Walker’s Oceanography Trip – 2011

Friday Walker had his trip to San Diego, CA with Oceanography Club. He was buzzing with excitement all week and the night before he couldn’t hardly sleep! 😛

Jared and I both got to chaperon this trip..it was so much better doing it together than if we went alone. It’s nice to have a buddy to hang out with. 🙂 My only regret was that I injured my right foot pretty bad just after Christmas and it is still really painful. I tried to grin and bare it but I had a pretty rough time of it. But…the show must go on!

We left the school at 3:45pm right after the kids got out…Walker is anxious to get on the road! 🙂
It didn’t take too long and then we were off! The touring company was called ‘Project Exploration’ and we had our own guide, Autumn, who was amazing!! She kept the kids entertained with different activities throughout the entire trip. It really helped the time fly by!!

We stopped in Yuma for dinner around 7pm and got to the Mission Valley Hotel around 11pm CA time. We knew the next day was going to be jam packed so we tried to get to bed as soon as we could.

We started Saturday out by having breakfast at Denny’s. 🙂

This was also the first time Walker got to be totally in charge of himself. Even though Jared and I were there as chaperons.. that’s all we were. We gave him envelopes for each day with money for breakfast, lunch, dinner and souvenirs but it was up to him to budget how he was going to spend it. He chose what to eat without mom and dad guiding him to healthier choices, and he had to make sure he had everything he needed for each and every day..no reminders from us. I think it was harder for me than for him. I’d catch myself about to say something and I’d have to zip my lip! LOL!
And you know what? He did FANTASTIC!! There were times he wanted to buy more food than he had money for, but made choices so he wouldn’t overspend. He wanted several souvenirs however, he realized if he got them all, he would end up using all of his food money. So he chose only a few things. ( We did have 2 kids in our group spend ALL of their food money on the last day to buy toys and had to call home to tell their parents what happened…not a fun phone call!)

He made sure he had his jacket, money, camera, etc without promptings from us. I was SO proud of him!!! It really helped me to see that he’s becoming a very responsible young man! 😀

So…after breakfast we headed to the harbor to take our whale watching tour. This was our favorite part of the trip!
We gathered around to meet our sea tour guide Jaime. (He’s the guy in the cap.) He was really great!

After he gave us our instructions it was time to head down to the docks. Jared and some of the other chaperons trying to usher the kids in the right direction. 🙂

This was our vessel! 🙂

Once on the boat, the kids were all twittering with excitement!!

My handsome guys!

Look..I was there too. 😛 lol!
Jaime gathered the kiddos around to explain the safety rules real quick and then we were sailing the ocean blue! 🙂

I had some time so I took a few pics of the boat. 🙂

The kids walked around and checked out the boat too. It takes a while to get out to the open ocean.

Jaime gathered everyone around to help throw out a net to drag the ocean to see what kinds of creatures live down there. This was pretty cool!

Walker and Jared listening like good students. 😛

Our AMAZING tour guide Autumn. 😀

The kids helped pull the net back up. It was hard work! Then they gathered around to see what they caught.

Mmmm..Shrimp! 😛

Lizard Fish.

Fan Fish.

Brenna kissing the Fan Fish!! Ewwww!! 😛

Herring…aka Fantail Sole.

A beautiful view. 😛

A California Halibut.

A Round Sting Ray.

A Californian Spiny Lobster.

A Sea Sponge.

A Sea Star. We were informed that they are NOT to be called Star Fish because they aren’t fish. They are called Sea Stars…now you know too! 😛

There was also an octopus which thankfully Walker was able to get a picture of. The boat was rockin and rollin on the water and with my bad foot I had to sit down, or fall on my face trying to take the picture. I chose to sit down. 😛 LOL!

After the kids finished identifying all the sea life we headed out even further, to open waters. Then what did our little eyes spy……..
That’s right my friends…We saw a Gray Whale!! 😀 It was sooooo cool!!!

When I was in the 6th grade I was in the Oceanography Club and we didn’t see a whale on our trip. It was sad. So this was a special treat for everyone! 😀

Look close at the pic below. You don’t see the whale above the water but you can see how the water looks different and sorta smooth. That’s where she is under the water. 🙂

Everyone was aflutter! It was such an awe inspiring sight!

There she blows! 😀

You forget as you drive kids to school, run to the grocery store, go to work, pack lunches, and make play dates, that there is this whole other place on Earth where fascinating animals live in their completely different world down below. It’s mind blowing…

We said good-bye to our new friend and took our tour bus over to Sea World! We watched the Believe Show.

Hey we saw your friend just a minute ago! LOL!

After the show we grabbed some lunch at Shipwreck Reef Cafe’. Walker loved having his own camera and started testing out his artistic ability with capturing this picture of crates. 🙂

Once lunch was over it was time to get some sightseeing done! First up was the Sea Star exhibit.

Walker took this cool picture of Sea Anemones.

And the bizzarre Wolf Eel. It looks like a some sort of alien turtle face…

Group picture!!

We pretty much saw every possible thing in the park. My foot was NOT happy about this!

The kids had a great time though!

Unfortunately my little camera died before the end of the day so we had to take the rest of the trip’s pictures with Jared’s cell phone which doesn’t take very good night shots. 🙁

That night we had a buffet dinner on the docks, and got to go down to the beach where there was a bon fire, s’mores and some crazy real life stories about sharks told by a Sea Captain!

On Sunday we got to go back to the beach for some dry beach time to do a scavenger hunt and take some group photos in the gorgeous weather! 😀

The teachers from left to right: Mrs. Barris (5th grade), Ms. Simmons (2nd grade), Mrs. Drews (2nd grade), and Mrs. Moore (principal).

The Oceanogrphy Club Students!

Me and my boy!

Aren’t we cute?! 🙂

Our next destination was Birch Aquarium.

My feeble attempt trying to keep my foot up…sooo sore…

After the Aquarium we went to Sea Port Village for lunch and then headed back to AZ. On our way home Autumn gave the kids and parents (if they wished) an assingment to come up with a song about our trip. It was called “Oceanography American Idol”. They had some of the parents be the judges. They chose Mrs. Kotra as ‘Randy’, Mr. Scudellari as ‘Paula’, and Mr. Stewart as ‘Simon’.

The kids broke off into groups of their choosing and wrote lyrics to their songs. I sneakily talked Jared into writing/performing one of his own and it was a SMASH HIT!

Walker and his group did a GREAT job too! 🙂 Such a talented family I have! 😛

We got back to the school at about 9:30pm Sunday night. We were all pretty tired but it was a trip to remember! It was pretty cool that we all got to go together. Walker really showed us what an accountable and trustworthy guy he is. As a mom I couldn’t be more impressed and proud!! 😀


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