26 Miles Across The Sea – My Catalina Experience

September 23, 2018, students at both Harvest and Redwood Middle School went, as the song goes,  26 miles across the sea to the beautiful and famous Santa Catalina Island. The trip was long and extensive but a huge growing experience in many ways for each student.
“Redvest”, as Mr. E (one of the Redwood teacher chaperones) called the two groups, had another great experience on the ride there staying the night on the famous ship, The Queen Mary. Where students awaited a knock from one of the haunted ghosts! They took a boat over to the long-awaited Catalina Island Marine Institute, entering the Fox Landing campsite. There is where the sea creatures roam and students make memories!


Monterey Bay Aquarium

Catalina Island is home to many oceanic sea creatures. When swimming in the ocean you can find both the juvenile and adult state fish; the Garibaldi fish. You can also find sea life such as, Blacksmiths, Halfmoon fish, Opaleye fish (known for the spot on their back that looks like another eye), Barracudas, Spiny Lobsters, California Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Dolphins, and Bat Rays are amongst the many here on Catalina Island. Students participated in many rigorous activities like Kayaking, Snorkeling, Ropes Course and Hiking along with other exhilarating activities. 

Both Harvest and Redwood learning about mammals in the ocean!

My experience during this whole trip was a roller coaster ride. As the trip started out, I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. It was the old case of homesickness. The first 2 days of the trip, were very hard. As we took the boat over to the Island, I started feeling the slight bit of excitement of the trip. As we arrived on the Island in Camp Fox Landing, we immediately jumped into an activity; I started with Kayaking and that ended up being my favorite activity throughout the whole trip because of the freeness and along with working hard and learning how to paddle and just all around fun. Snorkeling, at first, was difficult and took my breath away both metaphorically and literally. After the first day snorkel, we did the night snorkel and that was truly beautiful and mesmerizing seeing the glow in the dark sea plankton and lobster, octopus and so many little fish. Learning about most of the sea creatures in the ocean was educational and enjoyable. The second to last day, we took a day trip to one of the other coves beaches but before we could enjoy the freeness on the beach, we had to kayak one or two miles there and back (took us maybe 1 hour) of so much core and arm strength. I had a supportive partner and we pushed each other every step of the way chanting “ R, L or Right, Left!”. Which was a needed strategy to paddle us in the right direction. Every moment of the trip I learned something new and I cherished every moment. I made mental notes of every activity to recount to my parents after the trip. This trip was a learning and bonding experience for all the students. I personally gained a sense of bravery and being adventurous.