Recently, I spent two days on the islands of Penghu with my 6th grade class for their science field trip. Obviously, I’m not a science teacher, but I went along as the female chaperon, and we had a blast! Grant Wardle did an excellent job planning and leading the trip, and the students were able to see in real life a lot of what they’ve learned in science class this year. Beyond all the science and natural beauty we experienced, we also had a great time hanging out together. Here are some of the highlights from our trip:
Killing time and playing “Monopoly Deal” at the airport.
This is the itty bitty plane we flew in from Kaohsiung to Magong, Penghu. Penghu is an archipelago, a group of nearly ninety islands (though only 19 are inhabited) in the Taiwan Strait. Many people travel to Penghu by boat, but we chose to fly with our students. Since I get motion-sick pretty easily, I was very happy with this decision.
Mr. Wardle showing a map of Penghu to his group at our first stop–the visitor center.
Cactus ice cream (yep!) is a specialty on the islands of Penghu. It was actually pretty good! (Pay no attention to the funny face I’m making–I thought my student had already taken the picture, and I was moving out of smile pose.)
The Tongliang Great Banyan Tree is over 3,000 years old; this is just a small section of it.
There were pretty little harbors and waterfront areas everywhere we looked!
There are not many trees on the islands due to the strong winds that whip through, but the vegetation that is there is quite interesting.
The students making their way down toward the whale cave. Do you see the whale?
A pinch of color in the landscape of brown.
The people of Penghu have to build walls around all of their farms to keep the plants safe from the high winds. The walls are made of coral and rock, so they look pretty cool. The sad thing is that there is very little live coral left in the waters surrounding Penghu because most of it has been harvested for use on the islands.
Basalt columns formed by volcanic activity.
The students did manage to get their fun in!
Notice the unique juxtaposition of a massive and ornate temple situated just across the street from the local elementary school (where we stayed overnight).
Don’t jump, Mr. Wardle!
Snapshots at the tide pools.
We caught a cool fireworks show at the Rainbow Bridge.
On the second day of our adventure, we spent the whole day out on a fishing boat. We caught fish in nets (some of which we had for lunch later!), we boated around the islands and even landed on an island that is in the process of forming (because of a change in the water currents), we played with cuttlefish, we fished with poles, and we ended with a very nice seafood lunch. The following are some highlights from day #2:
I was a little nervous about holding this guy!
This is what happens to your feet when a scared cuttlefish inks on them.
My favorite: a pufferfish!!
MAK chaperons are definitely the coolest.
Isn’t the scenery breathtaking?
Lunch. (The same kind of–or the maybe the same exact–fish I was holding earlier.)
And last but certainly not least, just before leaving for home, I got my favorite picture of the whole trip with a huge blowfish (and a student who snuck in below). Priceless.