Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bye South and Hello North!

Hi Sea Fans!

Unfortunately, I have to love you and leave you South Africans once again, but it's not a sad goodbye really....I get to continue my world travels!

After a fun-filled time, I had to say bye to Ed as he had to go and visit another friend here in SA.  Just before he left for Robben Island, he gave me a present - a pebble.  It's really odd because it has a hole in it so I asked Ed why this was and you know what he told me?  It's a flint pebble from his local beach.  The pebble is what is left of a fossil sponge that was covered in flint.  These fossil flint sponges erode (wear away) from the chalk cliffs and then get broken up by wave action which then leaves pebbles with holes in them - how cool is that!  Now I can wear it as a necklace.

Luckily, I already had a prezzie for him too because I'd hate for him to forget his time here in South Africa!  I got him a keyring at SANCCOB and a piece of abalone shell that I'd picked up during our first outing to the rock pools...you can see our gifts in this photo:

The flint pebble is around my neck and the curved white thing between us is the piece of abalone shell. 
The Two Oceans Aquarium also wanted to help Ed teach everyone back home more about marine pollution and what it's doing to marine life so they're sending him a band that they took off one of the seals in the harbour (who knows, it may even be one they took off while we were there watching!!).

Check out the aquarium's website for a video on how they help the seals: http://www.aquarium.co.za/blog/entry/sappi_seal_platform_on_youtube/

All in all, I think it was a great visit and I can't wait to visit Ed in the UK later in the year.

I hope you all had a relaxing weekend and are having a great week Sea Fans.
Chat soon.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Abby and Ed go to the Two Oceans Aquarium

Hi Sea Fans!

Ed has kept me busy, wow!  We've been running around trying to see as much as possible before I have to travel again.  The latest place we've visited is the aquarium in Cape Town.
Me and Ed at the entrance tank.

We were looking for Nemo! : )

A Box Jellyfish - VERY poisonous!!!

We caught up with Ruth who was feeding and cleaning and  in this pic you can see her switching on the lights for the jelly displays.

Ed liked the Sea Stars.

Dennis showed us what plankton looks like.

And he showed Ed how to use the microscope.

I got to see all sorts of things under the microscope, from barnacles to plankton and shark skin.
The aquarium staff check every morning to see if there are any seals that need help.    So many seals end up with litter caught around their necks and the staff help to free them.  The aquarium has even built a special platform where the seals can pull themselves out and sun themselves...and if they have litter around their necks or are hurt, they can be closed in with a gate and it makes it easier for the staff to help them.  Unfortunately, this morning, the seals weren't on the special platform, but Vince went out to help them anyway.  

Here you can see the seals.

With binoculars, we could see that 2 seals had plastic bands around their necks.

Ed and I watched closely as Vince swam under the dock to help the seals.

Vince getting out afterwards - he unfortunately missed them this time, but he said he'd try again later if they came to lie on the dock (which they should).  So nice to know that people will go out of their way to help marine life!

This is how much litter was found entangled around different seals in ONE WEEK!
After watching Vince, I got the chance to chat to Hayley and the penguins she looks after.

Zuki and I had lots to talk about.

A volunteer cleaning the penguin rock work with a high pressure hose...being watched by the Oyster catchers (black birds on the top left)

Watching the African Penguins being fed was very entertaining.

The staff make sure they know who's who so that they can keep track of how much food each penguin eats.

The Rockhopper Penguins were taken for their daily walk down to their swimming pool so we tagged along.

I got to sit close by when the Rockhoppers were fed.
 Michelle heard we were in the aquarium so she invited us to come and see what she does for the crickets (they're the food for the frogs that she looks after).
Michelle preparing fresh vegetables for her crickets.
We got to look inside the cricket boxes.

Baby crickets with their food and water.

Bigger crickets.

Ed checking out Teddy the Western Leopard Toad who was going to be fed some of the crickets.
 Kevin heard we were at the aquarium too and so he showed us how he does the water quality testing.  He tests the water every day to make sure that it is the correct temperature, there's enough oxygen and that the water is the correct pH (this means that the water is not too acidic.  Remember: Lemon juice is acidic so it would have a low pH.).  Aquarists have a lot of work they need to get done in one day, it's not just about feeding and cleaning.


Kevin also showed me one of the turtles he's busy rehabilitating (making better).  It came in very dehydrated (needing water) and had wounds on its flippers but now it's fattened up and looking MUCH better.

The rehab turtle.
Gibbo then showed us the baby stingrays he was acclimatising (getting them used to the water in the exhibit they were moving to).
Cute stingrays!

The fish from Tristan da Cunha (a remote island) that live in the exhibit where the baby stingrays were going to go.
Then we continued with our walk around the exhibits...
This was the biggest lobster I'd ever seen!

