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Pre-Frosh, Fighter Jets, the Navy Patrol, and Stingrays

The Caltech Y organizes a bunch of events, and I’ve led a few. When I signed up to take a bunch of pre-frosh on a kayaking / beach orientation trip with Ted (another smore), I didn’t expect it to be eventful. You know, we’ll go kayaking for two hours, eat lunch, head to the beach, and drive back. That’s similar to my orientation trip – I did the community service trip, so we headed to a gibbon center, helped them make a fire barrier, and then got a tour of the center and drove back. The Dean’s office was taking care of lunches and transportation, so what would I have to do?
That’s kind of, but not quite, how it turned out! Organizing the trip was easy. When we got there, the place we rented kayaks from was very chill and everyone got on the boats fast. It was a beautiful place to kayak!!!

Think of the cannals in Venice (not that I’ve ever been there…), but put fancy American houses and docks (and tons of motor boats) on the side.

As we were heading to the ocean, we heard this really loud airplane sound. A little bit later, we saw the source of the noise – it was two huge, super-fast fighter planes! Some of the pre-frosh got really excited about the type of plane it was and airplanes / flying. In the meantime, Ted and I were trying not to tip over (Ted did not want to get lunch, and I had electronics with me) as a bunch of others had fun ramming into each other to try to get someone else to get wet (usually, this resulted in their own flipping and not the other persons).

Next, the Navy Patrol. Some people wanted to go kayak on the ocean, so we headed in the direction all the motor boats were going. Ted and I were lagging behind, but almost at the ocean… almost there… as those ahead of us were coming back. Apparently, the bridge we were passing under marked the beginning of a motor-only zone – as the Navy Patrol had kindly alerted our pre-frosh via a large mic at their security station there. Ohoh!

After we (thought we) made sure everyone got back in the right place, one of the girls on the trip came to me with these glasses. Two guys had decided to swim their kayak back, and asked her to carry the glasses. She couldn’t find them. Ummmm….. We weren’t really sure what to do, so we decided that if they weren’t at the meeting spot at 3:15 (the meeting time), then we would get worried (hey, they knew how to swim! and there were lifejackets!). It turned out, as they came back shortly after, that they had been ahead of everyone and missed the turn to go back to the rental place.

As Ted and I were paying, two of the pre-frosh ran back and told us two kids had gotten stung by sting-rays and one of them was bleeding pretty badly from the foot. Not what I like to hear! With the med kit in hand, we went to bring them to the closest fire station (the best treatment against sting rays is hot, hot water since their venom is a large protein whose tertiary structure is denatured by heat. and don’t try to stop bleeding unless the bleeding is super-terrible (call emergency care right away if it is that bad) because the poison needs to get out). I’ve been trying to find the structure of the protein on pymol, but no luck yet 🙁 After a little adventure, we finally had two buckets and access to hot water. I found out that the small stretch of beach we were in (from Laguna beach to just past where we were) has 75 percent of the reported stingray attacks in CA. Maybe we’ll go a few miles down next year… The three of us hung out for an hour while the rest of the group built a wall and rescued a giant (adjective, not part of the name) squid:

Yay frosh bonding!
Hum, I wonder what’s going to happen next year? 🙂

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