Year 2’s Marine Discovery

On Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd July, our Year 2 pupils embarked upon some unforgettable boat tours of Mounts Bay with Marine Discovery Penzance.

We met the Marine Discovery crew on Albert Pier at Penzance Harbour. While we were fitted with lifejackets and suitably warm clothing, the children explored fact files about a rage of local sea animals, including minke whales and basking sharks. We then carefully descended the steep steps down from the harbour and boarded Shearwater II, a 10-metre sailing catamaran.

We left the calm waters of Penzance Harbour and headed south towards Mousehole. The children observed this historic fishing village from the sea and learned about the history of the Mousehole Cave and its use by smugglers. We learned that the Cornish name for Mousehole is ‘Porthenys’, translating to ‘harbour island’. This refers to St Clement’s Island, situated just offshore from Mousehole.

Historically, St Clement’s Island was home to a medieval chapel. Nowadays it is an important habitat for a host of seabirds and grey seals. We observed several seals, some of which were resting on the rocks and others could be seen ‘bottling’ in the water.

Josh, the crew’s marine mammal expert, let the children explore a real seal’s skull and some seal fur!

The bay also had a plethora of local seabirds, including skuas, Cory’s shearwaters, gannets, cormorants and oystercatchers.

It was time to hoist the sails as we set a course due Northeast for St Michael’s Mount! On the way, we sang sea shanties, spotted a number of different types of boats and kept our eyes peeled for more wildlife. Some children helped to steer the boat, using the steering pole and keeping a keen eye on the direction of travel.

As we sailed across Mounts Bay, we pondered the bay’s ancient past; it is understood that some 6000 years ago, when sea levels were much lower, the bay was home to a vast forest. ‘The Lost Forest of Mounts Bay’ is echoed in the Cornish name for St Michael’s Mount, ‘Karrek Loos yn Koos’, meaning ‘Grey Rock in the Wood’.

The children demonstrated incredible bravery and resilience during their marine voyages, at time battling high winds and choppy seas! They also showed great curiosity and a deep respect for their local environment. A huge thank you to Marine Discovery Penzance for a truly unforgettable experience and inspiring the next generation of marine voyagers!

 

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