Sunday, July 5, 2009


The students are hard at work on their On Assignment projects, as well as occasionally speculating on what surprise we (the leaders) have in store for them on the fourth of July-- a barbeque on the beach! Each of the three On Assignment groups has taken a keen interest in their projects, which range from a small underwater census of marine life on a strand of kelp to a report on shark attacks in Monterey.

We spent most of today whale watching and were lucky enough to see two humpback whales breach; they landed in the water with a spectacular splash-- a few photographers even snapped pictures!

Yesterday On Assignment groups broke up to focus on and prepare for the final stretch of our adventure. At the end of the day we reunited and were treated to an engaging discussion with National Geographic expert Tierney Thys, who told us about the remarkable ocean sunfish. Tierney is one of the foremost experts on this bizarre creature, and her presentation was both informative and entertaining. The students were a little starstruck by the experts at first (understandably!), but lately have been quick to ask great questions. We've even seen students go so far as to follow Kip and Tierney out to their cars, asking questions the whole way.

All is well here. We'll be in touch soon!

-The whole crew at National Geographic On Campus at Monterey Bay

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cannery Row and The Deep Sea Super Falcon

Editor's Note: Today, another journalist-in-training, Lucia Lee, takes the reins.

After the dilemma of whether to kayak or snorkle was solved by mother nature (due to low visibility underwater), the students of National Geographic Expeditions set out on the ocean blue in a veritable flotilla of colorful vessels. A few other lucky explorers elected to test the PH levels of run-off water flowing into the beach with the founder of the Save The Whales Foundation.

Lunch was enjoyed at a park adjacent to Cannery Row and overlooking the scenic Pacific Ocean. Next the students witnessed the 30th dive of the Dea Sea Super Falcon submersible piloted by Graham Hawks, who co-holds the world record for the deepest solo dive ever. The submersible featured an innovative design similar to an airplane that made it fly underwater. The co-pilot--who had experience testing all kinds of experimental aircraft--stepped out of the Falcon after his first ride ever and gasped, "That...was really cool." We ended the day with an intense game of the legendary Yoga Ball Soccer.