Soon at least a dozen swim by breathing and diving.  It was so cool!  

Hopefully this won’t be the last time I see dolphins this summer and this will not be the last time I come to camp.  It was a moment that I will never forget.  

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Campers try to switch places and sing a song!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

A Poem in honor of Dr. Seuss by Max Veenema

One fish, two fish, here’s to you fish

Every once in awhile comes along a great writer, they are witty, and sharp. Their words couldn’t be brighter.

One of those people, has shaped many a mind.His books are enchanting, and funny, and kind.

Dr. Seuss is his name and today is his day, so follow his words – Go outside! Play! Discovery, innovation, and adventure he implored. Go explore the world and you’ll never get bored.

There are many places to go, many places to be, like on top of a mountain or deep under the sea.

Though he made up lots of things, like Thing One and Thing Two, his words still live on and they are truer than true.

To leave you with a message from this poem, so it’s not misunderstood, I’ll let the rhymer speak for himself when he said “fun is good”.

So Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! You are a constant inspiration. You have shaped all us here beyond your wildest imagination.

Hike Seuss Kayak Seuss Squid Seuss

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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