Up bright and early so we can be at the Ocean Institute at Dana Point Harbor by 8am. Onboard the R/V Sea Explorer we were given a safety briefing and then we were out to sea to collect water samples off the coast. It was a beautiful clear day so we could see nothing but ocean and shoreline for miles. This was an awe-inspiring experience for a bunch of land-lubbers such as our Colorado group. Once offshore we collected water samples at the surface, 10 meters and 20 meters. We also collected zooplankton to examine when we got back to the harbor. Our ocean-going experience was short but wonderful! Wish we could spend all day on the water! Back at the Ocean Institute we conducted chemical tests on the water collected, examined zooplankton, and tried our hand at driving the ROV (remotely operated vehicle) aboard ship. We were given a tour of the facilities followed by an afternoon of ROV model building and data analysis. What a beautiful place the Ocean Institute is. It’s amazing how many visitors they host yearly…around 120,000! We couldn’t leave the area without exploring the local beach. Found a spot along Laguna Beach to park our car and away we went. Hiked down to the shore to explore some fabulous tide pools just loaded with organisms. Our resident geologist, David, gave us a wonderful explanation of the origin of the rocks and rock layers in the area. We ended our day with a fabulous meal of fish tacos and tostadas at La Brisas restaurant. We were served by Steve, a California native and recovering surfer! He was great! We watched the sunset from the cliffs of Laguna Beach. What a great way to end the day!