Our Day on an Ocean Research Vessel

We had the most amazing opportunity today to take part in an educational research boat trip with a group of fellow homeschoolers.

We have been to a classroom experience offered by Project Oceanology before and knowing how amazing that was my boys were beside themselves with excitement about getting to go out on a real research vessel and learn all about the animals, water, plants and history of the area.  

The trip did not disappoint!  My kids were enthralled all day long and we learned so much!!

We started our day in the back of the boat trolling for animals and learning all about the nets, buoys, and the sound that we were in.  We learned a lot about the history of the area, the make up of the water, the types of animals to expect there, and the benefits animals find in making their homes in this area. 

Filling up the tanks 

Getting ready to set the net

Alec helped out with the lines 

Learning about buoys, the parts of the net, and how it works 

Setting out the net 

Doing some math!  Figuring out how many feet we need to go out for the net
to reach bottom.  They also had to figure out how many millions of plankton
need to be present for even just one seal (each seal eats 10 times it's body weight
in large fish; which eats 10 times it's body weight in small fish, and so on and
so on) 

Looking at plankton 

We could see them zipping around even though they just looked like tiny white dots

Pulling our nets back in 

We just happened to be there on a day that a submarine was on it's way back in!

We watched it rise out of the water a bit and watched all three guide ships help it into port

Such a neat added bonus! 

Our net of fish (and seaweed; a lot of seaweed!)

Helping to put the fish into the tanks; sorting through seaweed to toss off the boat

We found a few large spider crabs! 

We were all quite alarmed by the number of fish swimming upside down and sideways;
it was explained that they all have a bladder that helps them regulate their swimming and
they swim sideways or upside down in shallow water but would correct when they got back
to the correct depth and the bladder reset itself. 

A very large spider crab! 

Sorting through our catch; we even found two baby squid!  


One of the baby squid

So much sea life! 

Learning about spider crabs, what they eat, where
they live, what color they are naturally and why
they look so dark. 

Learning to tell the difference between male and female;
females have a circular marking on the underside while
males are more triangular 

Peeling back the tail of the crab to see the eggs inside! They're so bright red/orange.
I had no idea that crabs started life as plankton!  

A winter flounder

Learning how to tell the difference between fluke and flounder (both flat fish!)

Learning about Progis; a schooling fish that we had pulled up in droves! 

A Kingfish 

Once our time in the back of the boat was done we swapped places with the group in the front of the boat.  We got to learn about all the tools used to take water samples, core samples, measure depth, visibility, nautical instruments, monitor salinity, temperature, and so much more!   

Van Dorn bottle used to take samples of water from various depths 

Setting up the Van Dorn Bottle 

Testing the water for Ph levels and dissolved oxygen levels. 

Learning about the results of everyone's testing 

One of the two only remaining mansions after a hurricane came through in 1938
 and wiped out all the others in the area 
We had such a beautiful day for our boat ride with sunny skies, warm temperatures and calm waters.  It sure does beat learning inside a classroom!

Linking Up With:

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  1. My, that is one trip: You got to see so much! I love the fact on the fish bladder! #twinklytuesday

    1. The kids were all so relieved to know that not all of those fish were dead or dying... they had been quite concerned!

  2. I am so jealous!!!! This trip looks AMAZING!!! My son would love to do something like this. It's to bad we live so far from the coast.

    1. I was thinking on the day of the trip that I wasn't sure I could ever live so far from the ocean as to not visit it now and then.... mostly because we'd miss opportunities like this that are just perfect for my marine oriented boy.

  3. This looks amazing! I love how companies are starting to offer such wonderful learning opportunities to homeschool families. That is the best to have hands-on learning, and it also creates memories that last a long time!

    1. It was amazing! I had hemmed and hawed about signing up and afterwards was so glad I did! The boys just LOVED it!

  4. Wow! What an experience. The pros of being homeschooled. You get these awesome field trips that actually teach a thing or two. Loved learning about the ph and oxygen levels...something that truly would not interest me otherwise. Thanks for linking up this morning. Keep up the good work.

    1. Yep, this was definitely one of those days where homeschooling was pretty high up on that pro list!

  5. Oh WOW!!! I want to go. Where is this?

  6. What an amazing opportunity!! Thanks for sharing at FTF!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. We were very lucky to have this experience. I just know it's one of those trips that they'll be talking about for years to come.

  7. This is a fantastic learning opportunity and I wish I was on that boat!

    1. It really was the neatest; I learned so much myself and the boys were having a great time.

  8. That would be such a great thing to do! So much to learn and see. Wow!

    1. It was amazing and far surpassed my expectations!


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