LHS Students on the Road to Monterey

LHSKC Marine Biology Class Travels to Monterey, CA
Posted on 01/12/2018
Marine Biology

Blog from Day 1, Jan 9th- Travel Day
Written by Summer Morey

“We arrived at 9:00 wearing our sponsored Marine Biology shirts.  We went through security, Ms. Hennecke and Summer got patted down. Ethan and Maddie brought sharp items, a pocket knife and scissors, the pocket knife was thrown away but the scissors passed the inspection. Our Flight was delayed to 12:00. We boarded and are taking off now! Bye Kansas City -  off to Las Vegas We arrived in Las Vegas and were forced to rush to our new gate for our next flight which was leaving soon. While on the flight to San Jose we had our drink orders canceled because turbulence was bad on this flight. We landed and went to pick up our bags. We rented our cars and began the 2 hour drive to Monterey, Ca. We arrived at Borgs Inn and checked in and got into our rooms. We ordered pizza and then drove to Bethlehem Lutheran Church who is letting us eat there during this week. Finally, we headed back to the hotel to sleep.”  

Blog from Day 2, Jan 10th- Lessons on whales and tide pools:  whale watching excursion and Asolimar Beach State Park for Tide Pooling
Written by Katie Hornbostel

"We woke up early because of the jetway and we were a little thrown off by it, but it was okay because we all got outside to go take a look at the ocean at Lover’s Point. We saw the sunrise a little bit once it got above the clouds. In the ocean we even saw a sea otter just chillin in the ocean. I (Katie) yelled at a seagull - lines from Finding Nemo. Very fun. After that we went to the church and played several fierce games of Uno before we had to leave. After that we went to the wharf and got onto the boat for whale watching. There was another sea otter right next to our boat just munching away at a crab. Getting out of the harbor was fun because there were sea lions everywhere! They were so loud and aggressive. There were also yellow jellyfish everywhere. Within the first 5 minutes of the trip, we saw two grey whales! How crazy! After that it wasn’t long until there was a group of baby humpback whales. Those were super rare apparently. It was great for everyone for the first hour and then we started getting sick. Summer was especially nauseous, but none from our group threw up so that was a plus. We were all tired by the time we were heading back to the harbor. I think the jet lag and the seasickness hit us. We went to In 'n' Out Burger for lunch and it was amazing! I loved the sauce on their cheeseburgers. I wish we had those in Kansas City. After lunch it was a nice drive to the beach tidal area. It was so cool, but literally the water was freezing. We saw starfish, sea urchins, hermit crabs, regular crabs, birds, sand fleas, and sea cucumbers. beware of the waves coming in and soaking your shoes and socks (sorry, Jasmyn). With sandy feet and wet pants, we headed back to the hotel to change into dry clothes and go to Cannery Row to get some souvenirs. All in all, a great start to a great trip.”  

P.S.  This morning and evening, before and after all our activities,  we also conducted lessons on whales and the continental shelf that the Monterey Bay dumps into, and lessons on tide pools and the organisms that live and thrive in tide pools.  -Mrs. Hizer

Blog from Day 3, Jan 11th- Lessons on sand dunes and cypress trees:  Monterey Bay aquarium and Fort Ord for sand dunes
Written by Ethan Tanner

"So hey, my name is Ethan Tanner and I'm a student on the Lutheran High Winterim trip to Monterey, CA.

Today we went to the Monterey Aquarium, which is located in an old sardine canning factory. It is a reserve for hurt and endangered sea life, and they often release the critters that make full recoveries. We watched an otter feeding, where trainers had the otters do basic tasks and tricks for food. We also watched a deep sea feeding, where an extremely large tank was created to emulate the open ocean. They fed the different types of fish in different ways, and it was interesting to see some of the animals compete for food. We also watched a diver go into a kelp forest exhibit and give out food to fish. It was a fascinating experience and I really learned a lot from the aquarium.

