The best day ever

This was our last day in Monterey Bay. So far I hadn’t seen any whales, but today that was going to change. We set out in the morning on a whale watching trip. We had to go pretty far but then I saw a blow and another and another. I cried when I saw the humpbacks, they were so beautiful. They were breaching and blowing and diving right next to the boat. When they dove down their fluke would leave a fluke print on the water. We watched a pod swim and dive, then another pod came by.

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I think by the end we had seen about 50 whales. I saw them lunge twice, then the rest of the time they were diving and slapping their flukes. At the very end of the trip the whales came very close to the boat and sprayed us, then they went under the boat and popped up on the other side. It was so amazing to see these whales up close, to see their fins and flukes to see the spots and bumps on them. I am so glad that we were able to see them.

In the afternoon we went to Natural bridge park and swam, then Mrs. Maris came and we got to talk to her and go tidepooling with her.

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So that was the best day ever, whales, swimming and a friend.

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More California

We swam every day when we were in CA.

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We went to some tourist things like the Kissing statue and Old Town San Diego. We found a festival in Dana Point and saw the Hollywood sign.

kissing

We went to a pier in Santa Barbara and drove onto it. We walked around the pier and got to see pelicans up close and lots of anchovies in the water.

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pelican

We were headed up the coast to our next spot, Monterey Bay. We pitched our tent near the beach and walked on the beach, there were sand dollars everywhere and lots of sea gulls.

On Sunday we met Mrs. Maris from Save the Whales and some friends of her daughter’s at the harbor. The friends had offered to give us a boat ride around the bay. We got on the boat and went past sea lions and when we were out far enough we started looking for sea life.

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We finally spotted a pod of Risso’s dolpins going by, they swam under the boat and came out the other side, it was so beautiful.

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After the boat ride we talked to Mrs. Maris, she gave me the tickets that I had won for the aquarium and we said that we’d see her there later. We went to the pier and saw a sea lion jump into someone’s boat and then jump out again and land in the water. We also saw a sea otter swimming and diving for food. That was such an awesome day.

The next day we went to the Monterey Bay aquarium and had fun looking at the otters, jellies, octopus, fish and more. The touch tank was really cool and I loved all of the whale statues.

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Sponge Bob jellies!

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There was an octopus that had slithered into a jar and so many different kinds of cuttlefish. There were sand dollars, which I had never seen alive, floating back and forth in a tank. Touch tank time, we touched anemones, chitons, mussels, star fish, sea urchins, abalone and more. We spent about 5 hours there and I’m sure we could have spent more. From there we went to a creepy John Steinbeck wax museum, my Mom went there when she was a kid, it was scary. Then we went onto the beach to tidepool, we found anemones and a starfish.

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Another very cool day.

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It’s been a while

Sorry it’s been so long. We had a great trip to California. It was a long drive the first day and we were so glad to get to swim in the river, it was very hot at our campsite.

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When we got to San Diego it was very nice, a cool breeze from the ocean and not too hot. Our first stop was to meet Alex W. in person. I met her through Mr. Cousteau’s Mission 31, I even took a Skype class with Alex, but this was the first time we’d met in person. We met Alex at the Scripps aquarium and she showed us around. Her favorite room was the kelp forest, she was so excited to show me that room. It was a giant glass wall and the kelp looked so cool just floating back and forth.

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The octopus came out and we got to see him move around the tank. Outside at the touch tank Alex showed us how to tickle the anemones, they felt like they were sticking to our fingers.

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After more looking around we left the aquarium and went to La Jolla. We ate lunch and then Alex took us to a cave. We walked down the steps an were inside the cave with the waves splashing in there. There were lots of sea lions outside the cave and they really stank.

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Our next stop was Alex’s lab, Alex is an aquatic chemical ecologist working at the Coastal marine institute laboratory. Alex works with kelp and invertebrates, but not everyone there does. One lady was working with marsh ladybugs and as she was showing us one, it flew off into the room! She said that she loses a lot of bugs that way. Alex showed us the lab, the places where people work on experiments.

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Alex said that working in the lab you have to know about many different things like diving, engineering, plumbing and how to drive a boat. Something to think about.

