Friday, July 17, 2009

Wrapping up in Monterey

Hello all,

Our On Assignment projects are wrapping up here in Monterey. Marine Biology and Conservation students have been exploring more beaches, the high-tech research world of MBARI, and now the nitty gritty accumulation of observations and information for the final projects.

All groups joined on a whale watch excursion yesterday morning. Our boat, the Sea Wolf, left the harbor into a thick fog that slowly lifted as we made our way to the Mariana Trench. We saw dolphins and then, just before having to turn around, a humpback surfaced and we watched it for a half hour.

Back to Monterey for lunch on the wharf in the sunshine. The afternoon was spent working on projects briefly before heading to Point Sur Lighthouse. If anyone has driven the Big Sur coast, you might have noticed a massive sea stack barely connected to the continent. A road snakes up the side and a stone house lives on top. A working lighthouse operates on the ocean side. We got a rare tour of the lighthouse and keeper's house. It was cool and slightly haunted.

The Photography students have been documenting everything in addition to a collaborative project on the town of Castroville, the Artichoke Capital of the World. We've visited Main Street a few times and taken various trips to the strawberry and lettuce fields of the surrounding Salinas Valley. We are approaching it like a National Geographic assignment, trying to capture the sense of place by engaging with the people and the landscape. The photo essay should be a good window into a small agricultural town of the Salinas Valley.

We hope you enjoy these photos from Año Nuevo, a State Park north of Santa Cruz where we watched a beach full of massive elephant seals basking in the sun, from the artichoke fields, post-sunset, outside Castroville, and from Point Sur...