As a way to create an audience for their work, recently the grade 9 classes have begun blogging. As part of this process, students were asked to recount an experience they had during their week long adventure at Bamfield Marine Centre on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Here are some samples of their work along with their blog address.
Students love when people visit their blog (we are keeping a class tally for the blogs with the most posts). Please visit their site and feel free to leave a comment.
Day 1: Sunday, September 9th
Bamfield was a fun, stressful, and a little bit scary trip. It started off like every other trip with packing and organizing all the gear, but then began the stressful part. You need to make sure you have everything, and as I later learned make sure your rain boots don’t have holes in them. I won’t go into to much detail about getting there, because that was not much fun. Flying with 100 caffeine filled grade nines was a little bit of a scary plane ride. Actually quite short, we were then off the plane and onto the bus where the long ride began. Much like other trips at CSS the bus ride was long, tiring, and full of movies. It was only the last part of the buss ride that was different; a dust covered logging road. Now I thought it was going to be 10 to 20 minutes. Nope. It was one and a half hours of long winding dusty road. As the sun slipped behind the trees, the outside became pitch black, and we all became tired being bounced around on the “road that never ends” as Mr. H called it. Tired hungry and a little bit mad, we sang the song “if you ever asked how much longer.” FINALLY we made it to Bamfield, although you couldn’t see anything, as it was blacker then black itself. The next step was dragging our bags up a small mountain, a rocky hill and 3 flights of stairs to our dorm.
From the crusted cracking dirt road to a lush moist path of slick stumps and roots. Bamfield has the wide spread diversity of Canada. Prodigious slates of rock watch over Bamfield from across the inlet meeting tree-covered hills rolling across the horizon making up in my mind the most impressive views Bamfield can offer. However, the Bamfield rain forests captivated my attention with its range of diversity in plant and animal species. The Rain forests of Bamfield are the homestead of trees that have prospered for over 500 years in their constant battle for space and light. The pure majestic beauty, smell, and vibes cannot be captured through words. No camera could signify the sensation you felt during our voyage, the peacefulness, success, and prosperity resonated through every leaf, branch, and tree soothing me, slowing my breathing. The distant sent of the sea was very evident throughout the trek seeping through the trees like water flowing through a filter. Rays of light endlessly glimmer down, fighting to reach the moss-carpeted ground that softens my every footstep. Every element of this complex ecosystem builds to me a little piece of paradise. The pathway wound through the trees touring through a new world of life seeming to continue for an eternity. Eventually, the pathway broke from the trees realms onto a rocky beach covered in the tides rotting remains, the smell of salt overwhelming my senses as the waves sprayed mist up into the air as though spiting on me, showing its dominance. Not a power to be reckoned with.
On the fourth day in Bamfield, I was exhilarated because our group would get to finally go on a miniature vessel called the Alta D. Our group was going after lunch, and the whole morning I was exceedingly jittery and couldn’t focus at all. Right after lunch, I briskly sprinted out the doors to swiftly put on my rain pants, and fidgeted while waiting for my group to finish their lunch. My group had all lined up and we schlepped our backpacks towards the docks. Buckling up my scarlet coloured life jacket, a saline odor swept up through my nose, calming me down. I had to stop myself from darting down the ramp because I was thrilled. Strolling in a calm manner, I reached the Alta D and went aboard; the last to enter. A narrow strap attached to a pouch hung limply around my neck, holding a rectangular device that created a scrapbook of memories that I could reminisce later. The boat rocked a bit, and we had embarked on an experience of a lifetime.
Sea spray gently slapped my face as the boat lurched into full speed. Our first destination was an island with numerous sea lions. Within 50 meters of the barnacle-encrusted shoreline, cries that sounded like dogs filled my ears. The source of the boisterous hubbub was sleek rolls of blubber that lay on jagged boulders; California sea lions. The Alta D cruised around the island, which was bursting with rambunctious California sea lions. Eventually, we finished gaping at the exuberant beasts and started to head back, collecting sea creatures along the way with a dredge. Miles away from Bamfield inlet, the captain of the ship reeled in the dredge, which was brimming with sea creatures. Everyone impatiently waited for the captain to empty the dredge out so we could handle all of the marvelous creatures. Sea cucumbers, sea stars, sea urchins, and snail shells dispersed into an enormous tray full of seawater. Mesmerized looks covered everyone’s faces as everyone felt every animal, snapping photos to remember this day. After fifteen minutes of handling the creatures, it was time to let them go. I released a gorgeous Rose star, watching intently as it plopped into the sea. Moments later, the Alta D was moored at the docks, and we all hopped out of the boat. Being on the Alta D was an experience I would never forget.
I stood on the Alta, waves hitting the boat with a slap. Wind rushed though my thick sweater, cooling me. The boat vibrated trying to keep going against the massive waves. The smell of salt lingered around me. The boat plunged into an enormous wave. Water went over the top of the small boat, soaking me. My body started to shake desperately, trying to warm me up. My lungs filled with the humid air. I twisted my head so that I looked out on the rolling sapphire water. I could now see the rocky edges of the uneven shore. As we entered a bay, something suddenly caught my eye. It was a Sea lion. Looking further revealed more than two-dozen of this strange blubbery creatures. Their barks and roars filled my ears. Most of the sea lions lay at the bottom of the rocks but the few at the tops looked regal and in control. I yearned to see them closer, but the boat was taking us as close as it could. For several more moments I stood entrapped by the majestic animals in front of me. But soon the boat lurched into the open ocean, leaving the sea lions behind.
