Widening horizons, one journey at a time


The quote “a ship is safe in harbour, but that is not what ships are built for” is attributed to an American naval luminary and an early 20th century aphorist. It is wisdom we often reflect on in the beginning of a new school year at THS.


The summer has been a busy one. A to-do list of minor repair and maintenance has kept us occupied all July and August but there’s always something more that needs to be squared away when it’s time to get back out on the water. The engine’s water intake is blocked, a mast hoop is broken, or a shackle has rusted. (follow our adventures on Instagram @thsblackdolphin)


This year it was barnacles on the propellor. We cranked up the engine to begin this year's new teacher orientation sail but could not make any way. You just don’t know if the system is working unless you’re trying to use it.




This holds as true for what we do on the Black Dolphin as it does for working the Black Dolphin itself. It's a new school year and classes have started - we are anxious to get out and help students to practically apply their classroom knowledge to real-world situations. We’re eager to get out there to put the Black Dolphin's very unique curriculum to work, and this year, what we are most excited and happy to see is the same excitement from teachers to work with the Black Dolphin. We’re about to be very busy.


We are now really a part of the fabric of school life at The Harbour School. For the first time since the Black Dolphin program was started, we have teachers already approach us before the school year had begun to plan Black Dolphin activities. Rosanna Tobin and Joanna Simpson with their Grade 4 cohort foster robust learners. Last year’s Grade 4 students had the most trips of any grade level aboard the Black Dolphin and took strong winds, high seas and baking heat in their stride.


We are looking forward to September 18 and 19 when the Black Dolphin will again be transformed into an Athenian galley with a crew dedicated to Poseidon, searching for new trade opportunities and mapping trade routes. The following month they will become paleontologists sailing to a deserted island to investigate an amazing fossil find. They will map out the beach in quadrats, sift the sands for fossils and attempt to piece them together to recreate the skeletons of these creatures from a bygone age. From these skeletons they will try to make inferences about their diet, behaviour and way of life.


In October, Grade 5 students will come aboard as archaeologists in search of shipwrecks from the Age of Exploration. Flotsam and jetsam are the clues we will follow to ancient shipwrecks and will tell us much about these early explorers and traders. Traces of their cargo will tell us if they were carrying spices from the East Indies, tea from India, or emeralds from South America (we wish!). Also planned for October, we will join them in the classroom to go over the basics of compass navigation and students will calculate course legs that they will later steer aboard the Black Dolphin to reach an exotic lunch time destination or alternatively, be lost at sea forever.


High School students taking French will be taking the Black Dolphin to Lamma Island for a day of French immersion and introduction to the game of Pentanque. Our high schoolers will be acting out scenes from Shakespeare’s “Tempest” aboard our mobile sound and light stage, the Black Dolphin.


Last year’s Grade 4 students were first off the block to vote their Black Dolphin experiences their “favourite learning adventures”. We can’t wait to take our first students onboard this year and watch the learning magic unfold.


Follow our learning adventures onboard the Black Dolphin at Instagram @thsblackdolphin


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