Longboat Explorers science camp

Chrissy McLeanAll, Youth Programs

This week was the first ever Longboat Explorers camp! This 4 day camp was a combined program with Port Townsend Marine Science Center.  Students spent the first day at the Marine Science Center learning to use science equipment and setting up a sampling plan for their days on the water. They then spent two days on the longboat Bear collecting physical and biological oceanography samples. The final day was spent at the Marine Science Center review their data and sharing conclusions.

Day one on the longboats consisted of selecting sample sites for both deep and shallow water and then determining cross bearings to navigate to those sites. Campers also had to learn how to safely row and operate the boat. We tested samples for temperature, salinity, turbidity, and pH.

Day two was our all day excursion to Rat Island. The wind was PERFECT for the longboat and we sailed all the way from Point Hudson to Rat Island. Sailing on a longboat was a really great platform for collecting our biological data. We all took turns pointing out flocks of birds and marine mammals and then students recorded and tallied their data. There were so many animals! We saw: rhinocerous auklets, common murres, hundreds of glaucus-winged gulls, black oystercatchers, pelagic and Brandt’s cormorants, harlequin ducks, harbor seals, and a harbor porpoise!

After a short lunch on Rat Island, we sailed home across the bay and took a plankton tow on the way. We made it back to Point Hudson and rowed and sang our way in.

At the end of the day we were all smiles and sunny faces. It was a great combination of adventure, community, fun, and science!