Aquarium Days 4 & 5

On Friday, I started the day helping Jaime with food prep again. This time I got to prepare food for the sharks and needlefish and Puffy and Fugu as well as several others. One of responsibilities was “squid tentacles” where one pulls off a frozen squids head, rips out the beak, then cuts off the tentacles for the smaller fish of the GOT. Once all the food was prepared we started the surface feeds again. I got to feed Puffy and Fugu again. They are my favorite fish in the GOT because they are quite possibly the cutest fish ever to live. They have giant eyes and big lips and they swim up to the platform and stare at you when they are hungry. They also suck the squid out of your hands like a vacuum. The morning went as my other mornings at the GOT had gone, alternately scrubbing and feeding. When you are feeding Myrtle or the other fish amny visitors ask all sorts of questions, from “How come the sharks don’t eat those guys?” to “Does that turtle ever bite you?” It’s fun to interact with the public since they are so curious about all the critters in the tank. After lunch, I geared up for the 1:15 dive again, making the plunge into a wonderland of fish. This time the angels were intensely curious about me and bit my hair frequently. I attracted several gray angels and a queen angel, but they all turned their backs on me once I started scrubbing in ernest, since it mucks up the water so much. Again, the 50 minutes underwater went by quickly until it was time to get out. Then I had to haul tail to rip off my wetsuit, head down to penguins, pull on another wetsuit and then participate in the 2:30 feed. To my surprise, I found out I would actually be feeding the rockhoppers. This was lots of fun, watching all of the birds jockeying for position. They ate a ton on Friday, each penguin had at least 8 fish, and Eudyptes, the chubby guy that sits on top of the rock ate 15. Some of the penguins are slightly blind and go for your fingers instead of the fish, which tended to be a little painful. After the feed, we scrubbed algae and doodlebuged for the rest of the afternoon. After getting out of the water, there were just a few buckets to wash before heading home. On my last day, I started out the morning with Penguins, helping with the African feed and scrubbing out the penguin caves where several pairs were nesting. Then we doodlebuged and algae scrubbed again for a while before coming in for lunch. After lunch I again geared up, this time for my last dive in the Great Ocean tank. It was fun as usual, with the sharks swimming closer than they had before (slightly unnerving) and several run ins with the highly territorial chromis. I scrubbed algae like a pro until again it was time to get out. I helped out with the scrubbing and the 2:30 feed before going down to Penguins to meet with Paul. As a treat on my last day I got to see the chicks. There was one full sized rockhopper chick, still covered in downy fur and looking extremely adorable. There was also one tiny African that had just hatched and was still nestled firmly under his mother and next to his sibling still in it’s egg. There was another African chick in the process of hatching, it had been hard at work breaking out of it’s shell for more than a day, but still had a ways to go. Seeing the chicks was a really neat way to end my experience at the aquarium. I left happy and with some new knowledge of what it’s like to work in animal husbandry.