Monday, October 29, 2012

Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, Canada

Hi Sea Fans!

I hope you've all had a great weekend and I'm sure you're looking forward to the week ahead.  Well, I'll tell you, I'm loving weekends and week days at the moment with all the fun I'm having.  America and Canada are awesome! My latest stop on my travels around the world was Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre (SODC) in Canada.  Let me show you some photos and tell you a bit more and you'll see why I'm having so much fun:

Paula invited me to stay with her for a few days and show me around where she works.  I got to meet SODC's baby wolf eels that are only 7 months old!  How cute are they?!   When wolf eels are young, they're brightly coloured so that they look different to the adults who are grey. (Quite a few animals do this to prevent them from being fought with). The babies are pelagic (they swim in the open ocean) for up to 2 years and feed on hard shelled invertebrates (Remember the invertebrates are the animals without a backbone).

I got to meet Steve, their Giant Pacific Octopus or GPO for short.  Steve gets enrichment (stimulation so that he doesn't get bored ) and interacts with the aquarists everyday.  The octopus I used to work with got enrichment in the form of a hamster ball with his food inside and he had to figure out how to open it - either he'd twist it open or if we taped the two halves  together, he'd figure out how to open the little trap door on the top.  An octopus is a very clever animal!

I got to chat to Steve and watch him being fed.
Paula also took me out on a field trip to the Cowichan Bay Nature Centre.  This is where I got to make a new friend, Anna and both of us got to learn more about the animals that live in an estuary.  (The estuary is where a river and the sea meet, making fresh and salt water mix.)

My new friend Annie and me.
On my last day there, I got to drive an ROV!  What's that you ask?  Well, it's a remote operated vehicle, which means that it's like a remote control car but even better!!!  Scientists use ROV's to go discovering at depths in the sea where they can't go.  Normal sport diving allows you to go down to a maximum depth of  30m, special commercial divers can go to 50m...these are depths to which they can dive breathing air.  Deeper than that they have to start breathing a mixture of gases and diving becomes a whole lot more complicated and dangerous!
The ROV.  The way to see the sea floor without getting wet!
The controls that stay at the surface whilst the ROV goes underwater.  I got to see some cool Rockfish with the ROV.
So that was the end of my Canadian part of my adventure.  I loved it and would go back to see that beautiful country and the friendly people any day!  Thanks for having me Paula and SODC!!

Have a great week Sea Fans.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fun crafts

Hi Sea Fans!

I've just found some really cool ideas on the internet again for crafts, have a look:

Water bottle (recycled) penguins from  Creative Preschool Resources (Heather).

Lobster origami from Origami Madness (John Montroll).

Jellyfish plates from Creative Preschool Resources (Heather)>
I love these ideas and I thought you may want to try them or...hopefully they spark some new ideas!  I often get inspired by other people's art and crafts, it gets the creative juices flowing and is SO much better than just copying other people's work.  I wanted to make a gift recently and was inspired to make these table weights:
They're very simple.  All you need is metal clips with loops on (the loop goes into the plaster of paris to hold the clip in place), plaster of paris, paint, chocolate moulds and varnish.  Try it, I had loads of fun!!!

Have fun Sea Fans!
}( *)8

Monday, October 8, 2012

Training fun

Hi Sea Fans!

I just have to share these cool pictures with you.  Friends of mine who train the animals at the Dubai Aquarium have managed to really enrich their animals' lives (make it more interesting) as well as the presentations for the public.  Have a look:

Dennis with a nutria (Giant Water Rat).

Dennis with an otter.

Gam with the nutria.

Gam with a nutria.
Training helps the aquarists to look after the animals.  Doing physical examinations of the animal's body is a lot easier if it has been trained to accept being touched by humans.  Giving the animals medication also becomes a lot easier.  It's not just for their physical health, but training also helps with boredom...mental stimulation is good for everyone!

Trained animals (not like in the circus mind you!) ensure that the job also becomes safer - for the animals and the humans - because there is no stress involved in the day to day activities.

If you'd like to know more about training, have a look in the archives on the right side of my website where I interviewed Gabby the dolphin trainer.  Otherwise, you can contact me through commenting on this page or e-mailing me at:  I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great week Sea Fans!
}( *)8