On our journey from Cooktown to Starke river we passed browned-ribbony trails of algae (trichodesmium oscillatoria- if you really want to know). This is a seasonal phenomenon here but can be the result of higher nitrates (from run off) or high temperatures.


Sometimes their dried remains on land as seen here, can be confused with an oil spill, as I thought when I first encountered it. On the second day of the project we headed out to Pethebridge Islets with a large group of kids from the camp. Pethebridge is a short sail from the mainland and for such a small space, it holds a plethora of marine and land life. Perthebridge is either an island or perhaps a coral cay with a rather large tail that swishes in the direction of the prevailing winds and currents.


I could have called this post- the best classroom in the world. From my time with Pelican I am now a total believer in learning by being in the environment with people that can help guide the natural curiosity of the learner. It has also been fantastic to be able to have Chris Roberts from Balkanu on board, who is a marine biologist, share his extensive knowledge. 


The morning was spent exploring the island and beachcombing. Oh and fishing! 



Hazel Bowen found a few things!


As we found things Chris was on hand to tell the kids what animals lived in the shells, or what the polyps on the seaweed were for, or how the cone shell kills its prey, or how the coral is an animal and how they make the coral form, and what the island was made of and how the cuttlefish can control its depth. It was an endless feast of interesting detours around the astounding ingenuity of nature and evolution.


Once back on Pelican1 the kids were shown how to identify some of the shells they had found and made drawings of them and wrote their names.

Through picking up leaves on the tail of the island we could tell there were three species of mangroves before we walked over and explored them. The groves of trees on the island were filled with many types of birds including the brilliant blue kingfisher.


By the end of the day my head was ringing with information. The kids all had a great day out and had heaps of fun learning. Hope Vale kids are in their element but with the added insights from Chris married to their own curiosity, everyone gained more knowledge about their sea country. 


AuthorMichelle Quach