Splosh, gurgle, splash! No, that was not sounds from our stomachs! SeaLife was a sensory wonderland! From the diverse noises of seals diving and leaping, excited children tentatively then confidently reaching into touch-tanks, waterfalls both trickling and thundering, a snapping freshwater crocodile, injured green turtles in private recovery pools and the ever-inquisitive flexible rays boldly coming above the edge of their tank. At night time, SeaLife was a place of bold colours with some tanks, creatures and indeed whole rooms glowing with reds, purples, blues and pinks. Thankfully, those colours were switched off when it was our lights-out bedtime! A great evening of sea creatures attempting to, sometimes cheekily, interact with our fascinated girls and boys.
On Wednesday 12 June, 51 excited students headed off for an overnight stay at SeaLife. Supported by 9 nervous adults, the students managed to load the bus and journey to Mooloolaba. We had an itinerary that included a brief seal show, tours around SeaLife including being ‘behind-the-scenes’ to discover just what was behind those doors labelled ‘Staff Only’. Dinner was appreciated by the hungry hordes, a feast of burgers, chips and icecreams (no fish on our menu at SeaLife). Tours, talks, discussions and the learning continued with SeaLife alive at night for our students. Mr Cooper joined us for some time through the tunnels and to help serve dinner.
Eventually, the excitement had to be paused for the night, with bedding prepared, pyjamas on and teeth brushed, it was lights out! This is always the biggest challenge of a first camp, sometimes the very first night away from home for these 8 and 9 year olds. They braved it and were soon falling asleep to the backdrop of waterfall sounds, and a thrashing crocodile who decided it was now awake time. Pleasant dreams girls and boys!
In the morning we had an ample breakfast of cereals, yogurts, fruit, toast and water or juice. Mr van der Vliet was a welcome guest, serving and chatting with our girls and boys. After we then packed up our sleeping items, we headed off to the final parts of our tour: touch tanks and the indoor over-stimulating playground! We gathered outside SeaLife at 8:30am and many parents had arrived to give hugs to their young ones and to have an awesome morning together at the beach. Beach games, races and a sand-sculpting contest all took place in perfect weather conditions! Glorious! A BBQ lunch and a drive back to school and we could now see just how worn-out our students had become, with a number sound asleep for the drive. More pleasant dreams of sharks cruising…
Well done students! Excellent behaviour, good learning opportunities seized by careful listening and perceptive questions, as well as surviving a night beside the tanks! A huge thankyou from Mrs Jansen, Mrs Petersen and Mr Rogers to all the volunteers, as without you, this type of camp cannot take place.