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We said bye to Alex and headed out to swim. The ocean was really rough and I lost my goggles and lost my breath when the waves tumbled me over and over. I got out for a bit after that scare, but eventually I got back in to swim, I was just more careful to not get sucked out to sea. I also found a lot of kelp and pulled it up onto the beach to look at it. It was pretty cool.

kelp

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Going to California

I won tickets to the Monterey Bay aquarium in the STW’s Vaquita art contest (it was the zentangle picture.) We are leaving on Tuesday for California and I am excited. I am meeting Alex W. and Mrs. Maris from STW. I am going on a boat, to an aquarium, to the beach, to a tide pool, I hope I see some whales or dolphins or anything!

 

I will post some pictures when I get back. 

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Vaquita art

I made these for a contest.

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Here is the essay.

Why the Vaquita should be saved

Why should we care about one species of porpoise? Because if we have the ability to save an animal we should. Unlike other endangered animals the Vaquita has a home, the waters of the Gulf of California. The waters where they live are still there, it’s only the fishermen’s nets that put them in danger. Some animals that are very endangered have no habitat left to support them, the Vaquita still has a home to live in. The Vaquita was once thought to be extinct, the fact that it isn’t should be a wake up call. If someone found a live dinosaur, we would be racing to protect it because it was extinct and we know very little about them. The Vaquita is on its way to extinction, but we can stop this and protect this ‘little cow’ of the sea. There is a fine line to walk between allowing fishermen to have a living and protecting a species that is being harmed by their nets. I’m not sure what the answer to this problem is, but there has to be a better solution than wiping out an entire species of porpoise so that people can make a living. The Vaquitas can’t help themselves, so we need to and that’s why they need to be saved.

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Vaquita day 2014!

I hope to have something in Denver for next years Viva Vaquita day. But, you can go here to find out about what is going on this Saturday (July 12th) in California and other places.

vaquita
(Source)

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Made this at the library

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Review

I read The Extreme Life of the Sea by Stephen and Anthony Palumbi.

Book Cover

If you would like to read about ocean life that lives in the deepest parts of the ocean, the coldest and hottest parts of the ocean and learn about ocean creatures large and small, then read this book. I liked reading about bowhead whales, they can live longer than we thought. Imagine a whale that has seen canoes and rowboats, then sees battleships and submarines. I wonder what the whale would say about living so long, do they like it? What changes in 100 years, 150 years, 200 years? A lot! I loved the color photos in the book, even of things that were not whales. There were some scary things like blind zombie worms on a whale fall, it’s what they do that scares me, tendrils that drill into the whale bone. Sometimes tiny can be scary, but big things can be scary too; like the giant isopod (think a 20 pound doodle bug), the colossal squid and whale sharks (I put that one in, I just watched an IMAX movie with them in it.) There are things in the ocean that live in hot water like the rift shrimp that lives near deep sea vents and things that live in the cold water like: narwhals and sea otters. This book was very interesting and introduced me to sea creatures that I hadn’t known about before, plus some that know and love.

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Ice Whale

Ice whale by Jean Craighead George

Recently, I heard a interview on NPR with Mrs. George’s son and daughter. They were talking about their mother’s last book. When I heard ‘bowhead whale’, I perked up my ears. When I heard that her son was a marine biologist and bowhead expert, I knew I had to read this book.

book
(Source)

What do Inupiat, Yup’ik and Yankee whalers have in common? A bowhead whale that lives for 200 years, surpassing the generations who try to hurt him and protect him. The book starts off with the encounter of a boy, Toozack, and a whale, Siku. Toozack was kayaking and saw the ice whale being born. Some Yankee whalers come up to him and they get him to tell them where the whales are. The whalers start killing the whales and since he had led them to the whaling ground, Toozack was cursed. He was charged with protecting the ice whale and the ice whale with protecting him. Since bowhead whales can live for 100-200 years, Toozack had to name his son Toozack and charge him with protecting the whale. At the same time, the whalers were also having generations born and passing down whaling secrets to their children. The ice whale, Siku, is given a voice in the book by translating whale sounds heard over the hydrophones into lines and squiggles in the book.

What I loved about this book – the bowhead Siku has a voice, by translating the lines from an electronic device, Jean George gives the whale a voice, personality and brings the reader closer to the action. I liked how the book switched back and forth from hunting the whales to protecting them, to the whale protecting the humans. I think this book is a good read for anyone who likes whales or has read other books by Jean George.

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Going live

Here is a link to my fundraiser for a trip to CA to see STW and Alex at San Diego SU.

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