Earth Society on a Guided Whale Watching Excursion on the Atlantic Ocean

Upper School science teachers Sandra Marr and David Privasky took student members of the Earth Society on a guided whale watching excursion on the Atlantic Ocean in late January.
Using a generous contribution from Collegiate's Darr Davis Endowment to cover transportation costs, the Earth Society organized the trip with the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center based in Virginia Beach.

Says Mrs. Marr: "We watched one humpback whale surface a multitude of times over 30 minutes. This extended observation is a rare occurrence, since whales often surface a few times and then dive again. Following responsible marine wildlife viewing guidelines, the Virginia Aquarium boat left this whale to insure that our presence didn't adversely affect its behavior. Soon thereafter, we were mugged! When a whale makes close contact with a boat, the encounter is called a 'mugging.' While we were stationary, the whale made repeated circles around the boat. In my nine years of taking students whale watching, this is the closest I've even been to a humpback whale! It was a magical experience!"

After whale watching, the group enjoyed lunch on the beaches of First Landing State Park and a hike in the bald cypress swamp. The oils in the cypress seeds created a rainbow on the black waters, giving the group another special observation of nature's beauty.