Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Classroom at Sea

One of the best parts about living in Southern California, is all the exposure my kids have to the ocean. We have so many opportunities to learn about ocean animals and their habitats. They are truly one of God's most fascinating creations if you ask my family. Today my daughter said "out of all the things God created...besides my family...this (the ocean & its creatures) is my favorite."

Today we moved from their classrooms out to the high sea, and spent the day on a whale watching cruise. I haven't been whale watching since I was a little girl...and I honestly don't remember much about the experience. Maybe that is why I have waited so long to take my own kids...I wanted it to be something they remembered.

It was truly amazing! I will never look out across the ocean the same again. It is unbelievable to realize all of the creatures that are just outside our little world.

The first animals we saw were California Sea Lions.

They are so cute. We actually saw quite a few of them in the water, but those guys are fast! They pop up and disappear before my camera ever had a chance to catch them!

We were supposed to see Gray Whales migrating to Alaska, but unfortunately we did not see any. I'm not surprised. Apparently Alaskan whales do not care for my family. We took two boat tours in Alaska last year and didn't see a single whale. Not one. We met a lovely family at our hotel who saw multiple whales and...the most painful to hear...multiple pods of Orcas. Not fair!

We did however, see a Fin Whale today (sometimes called a Finback Whale or Razorback). It is called a Fin Whale because it has a dorsal fin on its back just like a dolphin.

It is a baleen whale so it does not have teeth and only eats tiny creatures like krill. Although it eats such tiny food, it is the second largest living animal after the Blue Whale. They are now an endangered species with less than 3,000 of them found in the world. They are also really fast swimmers and are sometimes referred to as the Greyhounds of the Sea.

It was really an amazing experience to see this beautiful creature so closely. We got to see her several times, which definitely made up for not seeing any Gray Whales!

My favorite part of the trip was when we went through a massive pod of Common Dolphins. I have never seen anything like it! I knew there were super pods of dolphins with thousands of dolphins living together, but I couldn't even begin to comprehend that until today. We must have seen over 100 dolphins all in one place! It was unreal. I can't even begin to express how beautiful it was!

My camera really did not want to cooperate with me today. It was very frustrating! Until today I have only had this problem of the lens freaking out on the Alaskan cruise...but today it was much warmer, and my lens freaked out again. Uugh! I think my camera must have a case of seasickness. Is that possible? I had some great video, but my computer just doesn't want me to share. Electronics and I are just not getting along today!

Despite my ridiculously temperamental camera, I was able to catch a few dolphins that were closer to the shore.

These weren't a part of the massive pod, but they sure make a beautiful picture!

It was an amazing day...one I'm sure we won't ever forget. You can't say that about every day at school...

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I absolutely love to get comments! Drop me a note and let me hear what you think. Thanks. -Heidi