Ocean’s 2014

Liam W.

Last weekend was a huge one. Instead of following my usual Sunday tradition of waking up around dinner-time and recklessly walking through the house half-awake in pajamas for the rest of the day while my mom hounds me to do my laundry, I decided (mandatorily) to broaden my horizons and explore the wet side of the world on the annual overnight Marine Ecology Field Trip. So by Sunday morning at 8:30, I stepped onto the hard black pavement of the OES lower parking lot, bag in hand. Excited to hang out on a weekend with Rob Orr (our teacher) for the first time in a while (arguably the first time ever), the first words I received from him were “Got your sleeping bag and your pillow?”. I didn’t. I turned back to my mom, as if expecting her to just pull a spare sleeping bag and a pillow out of the glove compartment of the car and toss it to me nonchalantly. She simply shook her head in disappointment and that was all I needed to see to realize I had already let Rob down, approximately seven seconds into the trip. I think I may have seen a tear run down Rob’s face as I broke the news to him that I had forgotten the most important items on the packing list; a sleeping bag and a pillow. Though this proved to be a barrier in my relationship with Rob for a few moments, we soon got over it. We had to delve into Tom Handel’s secret stash of sleeping bags located somewhere in the upper school, but the good news is, we got one.

Trying to pretend like everything was normal, I stepped onto the bus with my Tom Handel model sleeping bag under my arm. Everyone was already on the bus at this point and I just walked to my seat near the back, acting as if I was as prepared as all of my classmates. The bus was one of those tiny green ones that fit about 1.5 people maximum, however, we managed to squeeze about 12 students into there, along with bus driver Tom Handel.

The ride up was scenic and wonderful. We pulled into a beautifully designed Subway restaurant about thirty minutes into the drive and overwhelmed the one young lady working there when we all barged in and ruthlessly demanded sandwiches. After this slight detour, it was time to get back on the road, so we did.

By the time we arrived, the sun was buried deep in the ominous clouds and precipitation levels were expected to be high. We observed starfish and sea anemones in an outdoor aquarium (also known commonly as an ocean). Also, we got to see a crowd of seals laying on a big rock near the water, though we did not get to ride them, as they were sleeping and we did not want to bother them (also, this practice is frowned upon by many).

Following this adventure, we traveled by bus to the Hatfield Science Center. Hatfield is a wonderful place, and we had been told by Rob that we could see a live octopus swimming around in one of the tanks in the center. I anxiously barged in, in search of this eight-legged creature, however, the first thing we saw there was a sign that said “We released the octopus to the wild!” Once I realized this wasn’t a practical joke, that they really did have the audacity to release the creature back to where it belongs, I was disappointed and confused. Why do bad things like this have to happen? Soon, though, I regained satisfaction when we began walking around and learning new things about oceans and fish. For an example, did you know that Sea Lions are endangered? I know I sure didn’t. So the next time one of your buddies shows you his/her pet Sea Lion, be warned, you are friends with a criminal. Don’t take this lightly. Move out of the country if you have to. We need to save the Sea Lions folks. That’s all for today. Stay tuned.

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