Sunday, May 13, 2007

The West Coast Trip

The grade nine students in my son's school were all given the option of a trip to the coast to take part in "School at Sea" aboard the Edgewater Fortune, a converted Canadian military minesweeper. Pre-work included weekly meetings and four months of preparation and study on West Coast history, navigation and biodiversity. My son and his two best buddies chose to go. As roommates, they shared the smallest cabin on the lowest deck and forged the biggest memories.

The took a 12 hour bus ride out and back. After arrival, they boarded the boat and motored around the Georgia Strait among the Gulf Islands, stopping to do shore studies on Salt Spring Island and visiting island towns like Ganges. Each night the boat would anchor and they all slept on board, lulled to sleep by the cry of gulls and the slapping of water against the hull.

They learned navigational skills, crewed the boat (each had a specific duty - his was launching the punt boats), completed scientific shore studies, observed wildlife, went fishing, trapped crabs, dug clams and hung out together onboard playing cards and having a good time. They were required to keep a daily log of activities and memories. He took some pretty good photos which I've placed in the slide show below.

His favorite day was the beach cookout. They cooked the crabs, split them in half and let each student figure out how to enjoy the delicious crab meat. Then they finished it off around the campfire by making S'mores.

A great way to connect with nature, your classmates and your best friends - it was the trip of a lifetime.

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