Pupils get sea view under sail

MICHELLE SUTTON
Last updated 13:00 23/11/2012

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Nelson secondary school students are getting a hands-on taste of sailing and a closer look at what lies beneath the ocean.

Under the guidance of Otago University's Richard de Hamel, of the Dunedin-based marine studies centre, a Year 9 class from Waimea College yesterday spent half a day on board Steadfast, skippered and owned by Laurence Etheridge.

Students helped haul up the sails, measure speed using an old time ship's log, navigate, steer compass courses and maintain a lookout.

They also put down a bottom trawler to see what was living under the ocean, and a plankton net to study the plankton under a microscope.

"It shows up a variety of life, there's hermit crabs and little flounders and different kinds of fish. They get an idea of what's out there. I would say most are unaware that there's that much life out in the ocean," Mr de Hamel said.

He had been educating students about marine life in the area since 2000 when he used to run lessons at the aquarium in Mapua until September last year when it burnt down.

Now he worked with about a dozen schools, taking students out on the boat each week - a first for some.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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