A spray of salt splashed over my face, the tang of the ocean filling my nose. My eyes instinctively closed, enjoying the sensation of an ocean-drenched face. The view that my eyes opened to seemed unreal. The massive sheet of translucent gray tinged with blue stretched far out ahead of me, with lush islands dotting the immense expanse of vastness. The chatter behind me had died down as everyone took a long, admiring intake of salty air; apparently I wasn’t the only one who appreciated the sight that was pasted in front of me. The surface my plaid rubber boots were standing upon was vibrating from the speed that we were travelling. My hands, which were once drenched, were now sprinkled with teardrops the ocean had left behind. An undaunted gust of wind carelessly lifted my dark and matted hair. Jagged black rocks that were glistening with seawater caught my view from the corner of my eye. As my gaze adjusted to this scene, I could see masses of sea lions that were strewn across gleaming, razor sharp rocks. A smile formed on my lips as my eyes were laid in front of a feast of beauty. The Alta D halted around twenty feet away from the habitat of these regal animals. They were living a paradise of their own; an immense palace of ocean and rocks. The nearest sea lion was splashing in the water; perhaps catching an early lunch of flickering fish that were swimming rapidly beneath the unfathomable surface. The engine of the boat lurched me from my thoughts, and my mind was left to ponder over the picturesque sight that was just in front of me.
Vibrant orange fabric covers my shoulders and is draped down my torso, creating a vest-like shape. The firm styrofoam that’s stuffed inside the fabric performs as a protector from the calm ripples below. I squeeze the pebbles tightly in my hand, so none of them will fall. My shoulders and stomach already hurt from my flotation device that is awkwardly placed in between the dock and me. I grip the edge of the cold, moist dock with my free hand as I look down the line of students. They are all in the same position; lying down with their backs facing the bleached constellations above. ‘On the count of three, we’ll drop the rocks.’ This booming voice seams to come out of nowhere. Whispers of excitements are carried in the wind. The same voice calls out again. ‘Everyone ready?’ Nudging Melanie who’s lying beside me, we quickly exchange smiles. We’re ready. ‘One.’ The exciting chatter slowly fades. ‘Two.’ Now there is silence. ‘Three.’ I release the pebbles one by one. Thousands of bright, luminescence turquoise specks are pushed out of the way, attempting to dodge the falling rocks. The splashing of hand disturbs the calm Pacific Ocean, everyone’s trying to touch the glowing wonders floating under the water’s surface.
‘Excitement sparked through my veins like electricity, energizing me as Mr. Hoyt-Hallet led us down the winding dirt trail. Tall trees and shrubs loomed over us with moonlight dappling through the trees. My rasping breath was loud in my throat as we navigated down the metal ramp. The night sky was a black abyss, white stars sparkling across it like paint splatters on a canvas. My lungs expanded as I drank in the cool and tangy sea air. After what seemed like forever, we finally placed our feet on the wooden dock that rocked gently on the midnight blue glass like surface.
Before long we were instructed to move in our bulky, neon orange life vests down the unsteady gang walk, and to lie face down on the damp wooden surface. An odd instruction I thought, wondering how this was relevant. But I placed foot after foot in a careful stride to the end of the dock, my stomach a nervous ball of excitement. I folded my legs until I was lying on the dock, and my clothing slowly grew damp with left over seawater. My gaze moved from my similar-positioned peers and to the dark depths, and my eyelids widened at the sparkling fla
shes of light that danced in the water. They moved rapidly, too fast for the human eye to follow. The light mirrored the stars in intensity as they flared and gleamed in the darkness.
As all flashlights and lamps switched off, the dark of the night quickly engulfed my classmates who were lying on their bellies on the side of the damp dock. The water sparkled with miniscule plankton, letting the water bounce them up and down. My hand swayed through the water, watching the glowing plankton glow even brighter wherever my hand swished. I look back to the other side of the dock and spotted some classmates yanking a large rope, which slipped out of the water and little dimly lit bits attached themselves to the long rope. I suddenly heard a large thumping sound thatshook the dock a bit, feeling like a miniature earthquake. I tried to find the source, searching through the darkness to find Mr. Hoyt-Hallett jumping up and down on the unstable dock, causing ripples to tear through the water. The little plankton in the perimeter began to have spasms as every single ripple collided with the plankton. The process continued and a large area around the dock was lighting up like a light bulb. As he stopped stomping on the robust wood, darkness quickly swallowed us again. As I stared blankly at the luminescent specs, it started to become a bit monotonous. I decided to take a break and turned myself onto my back and stared at the dark void above, filled with the clear and bright stars and planets, both near and distant.
Discovering bioluminescence, participating in the whale labs and the exciting boat trip on the Alta, made this experience by far my most memorable CSS trip. However, the one memory that really stood out to me was our final activity at Brady’s Beach.
During our time there, this was the only occasion in which all 100 of us participated in the same activity together. The walk on the rocky path was long and dragged on as all we had to look at was trees and dirt. However, as soon as we passed the clearing, my eyes were amazed. The sand was a clean, beige color, sparkling in the sunlight. The water rippled through the shore, which left the sand a dark muddy color. It was a glistening hot day, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Around me, my peers’ voices were filled with excitement and joy. The first thing we did was take a grade picture; a memory of Bamfield. After this, we were given thirty minutes of free time. I spent this time walking around the beach, taking pictures and splashing a few people with water. If you ask me, it was time well spent. After our thirty minutes were up, we got into groups of four, and examined the biodiversity of a specific tidal pool. It didn’t take us long to find the perfect tide pool. There were an endless amount of anemones, with little fish swimming around, crabs and feather duster worms. There was everything! Well, not quite, but enough to entertain the mind of this city girl. As we examined this lively heart-shaped pool, the perfect presentation idea came to our minds. A rap! Heidi, Olivia, Beth and I had the most exciting time creating this rap, and we were eager to present it. Overall, I had a wonderful time at Brady’s Beach, it was a great way to end our Bamfield experience.