14 November 2014

Shark day and memories of the sea

I love the ocean that is why aquarium trips always excite me. I always look forward to the big show where the whales or the sharks are. But that is just probably because I've seen them only in transparent tanks and their noses don't get anywhere near my skin.

In most cases, the big guys swim over the tunnel passages or in huge viewing tanks. The first aquarium I had been to was Georgia Aquarium. It was one of the biggest attractions at that time. Monterey Bay Aquarium unfortunately doesn't count because it was already closed when we drove all the way there. Aquaria in Kuala Lumpur was also quite impressive because of the different shark species they have. Meanwhile, Singapore's S.E.A Aquarium feels just like any other huge tank. Despite its size, it is unable to house species larger than the sharks. And the funniest feeling was being stuck in the tunnel waiting for a selfie with the sharks when there were actually more of them visible from the window outside the aquarium right next to the exit.

I looked for horseshoe crabs but didn't know where they were. My niece went to the touch pool where she was excited to meet the sea cucumbers and other tiny sea stars. But those were nothing compared to the huge horned sea stars we used to pick from the shallow sea floor and throw away into weedy bottoms. We were just kids so we didn't have a clue about rearranging nature. This makes me wish my niece spent less time with iPads in air-conditioned spaces and more time walking on the sand under the hot sun.

I do not have very strong feelings against housing sharks. However, I feel more sympathetic when it comes to dolphins or whale sharks. I am not sure why but being a mammal, perhaps there is a natural inclination to protect the welfare of other species. And by the way, that is just my theory.

Nonetheless, seeing the sharks made everyone happy. I didn't mind having to spend 25 bucks to see Nemo and Dory. The small jellies made some appearance too. They're a few of those other things I love to watch but not swim with. The last time I saw a transparent jelly was during a lovely swim in a beautiful island in Palawan but luckily didn't get a sting. The last stingy feeling I had was swimming over a huge colony of corals. And the scariest time was standing right in front of a banded sea krait preying on a fish. Though I have so much love for the ocean, I am too careless in it and maybe less educated too. So I guess this is what aquariums are here for.

Location: S.E.A. Aquarium, Singapore

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