Thursday, 30 May 2013

Visiting an underwater world

It's half term this week and everyone's been home so posts have been a bit thin on the ground (or non existent) as a result. A house full of teenagers is not conducive to thoughtful post writing. A quieter day today so having been out for a restful dog walk with my friend Hilary and her son (a good mate of L's) on Canada Common (where my mother's dog Dougal completely disgraced himself first by eating and then, as if that wasn't bad enough, rolling in a cow pat for good measure, before being forcibly dunked into a pond in lieu of washing under the hosepipe at home) I now have some time to write. 

I say time, rather than peace, because L and his friend W are currently lying flat out on the floor at my feet noisily trying to kill each other on an "open platform creative minecraft multi-server". I have absolutely no idea what that means, but they seem to be enjoying themselves judging from the blood curdling war cries and yells of glee that keep piercing my ear drums.

As balm, I thought I'd post some pics of one of our Half Term days out.

L and I used to be regular visitors at the Blue Reef Aquarium on Southsea Seafront when he was a tiddler but we haven't been for years. It was pouring with rain on Tuesday (typical, the one day we had ear-marked for a day out). Spirits dampened but not undaunted, we altered course away from the very much outdoor Corfe Castle and  Swanage Railway trip and diverted the troops instead to the far more sensible and decidedly under cover aquarium. 

To my surprise everyone was up for it (no mean feat with two boys and a girl all at different teenage stages) and it turned out to be well worth the visit. We all had a great day and the sea creatures were fabulous. Even the smell in the otter enclosure (which can only politely be described as "unique"), didn't diminish our enjoyment. We'd missed seeing them being fed by half an hour so by the time we reached them they were all dozing in a ball and carelessly picking at each others ears.  L said this was his favourite bit.

There seemed to be a lot more to look at than I'd remembered and we didn't (with the exception of L who takes everything at a break-neck pace basically so he can lounge about at the end and pretend he's bored) get round too quickly. The centre now includes a breeding programme with eggs and baby fish on display which was totally fascinating because it's not something you would ordinarily see. They also had a jelly fish display which was spell binding.

I only had my phone camera with me so hopefully the pics won't be too poor in terms of quality. 

These fire shrimps were amazing- a really bright red

Extraordinary Jellyfish, luminescent and graceful in the water

An impressive and curious lion fish

Shark babies. You can just make out the live young in the egg sack on the far right. Shark eggs are called Mermaid's purses. I've seen them on the shore occasionally and had no idea they were shark eggs. I think these were my favourite part and I found them utterly fascinating.

M had a lovely (and rather long) conversation with the Rays. They were as fascinated with him as he was by them and kept swimming up and out of the water to have a closer look at him. Sadly I didn't get any pictures of this touching love-in, which we all found very amusing. He had the same effect on some fish near the entrance; they kept swimming back to stare at him and one stayed immobile in the water just looking at him for ages. It got quite embarrassing.

I have a real soft spot for Seahorses and these were beautiful. I find them endlessly fascinating.

Water seems to be a theme at the moment. Our pond is now dug out, lined, filled with water and even has plants growing in baskets. Rather pleasingly, it looks like it's always been there. I'm going to give the construction of the pond it's own post later. Oh, and we also have sparrows nesting in a hole (which they have made) in the brick wall of the house. More on that later too.....


  1. Love the seahorses - they are always my favourite too. And I've never seen shark babies before, fascinating indeed. You've had a busy week!

    1. Busy, but lovely Jess. And off to see old friends for the day tomorrow in the sun. After all this rain if we now get a warm week of sun the land will burst I suspect! CT x

  2. Shark eggs are interesting, you'd never think a shark would produce something that looked like that! Have to say my favourites are the Ray. I love the way they move. Enjoy the rest of your week. Glad to hear the pond's coming along.

    1. The sharks are so unlikely aren't they? I remember the Rays being very interested in people the last time we went. They're amazing looking things too. Pond post coming soon...

  3. I don't know much about marine life, but I do find it fascinating. I certainly didn't know about the Sharks eggs - amazing - and I love the Seahorses. I could watch them for ages. Sounds like a great family day out.

    1. I don't know much about it either but also find it fascinating, probably because it's another world yet so close to us. It seems really magical to me and it was lovely to be near it.


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