“It’s a shark? No, it’s a dolphin!”
Students attending Cottage by the Sea this week had all recently arrived to Australia from all over the world. We had children from more than 15 countries, including Samoa, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Argentina, Afghanistan, Chile, Iraq and many more.
This week on the Take a Break program, it was all about making new friends and learning some things along the way. For all the students, English is their second or third language and it can be a challenge when they are trying to communicate with each other and staff, but this is all part of the learning process and makes for great problem-solving and bonding.
On the first afternoon of camp, we walked to the beach. For some, this was their first time visiting the beach – feeling the sand on their skin was a whole new experience in itself. As we were building sandcastles, one of the boys started yelling, “Shark! Shark! It’s a shark! I see a shark!” and made a shark fin with his hand on his head. This was just after the Camp Leaders were pointing out the areas where we would be swimming during the week.
The whole group looked on to try and spot this “shark” in the water, and then one fin popped up, then another, then a few more. One of the girls shouted, “No not a shark, it’s dolphins!” She was right – we had a pod of six to seven dolphins cruising past about 10 metres from the shore. The Camp Leaders explained that it is now squid egg-laying season and the dolphins come in really close to feast on all of the squid sitting on their eggs.
We all watched in awe as the pod of dolphins put on a show for us. As we walked back to camp, we could see all of the Cottage by the Sea staff watching on from the upstairs window thanks to a hot tip text message from the Camp Leaders about dolphins close to the shore. Seeing dolphins on their first time at the beach is an experience that the children will always remember!