Busy day. I started volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium today, a process that will involve a number of weekend days of training before I actually get on the floor teaching. Yes, this will look good on a resume, and it will be fun, but those are really distant motivations to the primary: just enjoying the creation around me, and celebrating God's work in it. And it will be nice to have something more regular as well.
They let us roam around the floor to learn and observe for about an hour. Next time I'll be wise and bring my camera. Some very cool stuff here, including a Giant Pacific Octopus, in the past involved in some very tragic circumstances:
Also harbor seals, fur seals, sea otters, and freshwater otters. Although of course marine species are superior in all respects, the freshwater otters are so cute! They were cuddled together on a ledge right next to the window. The sea otters were hard to observe, as they moved around in the water so often, porpoising. The fur seals engaged in classic sunbathing, floating on top of the water, with only the occasional pectoral flipper waving in the air.
There are a number of touch tanks as well, and one No-Touch tank with actual live seapens- a rarity to observe so close, especially without glass inbetween you and the animal. I saw my first cuttlefish alive in another tank, and particularly enjoyed the Tropical Pacific Tank, with a wide variety of species, mostly recognizable from my days in Hawaii. Just seeing the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a go aswimming by brings a warm feeling to the soul. That tank had some smaller sharks, only about 3 feet long, and the largest Diodon hystrix I've ever seen! The porcupinefish had to be about two and a half feet long, very robust, and I was told they expect it to grow by another foot at least. Initially it had puffed up when it was first brought into the tank and was scared, but it had calmed down since then, and no longer puffed up.
The Seattle Aquarium also has a large Northwest species area for temperate fish, and an ingenious salmon ladder, where salmon fry were once released into the ocean, to return a few years later for eventual supersenescence and breeding. But Fish & Game said that the program wasn't bringing in enough offspring from the previous generation, and shut it down. Besides they had to pump out a huge amount of fresh water to make that work, so it was very costly.
I had only a limited time to simply catch the barest glimpse of all the exhibits. One could just sit for hours and hours, contemplating all the wonder around you there. But I have miles to go before I sleep- and a Barack Obama campaign strategizing session to get to at 1345.