Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The aquatic connection - restored

Had been a month or so since I started my travel, and since havent done anything aquatic. Sure did have the beaches of Santa cruz and the small tide pools with not much aquatic life. But being surrounded by fish and anything that's aquatic is where I feel my "calm sanctuary".

The Christmas long weekend landed me at San Diego after long queues at the airport. A couple of days it was family time with me spending time with my cousin and brother-in-law and the kids.

Sea world, San Diego had been on my list of must-see for a while. Checked out their website for park timings, and on Saturday morning landed sharp @ 9AM with crowds already beginning to build up. With it being the day after Christmas, had expected large crowds, but more to come later.

Started off with the Dolphin viewing area. Viewing them is such a calming experience.

Spoke to the Staff about them, this park has bred numerous Dolphins and Pilot whales in captivity, which is nice!
Spent a few minutes there and moved onto the "Shamu stadium" where the Killer whales and Dolphins perform.

They (the creatures and their handlers) were busy practising.

Was fascinating watching the trust they have on each other.

The dolphins simply are such enthusiastic creatures, they have tons of energy and joy.

Watching me admire the dolphins, one of the handlers invited me over to interact with the Dolphins. Petted them on their foreheads. One of the Dolphins (I forget her name now) took an instant liking for me and kept returning to me. Would take strong circles and come back to me, and nudge water towards me while making happy clicks...truly a magical experience. The handler was herself surprised that she connected so well. That one moment just filled me with so much joy. No wonder Dolphins are used in many therapies (speech and movement impairment)

Moved back out of the pool area into the spectator's arena while the crowds began "pouring in".

Soon it was time for the aquatic acrobats to enthrall the audience. Somersaults, well directed splashes towards the public...they had it all.

The Orca doing a roll :D

Talk about flying!

BTW, the first 20 rows are labeled "Soak zone" :D

Kids and adults both thoroughly enjoyed the show. What it also did was send out the "Believe" message and I'm sure that's quite a big thing for young minds, many of whom I'm sure would have been touched deep.

Awed by their performance, moved on to the next destination.
The maps provided are well marked and I knew where I was headed next...the AQUARIUM :) !!

Being around Fish felt great. Had taken both my Sony H2 as well as the new Canon 450D and just let them loose :D Felt great getting back into my "zone"

Clicking in a public aquarium is kinda tricky
1. They generally have Fiber glass instead of glass which means using Flash becomes painful.
2. The HUGE crowd, everytime I turned I bumped someone!

Some shots of the salty kind.

The inquisitive one :)

The lionfish is always a treat to click!

The cuttlefish are captivating with their movement and the way they "Watch" you.

The moon jellies and their dreamy moves

Also had a few coldwater fish on show.

Some large ones

Next on was the Freshwater aquarium. Most of the large fish there were rescues.

The africans

Then spotted our own Puntius denisonii, the kerala beauty and I sorta swelled with pride a bit :P
The brackish system had the archers and also the "four eyed" fish.

A few assorted ones and then the nicely lit Rainbow tank

The Piranha tank

Tried a macro with the kit lens

Also had some HUGE Arapima gigas with the regular tank busters.

The Large Datnoid was a treat :)

The electric eel

Wanted to explore more, and went to the Dolphin interaction area....the trained dolphins would go around the pool playing with the kids. Everyone truly enjoyed splashing water towards them to which they would open their mouths.

Then it was Sea lion time, they had the normal as well as the leopard seals housed.

Watched the "show", was nice fun with them dancing to the tunes. The sea otter was way too cute! The albino Walrus was a treat :)

A small video I recorded, Hilarious!!

The arctic connection was nice with the Penguins and other creatures. This is one of the few parks to have the Emperor penguins.

The Polar bear and the Beluga whale displays were next. The way the Beluga moves is spell binding. Almost like a mermaid forgotten in time.

Moved on to the Shark connection with the Hammerheads, leopard sharks and a few others.

Then it was back out in the open towards the Flamingos. Like them a lot, pity that I could not get to them in daylight (yeah had spent almost the whole day with the fishy ones :D ). Plus it gets dark by 4:45PM :(

The ducks do come in for a free snack

Almost fell over into the pond trying to take this closeup with a 18-55mm lens.

Oh and when I was there also took a few "flower" shots :P

Surprisingly was not tired even though I'd been on my feet for close to 8 hours. Guess the excitement and contentment maybe drowned it out somewhere :)

Thus ended the fulfilling day where I felt the "aquatic touch" back again.
Made me miss my fishies back home all the more :|

Well...if I have "missed out" any of the shots :P you can see them at -