Next we headed to Fort Ord, a retired military base with sand dunes used to train soldiers in beach, desert, and other sandy maneuvers and combat. It was also a very important landing for troops to be sent to the Pacific in WWII, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War. We went down to the beach front area and climbed on top of the large, steep dunes, and had a little trouble getting down. The beach was beautiful in the sunset, and we all had a very educational and fun day."


Blog from Day 4, Jan 12th- Lessons at Point Lobos and lesson on Redwood trees: Point Lobos guided nature walk with a docent and 17 mile drive exploration of tress, rock formations, and tide pools
Written by Ben Arnold

"Today in Monterey California, we set foot onto a nature reserve full of the wild life of California.  There we learned about sea otters, seals, sea lions, and the abundant plant life located in the reserve.  Two biologists working for the reserve escorted us through the reserve and bestowed their educated knowledge onto us by showing and teaching us the fascinating and unique stories each and every plant and animal had and what important role they played in the ecosystem.
For the last event of the day, we drove 17 miles on a scenic route in Pebble Beach.  For those who do not know about Pebble Beach, it is the land of the wealthy of Monterey.  I would guess that every house we passed had a minimum value of like, a few million dollars or something ridiculous like that.  Anyway, the reason we did this was so that we could get a glorious ocean view and have an up close and personal first-hand look at cypress trees.  Overall, it was a pretty cool thing to get hands on experience in the marine biology world today."

Blog from Day 5, Jan 13th- Lessons on Otters and Coastal Seabirds:  Kayaking on the Monterey bay- guided tour- exploring otters, sea lions, coastal seabirds (cormorants) and kelp beds, Carmel beach
Written by Maddie Walz

"Only a couple hours after waking up this morning we went to kayak. All of us were paired into double kayaks except Max who got to paddle in his own. We were only a couple feet from the sea lions or as we have nicknamed them “sea grizzlies”. We also saw some sea otters who were wrapping themselves in kelp. After kayaking we went out to lunch at a local cafe called “Toasties”. We finished our large and filling meal and then headed back to the motel for a quick nap before we hit the beach in Carmel. A few of us headed over to play beach volleyball but others explored the rest of the beach. We watched the sun set over the ocean and then headed to Carmel’s Plaza and shopped around for an hour or so. We then rode in our van back to the church to eat our dinner and close our day with a lesson and a devotion. “
This evening at the church we also prepared our meal to serve to the congregation of Bethlehem Lutheran Church who are letting us use their kitchen and fellowship hall while we are here. 


Blog from Day 6, Jan 14th- Church service at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and serving a thank you luncheon to the congregation, and exploration of Lover’s Point, Lesson on seals
Written by Danielle Crowdis

"We woke up early and went to Holly’s Lighthouse Cafe and had an amazing breakfast there. Then we went back to the Bethlehem Lutheran Church service at 10. After the service we served the congregation lunch that we had made the night before and ate and talked with them. Afterwards we biked along Lover’s Point to the wharf. Some of us stopped for ice cream and drinks and we met back to return the bikes and explored Lover’s Point for the rest of the day. And then we ate at the church and did our lesson on seals."


Blog from Day 7, Jan 15th- San Francisco:  Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge and exploration of the giant redwoods at Muir Woods
Written by Max Sullivan

"On Monday, January 15th, the group left the motel at 6:30 in order to venture to San Francisco. The ride took about 2 hours, and we disembarked at pier 33, near the boats to Alcatraz Island. We walked around Alcatraz and took the audio tour until 12:15. After Alcatraz, we went to lunch at In-N-Out Burger and prepared for the next part of our day in San Francisco.

The second half of the day began with swerving through the mountainous roadways near Muir Woods. In-N-Out and jerky car movements do not mix well, but the fresh air at Muir Woods were a snappy cure to any motion sickness. The giant redwoods and the cool breeze crafted the surreal yet peaceful environment of Muir Woods. After hiking through Muir Woods for two hours, the two hour journey back to the motel commenced, and we ended our day with a scenic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Then, our day in San Francisco came to a close.”