A cold water anemone that I thought was very pretty.

Ed watching the native river fish in the ecosystem exhibit.

The Kelp tank - I think this is only one of 2 in the whole world!
Ed was fascinated with the variety of fish in the Kelp Tank.
We ended our visit at the touch tank.  Here you can see Sea Stars and a chiton on the same rock.
 So if you're looking for something interesting to do in Cape Town the next time you visit, why not give the aquarium a visit, it's well worth it!

Have a great week Sea Fans.
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Abby and Ed go to SANCCOB

Hi Sea Fans!

Ed and I have been having so much fun, we've seen so much and met such amazing people and animals!  SANCCOB (The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) was our second stop.  This is a seabird rehabilitation centre where they look after injured and sick seabirds.
Me and Ed at SANCCOB.

We got to watch the volunteers feeding the sickly penguins.  This is where we met Paddy the paper penguin who is also visiting from the UK.

Ed, Paddy and I got up close with a gull that was brought in  by a family that had hand-raised him and now couldn't look after him anymore.  Please Sea Fans, don't try and keep wild animals as pets.

We met Baby, the resident cormorant.

Another volunteer, Jenny, allowed us to get up close during the feeding of "Home Pen" which is where the birds that can't be released back into the wild are kept for educating the public.  Here, Jenny is feeding Baby.

Chaos!  Penguins can be greedy! : )

Nola, the vet at SANCCOB, invited us to look at some blood smears from the penguins under the microscope.  They check the penguins' blood every week to check on their progress (make sure they're getting better) so that they can release them back into the wild as soon as possible.

Margaret (Marketing Lady at SANCCOB), Paddy, Ed, Me and Heidi.
It's a great place to visit and you know Sea Fans, you can volunteer at SANCCOB and help the birds...if you don't feel like getting fishy, you can donate money to them and help them look after the seabirds that are hurt or sick or  ... you can even adopt a penguin!

SANCCOB was established (started) in 1968 and they've treated over 85 000 birds since then!  Many of those birds were during the Treasure Oil Spill in 2000.  If you want to find out more about SANCCOB, go to their website at www.sanccob.co.za.

Have a great week Sea Fans.
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ed the Bear

Hi Sea Fans!

I was in such a rush with the last blog that I didn't even give you much info on Ed so I thought I'd better let him speak for himself.  Here's what he had to say:

"I have always found the oceans fascinating and love to go tide pooling and beachcombing. I have heard about the terrible damage that pollution and global warming are doing to the world's oceans which is very worrying. So I have decided to go on an expedition to see for myself and raise awareness by reporting on what I find out. I hope also to experience some of the oceans beautiful and amazing wildlife before it is too late. I hope you will join me, Ed the Bear, on my adventures."

If you want to check out what he does, go to www.adventuresofedthebear.blogspot.com

Have a great weekend Sea Fans and chat to you soon!
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Monday, January 16, 2012

South African pitstop

Hi Sea Fans!

I'm just waiting for photos from my last stop in Alaska and then I can update you as to what went on there.  In the mean time, I thought I'd tell you a little about what I've been able to do here at home.  (I got to come back for a quick visit between Alaska and the US).

I'm not sure how many of you know Ed the Bear, but he's from the UK and he's been checking out the damage us humans have been doing to the oceans and marine life through littering (Google: The Adventures of Ed the Bear).  You won't believe the kinds of marine litter/rubbish there is on the beaches he's visited in the UK and the USA.  I chatted to him last year to find out more and in doing that, we got to know each other and decided to meet up. 

Ed and I discussing where I would take him in the Western Cape.
This means that I'll go and visit Ed in the UK and...Ed's come to SA for a visit!!  It's been so much fun, he's hardly been here and we've already been to the rock pools up at Grotto Bay to see what we could find in the rock pools (unfortunately, the sea mist came in so we didn't get to see much of a view and we couldn't go too far out onto the rocks)
Ed checking out the vegetation growin gon the rocks by the sea.

One of the cool plants that grow inbetween the rocks at Grotto Bay.

The pretty pink flowers that grow next to the rocks at Grotto Bay.

Ed checking out the view at Grotto Bay - or what there was left of it with all the mist.

Ed seeing what he could find in the rock pools.

You can only just make out the Cormorants on the rocks.

A minute crayfish tail that we found inbetween the rocks.
and on the beach. 

Me on Melkbos beach.
We've also been to the beaches nearby to check out what had washed up on the beach with the strong winds we had recently. (AARGH!  My camera is acting up!!!  I'll have to post pics later, it's just not working...maybe because it's so hot.)  We've still got an aquarium visit, SANCCOB (Seabird Rehab Centre) visit and lots more to come so keep an eye on my blog, I'll keep you up to date!

Have a great week Sea Fans!
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