A group of nine Bentley high school students recently participated in a trip-of-a-lifetime when they traveled to Victoria, BC to get a first-hand look as marine biology up close with activities that included scuba diving and snorkeling and they also had the opportunity to enjoy plenty of kayaking and hiking as well.
Joined by teacher Miss Christine Wu and parent-chaperones Rob Sanders and Shellain Anderson, the students left on Friday, April 10 on their eight-day adventure.
As part of a school program, the students, who included Sarai Dempsey, Duncan Henry, Natawni Codd, Jenna Seater, Colin Sanders, Dean Sanders, Randy Koetke, Callista Anderson and Zach Dempsey, began preparing for the trip last October when they enrolled in the school’s Marine Biology program.
“The preparations included spending many hours studying and working hard on various lessons designed to broaden their knowledge of marine life, their habitats and ecosystems,” Wu said. “As a part of the program, the students also took part in PADI scuba diving lessons that led to certification at the end of the course.”
While in Victoria, the students participated in many dives at different locations on Vancouver Island including Ogden Point, Spring Bay and the Saanich Inlet where they observed many species of star fish, shrimp, anemones and kelp found in the area as well as a wide variety of other fish.
As an added bonus, the students also completed wreck dives to the GB Church, a marine vessel that was purposely sunk in the early 1990’s by the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia (ARSBC) to provide a new habitat for ocean life. In addition to the GB Church, the ARSBC has since sunk seven other ships along with a Boeing 737 jet.
The students didn’t spend their entire time underwater however as they also hiked the Juan de Fuca Trail to observe vegetation and trees in the boreal forest. At the end of trail, they were graced with the chance to check out some sea lion caverns.
In addition, the students also observed tide pools at Botanical Beach and tested skimboards at Sombrio Point before rounding out the trip with a group kayaking trip at
Goldstream Provincial Park where they enjoyed a leisurely paddle to observe birds and caught glimpses of a seal and a sea lion, which were playing in the area.
“The students enjoyed the trip thoroughly and appreciated the opportunity to immerse themselves in the marine world,” Wu said. “For some, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and for others, who knows? Perhaps, they’ll find a career in marine biology!”