An Island Adventure

Horizon Honors Wilderness Club went to Catalina Island Marine Institute to experience a different kind of wilderness: the ocean.


Photo Courtesy of Ilaria Cobb

Horizon Honors’ Wilderness Club went to Catalina Island during the weekend of Oct. 17.

Ilaria Cobb, Columnist

Horizon Honors’ Wilderness Club took a 3-day trip to California’s beautiful Catalina Island. The travel portion of the trip was long with an 8-hour bus ride followed by a 2-hour ferry ride to reach the island but the trip was well worth the time. The combination of snorkeling, uncountable rounds of gaga ball, and many other ocean related activities was a desert dweller’s delight.


After the club arrived on the island, we had our first snorkel, or as the counselors called it, our orientation snorkel. We were broken up into groups that became our assigned groups for the rest of the weekend. We wetsuited up and dove into Catalina Island’s crystal blue water. We saw many species of fish from California’s state fish, the garibaldi, to the snake-like moray eels. You didn’t want to blink for fear of missing something! Later on, we proceeded to dissect a California market squid with a buddy from our group. The ocean fun didn’t stop there. We went eeling, too, where the groups swam their way to a prime eeling spot and sat and fed the eels their favorite treat: squid. Everyone who went on the trip had opportunities to participate in labs as well. We explored many different types of plankton, went hunting for crabs on the beach’s edge and, of course, had plenty of time to free-swim in the ocean.


Now, with all the rigorous activities that the attendees were participating in, it was a good thing the chefs didn’t fall short on their duties. They prepared spaghetti and meatballs, hamburgers, and chicken wings. There were also sack lunches ready for when we first arrived and for our ferry ride back. Breakfast was a wide spread consisting of eggs, sausage, bacon, muffins, yogurt, cereal, and an abundance of fruit. Special dietary needs were not a problem either. They had you covered by preparing gluten, dairy, and egg free options as well as vegetarian if you asked.


Besides the set schedule that the camp had for us, campers had free time throughout the day. The main source entertainment was gaga ball. For those of you who don’t know what gaga ball is, it is a game where everyone stands within a fairly small fenced circle and the ball cannot not touch you from the knees down. Besides the innumerable rounds of gaga ball, there was also a volleyball net, a field for soccer, and a basketball court.

A Teacher’s Perspective

Amanda Bors, science teacher at Horizon Honors, was one of the four chaperones for the trip, and because of the fun she had, Bors will be taking over as the coordinator for our school’s Catalina Island trip. When asked if she would recommend that students and teachers alike go on the trip, Bors responded with, “Of course! Number one, it’s a really fun trip, and you get to bond with your students or your peers. It’s a really good trip overall to get to bond with each other. It’s a very hands-on trip, and it’s an opportunity that not everybody has. If you have the means, you should definitely go.” She commented on the educational side of trip and whether the topics discussed were addressed properly, “Yes. I liked the way they did a lot of things but I was looking for something a little bit more age appropriate… since the squid dissection was a little bit childish. I think that something different could have been better suited for us.” When asked whether missing a day of school was worth it, Bors stated, “Yeah. I think we learned more in the weekend than we would have in a day of school.”

The trip had its problems. What trips don’t? However, the teachers and students alike thoroughly enjoyed the trip and learned a tremendous amount about things we may not see in the desert of Arizona. This is the reason why the Wilderness Club has this trip every year.