Fall: Northern California
In the fall semester, we travel to the central California coast. We fly to San Francisco and first travel South to Monterey Bay, the site of the nation’s largest marine sanctuary, where we observe giant kelp forests and sea otters, and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We study the important historical events that shaped the history of California. We read from Richard Henry Dana Jr.’s Two Years Before the Mast and learn of the era of the great sardine industry which created Cannery Row, made famous in John Steinbeck’s novels. We explore the incredible diversity of intertidal marine life in the tide-pools of the Monterey Peninsula and experience the spectacular vistas of Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. We then head north to visit San Francisco Bay, where we examine the maritime history of the bay from first Spanish sightings to the importance of the clipper ship, the Gold Rush era, and the development of the modern harbor. We visit a container ship terminal, and look at the marine life of the bay, consisting of a mixture of native and introduced species. We then head for the our host facility, University of California’s Bodega Marine Laboratory (BML), 60 miles north of San Francisco. From BML we expand west to explore the Point Reyes National Seashore and the oyster farms of Tomales Bay. We travel as far north as Fort Ross, a Russian fur and hide settlement of the early 19th century, before returning to San Francisco and the incredible Red Wood forests.
Spring: Pacific Northwest
In the spring semester, we travel to the Pacific Northwest, focusing on the Washington and Oregon coasts. We fly to Seattle and spend the first two nights along Elliott Bay, with a clear view of the mountain ranges meeting the waterfront. To examine the complexity of West Coast fisheries management issues, we visit Fishermen’s Terminal, home of America’s largest fishing fleet. We then travel to the Port of Tacoma to see one of the most efficient container ship ports in the country, next heading up the Columbia River to the Bonneville Dam, near Portland. Traveling out to Astoria, OR, we bunk aboard the Lightship Columbia at the Columbia River Maritime Museum and stand where Lewis and Clark first saw the Pacific in 1805. Our host facility, the University of Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB), is located on the shores of Southern Oregon’s Coos Bay in the crab and salmon fishing village of Charleston. From this base, we continue to explore the history, science, and policy of the Pacific Northwest as we visit the striking South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Oregon Dunes National Seashore, and the magnificent rocky intertidal reefs at Cape Arago, where thousands of California sea lions winter at the time of our visit.