Aquarium Days 2 & 3

For my second day at the aquarium, I was sent up to Divers to help Jaime and Amy with food prep. It consisted of pulling out and preparing many, many pounds of fish, squid, krill, plankton, and shrimp for the various animals in the GOT. I was shocked by how picky some of the fish must be since I had to de-beak and remove the pens from every squid, de-tail the srimp, and pop the swim bladders of the smelt. Many pounds of fish are also chopped up to scatter in the lower parts of the GOT. The reason the food is prepared in so many varieties is so that the maximum number of fish can get a healthy meal at each feeding, since they all eat food of different sizes. After the morning food prep I got to feed Myrtle at the 10:30 feeding. She has an extremely healthy apettite. At this particular feeding she ate a head of lettuce and about a pound of fish gel and fish and squid. After the 10:30 feeding we returned to the food room and did dishes for a considerable amount of time, then returned to the platform to do another feed at 11:30. I fed Myrtle again, she consumed another two heads of lettuce. At each feed, divers enter the water and target feed certain groups of fish, like the sharks, or angels or rays. After that feeding it was lunch time. After lunch it was back to scrubbing dishes and feeding Myrtle or the puffer fish, Puffy and Fugu, or the needlefish or lookdowns. In fact, the whole day vanished quickly with all the scrubbing and feeding. Soon enough, it was time to go home and get ready for the next day, when I would be diving. On Thursday I arrived at the aquarium and spent the morning with the penguin people. I assisted with the recording on the feed, and then busted out the Virkon and started scrubbing again. My mom came to see me at the aquarium and was really excited to watch the penguins come up and nip me while I scrubbed. The penguins are a bit of a riot, they express their curiosity by biting you, wherever you are most accesible. This is why it’s a good idea to wear a wetsuit. After scrubbing for an extended period of time, the lunch hour had arrived, and I went out to eat with my mom. Upon returning, I started to gear up for the 1:15 dive with Mike the volunteer and Jaime, and intern from UNC-Chapel Hill. Before I knew it we were standing on the platform, in front of tons of people pulling out all the algae scrubbing brushes needed for the dive. The 1:15 dive is always a maintenance dive, so mostly algae is scrubbed off the windows and reef. After stepping into the water I was again transported to the carribean reef, only this time, my job was to clean it, so I got strait to scrubbing a spot on the reef. Many angel fish came to investigate my movements as well as a Kemps Ridley sea turtle who landed on my head. A few of the other turtle came to investigate by bumping into me. The sharks were a bit of a shock each time they swam by, teeth bared. Before I knew it the dive was over and it was time to ascend. After hauling myself ungracefully up the ladder, it was back to scrubbing out buckets in the food room. I passed the rest of the day at divers feeding Myrtle and helping with the never ending cleaning. However Mike is a fiend at cleaning and everything in the food room was sparkling by 4:30, which meant we got to leave early!