Ok, so my day today was something out of a fantasy book! I started the day off working with the penguins and today’s interns and volunteers. As many people might know the last movie in the Harry Potter series came out today (i.e. at midnight), and, in honor of that we all assigned ourselves characters and were known as those characters for the rest of the day. AND THEN we went in and fed the penguins and cleaned their exhibit. I worked with the African penguins today, and there are over 60 of them! It was crazy! I’m very impressed that the interns know all of their bracelets and can keep them straight. Once we were finished with the penguins I had to help wash fish buckets, shower-off, grab something to eat, wave hello to my mom and grandma, run upstairs to the Giant Ocean Tank staff room, set-up my scuba gear, pull-on my Aqualung 3mm, then set-up my Gates and Olympus cameras! By then I had a few minutes to teach Paul how to use my cameras so we could each have one, and then we were putting our fins on for dive number two in the GOT!
Can I just say, whoever invented cameras is a GENIUS! Paul and I switched-off using my Gates video camera and Olympus camera for stills, and got some fantastic shots and footage! I am SOOO glad that I had the cameras! The dive was amazing. I got a lot of close-ups of the critters, including some of the sharks! They were RIGHT next to me! I had a lot of fun waving at kids and my mom and grandma on the other side of the glass, and Myrtle even came down to get her back rubbed again! Paul caught it on video! We also went down to one of the places that pumps water into the tank, and sprinkled fistfuls of sand over it, causing the sand to shoot out in a cloud and float back to the bottom.
BUT, it turns out that the fish and rays really like the feeling of the sand against their scales, so they would come over to get a “shower.” It was pretty fun, and they would get really close. While we were giving them there shower I found a sand toger shark tooth! A big, whole one! I was so excited that I swam up to the glass and showed my mom, grandma, a little boy, and his mom! They got really excited too, and actually came up and met me when I got out of the tank! The little boy was so happy, that I gave him one of the teeth. It was an awesome dive!
Once I got out of the tank though, it was time to jump back into the swing of things. I had to break down all my gear and cameras, get out of my 3mm, run down to Penguins, help sort fish, get back into that wetsuit (the penguin water is MUCH colder), and then it was round two of penguins! This time though, I brought my little Olympus camera into the exhibit to take some pictures. Oh.My. Gosh. The penguins thought it was better than fresh fish! Especially the juvenile Africans!
They were swimming all around me, trying to tug and peck at the camera. Thankfully the housing protected it very well, and I was able to fend them off by pushing them away gently with my arms. BUT, it did allow me to get some pretty great shots and even a few little videos. When it was time to get out, I didn’t want to leave, and the penguins didn’t want to let me! However, I did have to get out, take my final shower, and say all of my goodbye’s and thank you’s. Then it was time to fade back into the civilian world with a whole new appreciation for how everyone works together to make this world go round. I’m definitely going to miss the aquarium and everything that comes with it, but I’m excited to head to NC and spend a week working with the Divers Alert Network. And so we go! 😀