Thursday, January 6, 2011

Adventures in Sydney Aquarium Wonderland Part I

I'm entertaining my friend Cat from the USA who I've known for over 15 years but only met in person less than a week ago. She used to work as a Marketing Manager for Warp Graphics who published WaveDancers back in the mid 90s. Jozef, Bruce (ex-BMP partner and co-writer) and I hit it off with her then and we've kept in touch through triumph and tragedy and become FaceBook buddies. She's only got nine days here and yesterday we devoted an afternoon to the Sydney Aquarium.

I hadn't been for a long time so I was surprised at how deceptive it was in size. The entry looks quite small but actually hides a labyrinth of rooms, alcoves, passageways, tunnels and both miniature and giant tanks. It actually took us four hours to make our way through from top to bottom and the only thing we missed through either a wrong turn or a miss was the glass bottom boat. Next time ...

However, we found the aquarium to be magical. There was smaller tanks for marine exhibits such as the moray eels which hid in a bundle of pipes and larger tanks for an abundance of tropical fish like the Barrier Reef exhibit that also held wonderful coral and anemone life. Some of my favourites included the moon jellyfish, upside down jellyfish (which looked like giant snowflakes if you looked at them from the top), the gropers and giant cods, the glorious weedy sea dragon and elegant seahorses, the wise and all knowing octopus who I could have stayed and watched for ages (as well as its relative the cuttlefish), the wobbegong sharks in the giant shark tank, and, of course, the wonderful dugongs, which we covered in a previous post. (Still can't believe it took me two years to get here!)

The entryway to the dugong tank was a ramp that led you through a lovely mermaid meets dugong mural (see attached images) and then into a large tank which you could view from the top and also from the bottom. Dugongs feed on sea grasses from the ocean floor which are difficult to harvest and also disturb the environment. The nearest equivalent and yummiest plant life is the tried and true cos (romaine) lettuce. The leaves are threaded into square plates with grids in them and then lowered to the bottom. The dugongs swim down to feed, as well as multiple fish.

The dugongs were a delight – one male (Pig) and one female (Wuru). Their tails and fins were indeed mermaid-like and their gentle faces looked as though they were smiling. There was a lovely peaceful energy about them. Check out the pics in Part 2 of this post.

The whole experience made me want to get back into the water and start snorkelling and diving again (though I'd have to go back and do another scuba course from scratch because I've forgotten pretty much everything).

Here's more info about the Sydney Aquarium, and if you want to adopt an ocean creature then choose from the dugong, saltwater crocodile, marine turtle, clownfish (as in Finding Nemo), grey nurse shark, little / fairy penguin, the wonderful platypus, and white's seahorse.

Blessed are Australian waters indeed!

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