A whale of a weekend – Saturday

IMG_3475Saturday’s ingredients: three hours of time, 17 kids aged 7-11 years, 96 crayons, six little pallets of paint, brushes, water, textas (markers), coloured pencils, lead pencils art paper, newspaper, rocks, clam shells, driftwood, two optimistic Australians (us), three nervous Californians (Story Lab coordinator Sally Helm and her visiting parents Cathy and Mark), a chapel with nice clean carpet and a life-sized blow up kangaroo.IMG_3421

Yes, it was “Whale Dreams”, our creativity workshop open to Sitka kids, run with Sitka Story Lab. Our plan was to get kids sharing whale stories through art and writing (with some dancing, singing and a bit of yelling thrown in). Crikey the Kangaroo helped establish some ground rules and we taught the kids a few Australian greetings and the bush call “Coo-ee”, (which became a handy IMG_3426form of crowd control).

We began sharing tales and dreams of Migaloo, the famed white humpback, the spirit whale, of Australia. I’d forgotten that the first known human sighting (and photographing) of Migaloo was actually at Byron Bay, back in the early 1990s. And in 2011, a white humpback calf was also spotted – possibly Migaloo’s offspring. The kids were fascinated by Migaloo and happy to get into drawing and painting what would happen in their own dream of Migaloo.

We created an underwater soundscape using IMG_3468rocks, shells, wood and voices (plus a recording of Migaloo himself) and then kids started writing their own Migaloo adventures – when Australia’s white whale travels to Sitka, who does he meet and what do they do? Interspersed with some running games out on the wet spongy lawn (a few went home with muddy pants), some songs, some snacks, and several Crikey rescues when it looked like our inflatable friend might not survive attempts to box with him.IMG_3430

The outcome: great pictures and stories of whales (and some other interesting creatures), two exhausted teachers, three relieved Californians, 14 kids with fluffy kangaroo key rings (only remembered to distribute once they’d started leaving – sorry to those who missed out!), a chapel with nicely cleaned carpet and an intact inflatable kangaroo.

In true Australian form (funny how you turn into an Australian when you leave the shores), Carol and I headed straight to the pub for beer (me), wine (Carol), burgers and fries (both of us) and friendly greetings (Crikey).

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IMG_2571with crikey

About Jesse Blackadder

Living at the easternmost tip of Australia on the caldera of an extinct volcano, Jesse Blackadder is a novelist, freelance writer and Doctor of Creative Arts. She is fascinated by landscapes, adventurous women and very cold places and has published three adult novels and three novels for children.
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3 Responses to A whale of a weekend – Saturday

  1. Wonderful Jess… what a magic time you are having… Thank you for sharing.

    I wrote a page long blog back to you in the comments section of your previous Sitka (Northern Lights etc) post a week ago… and promptly lost the whole thing when I had to submit my log in details… growwll!!!

    Beautiful images, amazing experiences, company… it all sounds so perfect (except my feet would need ore than cake to get their colour back…. I’m dreaming of Jesse’s chai!!! :-))

    Your next book will no doubt be amazing with all of this magic under your belt…

    I loved Crikey, too, but alcohol seems to have altered him into something very scary in the most recent pic of him! 🙂

    Thank you for beaming me off to the West Coast of Canada and Alaska… It takes me back to my trip a little south of there 2 years ago… but your Northern Lights were colourful, and ours was but a wee wisp of white…

    Big, warming hugs, wonderful Jesse. I’m reworking my way back into tenor, now that there are ample Sops back on site 🙂 (((((((hug)))))))

  2. Julie Edwards says:

    It still all very amazing and you both look like your having the time of your lives , what an awsome experience well lots of them actually , hope your both we’ll continue to enjoy the ride , Jess hope Andi is doing ok , let her know to pop in if she likes feels like a cuppa or a chat and I found the Berlin wall I have . …. Weahter here looks like being horrendous over the next few days check out the weather bom cyclone heading our way up to 500 mls of rain due over Thursday Friday , so many warnings , we are good lee and I head to Melbourne Saturday if we get out with the weather we are to get , fingers crossed for our anniversary , great ocean road trip etc , anyway look forward to all your tales when you get home and tell cas 2015 is the year we get to see her luv Julie xxx

  3. calmackinnon says:

    Crikey looks to be the life of the party 🙂

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