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.
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.
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 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.
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!