Brenna Smark, Reporter
On May 20 at 7:30 a.m. Pierce students gathered in the upstairs of the College Center awaiting departure to what they anticipated would be a long, sunny day on a boat for a chance to spot some orca whales.
Outdoor and Recreation Coordinator Eyshabella Santos decided to organize the whale watching event because it was suggested by a teacher who recalled good feedback from when the college organized a whale watching event before.
“When I first got the job I notified my teacher that did my recommendation. He suggested that I should try whale watching again since it had been done awhile back,” Santos said. “I thought it would be interesting to try it since whale watching is such a fun and calming thing to do.”
Planning for the event began in mid-February. The planning was straightforward and the only part that needed focus was working out times and schedules.
“A lot of the planning was figuring out what date worked well with my advisor and myself,” Santos said. “It was a fairly simple event that had small details (such as food and t-shirts) put into it later on.”
Once students were accounted for and the lunches were passed out, the students then packed up their backpacks and went out to load onto the charter bus that was transporting to the event.
After a two hour and 15 minute drive, the bus arrived at Island Adventures in Anacortes where everyone filed onto the boat that would end up taking the group all the way into Canadian waters. Once the boat entered Canadian waters near Vancouver the group was advised to turn off their phones or turn it to airplane mode, so they wouldn’t be charged for using the cell service from Canada cell towers.
Once the boat arrived in Canada the anticipated Orcas were spotted shortly after. People rushed to the port side of the boat, cameras at the ready, to get good shots of the momma whale breaching the ocean’s surface with her son.
After the whales steered away from the boat and the students got their pictures, most of them took the opportunity to sit and enjoy the breeze with the rock of the boat on the way back.
The feedback led Santos to believe the event was a huge hit, and students look forward to such events in the future.
“I was genuinely surprised by the feedback I had gotten from students. Many stated that they enjoyed it a lot and it was the best event they’ve gone to this quarter,” Santos said. “I had a couple students thank me for being thoughtful (i.e. providing meals and t-shirts).”
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