Monday, April 30, 2012

Santa Monica, California

Hi Sea Fans!

California is a blast!  I've been having so much fun and there's still so much more to see and do.  Check out my visit to Santa Monica Pier Aquarium:
I got to help out with the food preparation.
 Food prep (Preparation) is one of the most important parts of the day, each animal needs to be fed a specific diet and it needs to be just the right size, otherwise you can have animals starving because they can't fit the food into their mouths!  Some animals, like the seahorses, jellyfish and corals get live food (plankton) but others get dead food.
Tricky working with such a big knife, but it was fun.
Smaller fish get tiny chopped up pieces of food and big fish get bigger chunks.  Some fish are vegetarians or HERBIVORES and they only eat plants so the aquarist needs to feed them plants like Ulva (sea lettuce) or nori (seaweed - like the one you use for sushi but no flavourant, colourant or roasting is allowed, just DRIED).
I got to see all the exhibits inbetween getting some work done too!
The aquarists let me follow them around when they did their daily rounds to check on the animals.  It's really important to check on your animals EVERY makers it a lot easier to pick up on any problems if there are any.
The moray eel seemed to like me! : )
Jose, my host at the aquarium, took me out on the boat to collect organisms like giant kelp.
Jose allowing me to sit in front of him whilst he skippered (drove the boat).

Lucky dip!

After the collection trip, we bumped into some children on the beach.  They were fascinated when they found out that I had come all the way from South Africa!
 I got so cold on the boat that we decided to have a warm up session (any excuse to enjoy a bit of the sunshine and scenery!) by going to Flat Rock in Palos Verdes to check out the rock pools for crabs and snails.
Cool sunglasses, don't you think?

Enjoying the view.
So all in all, it was some good fun and I got to see some more of American aquarist life.  Join me next time for my adventures with the divers at the California Science Centre.

Have a great week Sea Fans!
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Looking for interesting topics for school projects?

Hi Sea Fans!

Are you stuck for a topic for your next project or speech at school?  Well, why not have a look at the list of previous blogs that I've stored away and choose something amazing from the marine/aquarium world!
You can check the more recent blogs out on the right hand side of the blog screen and if you don't find anything there, check out my blog from the 13 March 2012 and the list below.  If you'd like access to any of them, all you have to do is mail me at and I'll get the one you want to you ASAP! 

  • Baby crayfish
  • Crocs
  • Fish head
  • Humans waddling for penguins (Don't forget, if you're in SA, the humans are going to waddle again this year to make people more aware of the plight of the penguin.  16 - 21 April - be there!  Check out
  • Marine Biodiversity at the Expo
  • My update Nov 2011
  • Stinky
So get creative, get reading and have fun with your next project!!
Have a great weekend Sea Fans!
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hatfield Marine Science Centre

Hi Sea Fans!

Here's the next bit of my Oregon adventures:

DAY 3:

Hey, the weather has changed.  All that nice warm sunlight from yesterday has been replaced by clouds, wind, and rain.  Gene says this is normal for the Oregon coast... hmmm, not sure I like this weather.

When we arrived at Hatfield, which is just around the corner from the aquarium, the first thing I saw was this really cool one-person submarine and I ran right over and climbed on top to pose for a photo.

Then Gene pointed out the sign...all I can say is, OOPS! (Sorry, I'll read before I act next time!)

Once inside the centre, I was fascinated by this contraption that looked like a bunch of huge construction hats connected together.  It turned out that they were floats attached to a thing called a "rumbleometer".  It was used to study underwater volcanoes off the coast of Oregon.  

Then I got my picture taken with Gene standing next to a poster that shows the wingspan of an albatross.  Gene is 6 foot 8, and the bird has a wingspan of 6 foot 10.  I suddenly felt very small.  I think I'm going to have to write a blog just on the's an amazing bird that spends most of its time in the sky.

Many of the displays at Hatfield highlight the research being done by scientists at Oregon State University.
Here I am checking out oyster research that is taking place in Yaquina Bay here in Newport.
When we left Hatfield we walked a couple of blocks down to the pier where OSU’s research vessels are docked.  
We saw the R/V Wecoma.  She's about to be retired.
Gene tells me that just two days after I left Newport there was quite a fuss made when Dr. Hanshumaker went diving under the hull of the replacement ship and found an invasive species of barnacle that is not normally found in Yaquina Bay.  Fortunately scientists quickly found out that this barnacle couldn’t survive and reproduce in the bay (shew!  Invasive species can be a real problem, have a look at the Blue Mussel that's made its way down to South Africa, it's taking over the Black Mussel's home).

My last stop on my visit to Oregon was the beautiful Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  Built on a 65 million year-old lava flow back in 1873, the lighthouse is still in service.  Its light is perched 52 m above the ocean and can be seen more than 30 km out to sea.  It had been misty and drizzling all morning, but as we headed north to the lighthouse the wind started to blow hard and the rain was really coming down, so when we got to Yaquina Head, I chose the easy option (I didn't want to get all wet!) and chose to look at the lighthouse from the car window.

Tomorrow I head to the airport to fly to Santa Monica, California.  I hear the weather is warmer and sunny down there.  I enjoyed my visit to Oregon, but I am ready for some of that famous California beach time.  Thanks Gene, I had a great time!  J

Chat soon Sea Fans!
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