Our recent unschooling adventures have been focused on the medicinal mojo of the ocean, plants and wildlife. We went to the Farallon Islands, which lie 32 kilometers west of the Golden Gate. It was cold, foggy, and breathtakingly beautiful, as well as utterly lovely to feel the quiet calmness settling in, surrounded as we were by the vast expanse that is mama ocean. The islands are home to a huge population of birds and ocean wildlife. The Farallon National Wildlife Refuge is one of sixty-three national wildlife refuges that have congressionally-designated wilderness status. Needless to say, it was amazing.
We saw six ocean mammals in their natural habitat: humpback whales (wow!), gray whales, (just a glimpse), harbor porpoises, California sea lions, Steller sea lions, and harbor seals. As for the birds, we encountered the common murre (tons of those), pelagic cormorant, Brandt's cormorant, double-crested cormorant, western gull, California gull, common loon, snowy plover, and western grebe. Despite getting quite sea sick, Nymue said the journey was well worth it.
The 8am-2pm whale watching trip departs from Pier 39 in SF. Our excursion was lead by Allison, a naturalist and whale specialist who was friendly, passionate and knowledgeable, enthusiastically answering countless questions, while explaining what we were seeing around us.
I would like to expose Nymue to more ocean conservation curriculum. As we have engaged a long-standing dialogue on single-use plastic, and ocean pollution, I was inspired by some of Allison's ideas on how to take action to protect our oceans.
Another unschooling adventure took us to Muir Beach, where we learned about habitat restoration, and how to listen for wild life. We met three new plants, and focused on their medicinal qualities: yarrow to help clarify boundaries, and stop bleeding, mugwort for enhancing dreamtime, and poison oak - which teaches us to practice mindfulness of where and how we step.
The ocean immersion was perfectly timed with the visit from Ida Resi Alit, the High Priestess of Bali, which served to bring the ritual relating of mama ocean into our awareness. We set up an altar to honor mother ocean, and practiced calling her energy into our beings before the Melukat, or water blessing Ida preformed.
Next, I want to take her back to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium and the Aquarium of the Bay. Let me know in the comments below if you have other ideas, thoughts, unschooling tips, or questions.