Blog from Day 8, Jan 16th- Lessons on elephant seals and kelp forests. Ano Nuevo Park for a guided tour walk for elephant seals, Moss Landing for a safari tour of the Elkhorn Slough
Written by Jasmyn Bell

"January 16th was basically our last day in California. Our day started at 7:30 when we left for a quick breakfast at the church, to then leave on our hour and a half trip to the Año Nuevo State Park. At the Park, we took a 3 mile hike and walked among many elephant seals. We got to see them fight, mate, and even saw a birth from a distance! It was quite an interesting experience, but a good one at that! From there we traveled an hour down to Moss Landing where we were greeted with the sight of a female otter grooming herself on the dock only a few feet in front of us! We then loaded  the safari pontoon and on our trip we saw over 100 harbor seals, sea lions, and sea birds. We also saw over 80 sea otters and 8 of them were babies. After Moss Landing, we hungrily made our way to Phil’s fish market where we had some really good fish, except Summer and Danielle who ordered chicken strips off the kids menu.  Tired and full, we drove in heavy fog but safely made it back to Borgs Motel to pack for a long journey home tomorrow!”


Blog from Day 9, Jan 17th- Travel day- back to KC!
Written by Emily Tanner

"Today we finally got to sleep in! It was a later day for us because we didn't have to leave Monterey until 10 a.m. Before we headed off, the girls went to get a few last minute souvenirs and some coffee at Cannery Row while the boys and Hizers ate breakfast at LuLu's, where the pancakes were as big as hubcaps! Surprisingly even the boys couldn't finish them! We then headed off to San Jose to drop off our rental minivans and go through security. It was a little less complicated than last time (due to a lack of scissors and a pocket knife)! We then boarded our plane to San Diego, where it was 70°! Upon arrival we had a 45 minute layover in SD, but had to go through security again so that was stressful! We got to our gate with 10 minutes to spare and got on our plane to KC. Our flight was 3 hours long, and then we were finally home! It was such a long and busy week! Although the trip was amazing, we all couldn't help missing home (just a little bit;). Just kidding parents, we love you lots!

Here are a few of my favorite memories...

- Seeing A BUNCH of whales(17 exactly) on our first day!
-Making new friends through dogs. Also everyone was so friendly!
-Kayaking in the bay. The water was so peaceful and it was cool to see everything we learned about up close and personal.
-Our knowledgeable docents at Point Lobos and Año Nuevo State Parks. It was inspiring to see people who were so passionate about marine biology!
-Climbing the dunes at Fort Ord. We felt like we were on top of the world!
-Visiting San Fran. It was cool to see such a crooked-streeted, bustling city!

There were a lot of funny moments (hearing Katie's loud singing through the motel walls, Summer's wreck 2 seconds into the bike ride, some crazy driving, my picture-taking misinterpretation, and just general deliriousness), but if I tried to list them all you'd think we were crazy... I made new friends within the group and we made memories together that make us quite a unique bunch.

Overall I learned a lot about the ocean and the creatures that live there (thanks to Mrs. Hizer), but the most important thing I learned is that God is amazing! The redwood trees, crashing waves, sandy mountains, daunting fog, sea and air animals and their ways of life, and unique vegetation all showed me that God is wonderful. He has made the Earth so beautiful and varied. Just a 4-hour plane flight can bring 50° warmer weather and an ocean! And that is something I am truly grateful for.

California was a truly breathtaking, and I couldn't have wished for a better Winterim class! I'm sure the other 8 students would say the same. Thanks to Mrs. Hizer and all of our sponsors, it was unforgettable. God is SO good! 

Thank you for everyone who made this possible for us!  Marine Biology up close and personal, what a terrific learning experience for these students!
Jonelle Hizer

To view more pictures from the group's trip, visit the Winterim Photo Album under the Academic tab of this website.