Thursday, October 08, 2015
An anthropomorphic look at some of the antics of the aquarium animals
This week I’d like to share a few anthropomorphic video shorts of some of the critters at the aquarium. A sea lion doing his best Chris Paul imitations with a basketball. Charlie the sea otter trying to take a good selfie. And even what happens after two penguins get romantically involved.
If you’ve ever seen me during one of my husbandry volunteer shifts you may have noticed that I always have a camera on my belt. The critters at the aquarium from the smallest cephalopod to the largest sea lions can be quite entertaining to watch at times. I like having the ability to catch these sometimes serendipitous moments with a camera. You could do a very cool reality TV show by just hanging around during some of my volunteer shifts with the critters. It’s quite fun to watch what they do during the day. Like the reaction of the two youngest aquarium sea otters, Chloe and Betty, when they meet the youngest aquarium penguin, Lily, for the first time. Check out the video to see this interaction!
Thursday, September 24, 2015
There is a lot of work that goes on before the doors open to the public each morning at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Hours before opening the staff is already hard at work getting the Aquarium ready for another day of welcoming guests to the world of the Pacific Ocean. Touch tanks and other guest areas are prepared. Viewing glass to the exhibits are cleaned. Divers clean the watery realms of the aquarium. Otters and other hungry critters get their first meals of the day. A lot of hard work is done by dozens of dedicated staff before the first visitor enter the Great Hall and the rest of the Aquarium.
Check out the time-lapse video of some of the pre-opening work that is done to make sure our guests have a wonderful experience at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
A Sea Otter with a Selfie Stick?
What happens when you place a GoPro on one of the sea otter’s target poles? Why you create an otter selfie stick!
One of the neat benefits of being a long time husbandry volunteer at the Aquarium of the Pacific is coming up with new ways to interact with the critters. One day I saw a shirt in the Aquarium’s gift store that had a cartoon drawing of a sea otter taking a selfie picture. Of course I bought a shirt for myself. I also thought about what it would actually look like if a real sea otter actually did use a selfie stick to take a picture of itself.
The gap in my mind between thinking of something and actually doing about it is very narrow. It wasn’t very long after that I started to get Charlie the sea otter used to being around a GoPro on a target pole. Charlie along with being one of the oldest sea otters around is also one of the most good natured otters and quick to pick up on new things. Charlie and I have been part of the Aquarium of the Pacific since the day it opened to the public in 1998 so it felt fitting to work towards having a selfie taken with him. As for the tools we used; a target pole is just a pole with a plastic buoy on one end that an animal is trained using positive reinforcement to follow and touch. In the case of the sea otters at the Aquarium they can touch the buoy end with their noses or hold it with their paws to receive their reward of clam and shrimp. I used a GoPro as opposed to a cell phone or regular camera as it looked almost like just another buoy on the pole and is also waterproof for the underwater selfies. The idea was that Charlie would hold one end of the pole with the GoPro mounted further up on the pole to mimic the view point of a camera on a selfie stick. I would be on the other end of the pole holding it steady.
Check out the results. They actually do look like Charlie is taking selfies of himself. He even has a shot of himself diving underwater! You can list this under “Fun with Sea Otters”.
Thursday, September 03, 2015
Even though the Summer is now winding down, according to all the amazing sightings on our recent whale watches and the breathtaking photos taken, there still an abundance of life! This week, we will be not only showcasing the unmatched photography skills of Harbor Breeze’s very own, Erik Combs, but we are going to get to know him a little better!
If you have been following these whale blogs or are reading one for the first time, you may have noticed that many of the photos that are showcased are from one of the deck-hands/whale spotting experts and tall, red-headed friend, Erik! We have been showing his photos for quite some time now and they never cease to amaze. He always has a way of capturing the animals in such a way that it really makes you feel the excitement of that day, even if you were not present. This blog comes out every two weeks, and I always wonder how he can provide such quality photos is just that short amount of time! How does he do it?
Here is a little more about Erik:
“I’ve been working for Harbor Breeze for 3 1/2 to 4 years but I’ve been working on boats for 11 years now. I’m the senior deckhand at Harbor Breeze. I started using my iPhone with a lens attachment when I first started whale watching but I wanted to take better pictures so that got me into photography. At the time, all the other whale watch companies had a deckhand or naturalist or someone with a good camera posting pictures of what they saw for that trip and I wanted to do the same for Harbor Breeze so that motivated me to buy my first camera about a year ago and since then, I have been trying to perfect my skills everyday.”
There have been so many awesome sightings recently, so check out Erik’s photos of the blues, humpbacks, brown booby birds, sea lions eating sharks, hammerhead sharks, and baby whales and dolphins!
We will soon be saying goodbye to this Summer’s photo ID interns, Jannet, David, Gabi, and Katie as they go on with their lives and back to school, though, some of them will still be around to help us our with our research! Soon, we will be training new interns onboard to collect that data and acquire invaluable research experience. We will miss our Summer interns! If you would like to read about their stories, you can click their names above to read their stories, and see their work!
Even though the Summer is over, there is still lots of warm, sunny days ahead, weekends, and holidays, so come on out on a whale watching adventure, and maybe you can take away some amazing photos to share with friends and family as well!
Thursday, August 27, 2015
It’s another Throwback Thursday as we revisit the day that our gorgeous sea otter Brook saw herself for the first time in a mirror.
Brook is one of the oldest southern sea otters under human care. She is also one of the most beautiful members of her species, in this humble volunteer’s opinion. Back in 2013 we introduced a mirror to Brook to show her just how attractive she is. Her reaction was wonderful. Check out the video below.
If you would like to read more about that day and see additional pictures of Brook and the mirror please check out this blog: Vanity Thy Name Is Otter
Have Something to Say? Leave a Comment!
All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.