Anderson Valley High School Marine Biology Class

Part of the class

Last century, mid-80s to be exact I, was living in the beautiful Mendocino County hamlet of Boonville. The town was small, the high school was small, and in such places it’s very easy to get involved in a mix of activities. Thus I found myself helping out at the school, coaching and helping assist a couple of teachers with projects. Since my son Mike was in the marine biology class, and since Linda Wallace the teacher knew of my love for fishing, she recruited me to be an “advisor” for the class.

Looking for plants and animals

It would turn out to be one of my favorite projects at the school. Monthly the students would “pike to the briney in our moshe” (that’s Boontling for travel to the ocean in our bus), specifically to the cove at Point Arena. The task was  to collect new specimens from the briney (the ocean) and put back into the briny the old creatures that had served their time in our aquariums. When the work was done we would have some time to fish from the Point Arena Pier and almost everyone, every trip, caught a few fish so it was a very pleasant time. When they returned to the school they would put the new denizens of Anderson Valley High School into their appropriate tanks and then begin to do a variety of odds and ends to help them better understand those same denizens.

Still lookin”

Look at what I found!


Lots of algae!

Time to go fishing!

Debbie and Ms. Wallace with a couple of striped seaperch

Debbie with a rockfish

James with a striped seaperch

James with a greenling

Back to school!

James checking out a rockfish

Eventually, at the end of the year, we would all make a trip to San Diego. On the way we would spend a night fishing on a barge out of San Pedro — the whole night. We then would sleepily finish our drive to San Diego where we stayed at the Crystal Pier Motel (where we could fish from the pier when we weren’t visiting attractions). We had a back scene’s tour of Sea World. We did the same at Scripps Aquarium. And, we traveled out on a sportfishing boat where at least a majority of the students, and myself, got seasick. Lots of fun! The story and pictures of that trip will come later.

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