[Walk – 22 June 2017]
The children were keen to head east of the Centre again, this time to explore the south end of the cove.
On the way, they began discussing the difference between this lake and the sea. Some thought there might be sharks in the lake; others disagreed because it wasn’t the sea. The sea was made of salt water one suggested, but as another pointed out ‘there’s white dots in it [the lake] so it is salt water’.
One of the first things the children noticed was the rubbish dotted along the edge of the lake. This was cause for concern. They were conscious that water creatures are harmed by eating human debris.
There’s lots of rubbish. A turtle might think the rubbish is jelly fish and eat it.
Look. There’s rubbish in the water. The fish will be sick if they eat it. There’s an old bottle.
While the children could easily made a connection between the rubbish and the well-being of various water creatures, they were less certain about what they should do about it. Some wanted to pick the rubbish up and take it back to the Centre. Others remembered they had been told not to pick up rubbish (in case it was unsafe to touch). They stood for some time pondering this dilemma, looking at each piece in turn – straws, bits of plastic and glass bottles.
In the end, they settled with lifting some bits out of the water with sticks and putting it out of reach of the gentle lapping waves at the water’s edge. At least it was out of harms way for the fish.
While the children knew this was a lake, there were things that felt a little out of place. We spotted a bird, and as one child exclaimed ‘It’s a seagull!’. The presence of seagulls this far inland was indeed a mystery.
The remains of a large carp hanging in a tree was another sighting that was difficult to explain: ‘Maybe a bird caught that fish and ate the fish and then hanged it there.’
While some children studied the fish, others were distracted by deep vertical marks in a limestone rock nearby.
Thoughts of wild animals immediately came to mind.
‘I wonder what sort of animal they came from. Maybe one with really strong claws made it.’
The sunlight offered new types of glimpses into the lake. Under the surface, we could see fallen trees and the glinting reflections of stones. The children could just make out the shape of a tree: ‘It’s inside the water. Maybe it was too old and then it fell all the way down. It fell into the water and the end is right over there. I see leaves. I can see trees. What’s that under the water? It looks like gold.
As we reached the furthermost point of our walk, the children stumbled on a find that once again reminded them of the sea. On spotting an old wooden boat ramp now submerged at the lake’s edge, they began speculating on whether it could be a ship wreck. ‘I think that’s an old ship. Because ships have windows.’
Reaching out with their sticks to feel the wooden planks, some children told us: ‘it feels hard and a bit sticky in there. It’s also very splashy.’
They then called out: ‘Come here everyone we found an old boat.’ One imaginative child added: ‘I think that people died inside. I think it is from the Titanic. The Titanic is very long. Maybe the rest of it is underneath.’
All the children gathered around. It was wet and slippery at the lake’s edge, and they had to work out how to get as close as possible without slipping in. They reassured each other not to worry about getting a little wet: ‘The sun can dry you.’ and ‘I can see the sun reflecting on the water.’
We set off back to the Centre with a few sodden shoes and socks, but much excited talk about the possible fate of the sunken ship.