Thursday, September 10, 2009
My favorite time on Saturday mornings during my weekly volunteer shift at the Aquarium of the Pacific is the hour just after the Aquarium opens and just before the majority of our guests arrive. This week’s blog includes a short point-of-view video shot last Saturday via a “volunteer-cam” in an attempt to share with you, the reader, a bit of the magic of that first hour of the day.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
“Why are the blue whales here?” is a common question I get while working on the boat. The answer I most often reply with is “They’re here because they’re feeding on krill which is a small, shrimp-like animal.” Typically the krill they eat are pretty deep, around 500 feet or so, but I always mention how on rare occasions the krill are at the surface and the blue whales will lunge feed at the surface. I’ve never seen it done … until now!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
No matter what part of the country my business travels may take me during the workweek, be it the urban maze of New York, the wilds of Alaska, the mountains of Colorado or the swamps of the Carolinas, I’ve always made it a point of getting back to Southern California in time to cover my Saturday volunteer shift at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Sometimes it’s meant taking a late red-eye flight or finding an unusual connection through tiny airports but somehow the majority of the times I’ve managed to make it back to cover my shift. In fact this month I’ve recorded my 5000th hour as a volunteer at the Aquarium.
To commemorate this personal milestone this week’s blog is a list of the top ten reasons why I’ve volunteered so many hours to the Aquarium.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The past few weeks, we’ve been seeing a decent number of cow/calf pairs of blue whales. Just recently I got word that a calf was seen nursing! Now even though I haven’t witnessed this with blue whales myself, I did recently get to see beluga whales nursing!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
One of my newer duties at the Aquarium of the Pacific is to work with the sea otters in their home in the Northern Pacific Gallery. As I build my relationship with the otters and learn more about their personalities, I am beginning to interact with them using some of the more important husbandry behaviors that allows the staff to check over the animals health. Husbandry behaviors are behaviors that are taught to an animal to allow their human caretakers to monitor their health without causing undo stress.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
One of the wonderful benefits of aquariums and zoos is that they allow some rescued wildlife a second chance at life. I at one time spent over a decade rescuing and rehabilitating wild marine mammals, so I know first hand that without these institutions many critters might have a disability or personality traits that would keep them from making it in the wild.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Just the other day I was talking to Alicia, my whale watching partner, and we were discussing how I haven’t seen any Risso’s dolphins this summer. Risso’s dolphins are usually here all summer long, and it’s not uncommon to see them on a trip when we’re looking for blue whales. Well I guess the Risso’s dolphins heard me because that’s all I’ve seen the last couple of days. More than I’ve EVER seen, and even better, they were mingling with bottlenose dolphins!!!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Just like human kids, young sea lions have a lot of energy. Because of this, the trainers at the Aquarium of the Pacific are teaching our young sea lions high energy behaviors to keep them mentally and physically fit.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Although the blue whales aren’t here every day yet, I’ve already seen a pretty rare sighting for this season…a mother and baby blue whale, also called a cow/calf pair. Last September, which is the end of our typical blue whale watching season, I got a call from one of the captains from the boats we tour with and he told me he saw a cow/calf pair of blues. I was so excited! I’d been out so many times all summer and never heard of any reports for a cow/calf pair! How amazing! I got out on the boat and spent two days with them before they continued on their way. That had to be one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. And now here we are at the very beginning of the season, and I’m seeing a cow/calf pair already. How exciting!!
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Southern Sea Otters, aka California Sea Otters, like the one’s on exhibit at the Aquarium of the Pacific, never experience snow or ice in their natural habitat. Just like native Southern Californian going up to the mountains to experience a real winter for the first time, romping around ice and snow holds a strange fascination for Southern sea otters. This week’s video includes a cute video of one of our otters playing in a patch of ice.