An interesting day at the Vancouver Aquarium

We were one of the first visitors to get into the Vancouver Aquarium – and that was what we intended as we wanted to visit the wet lab first. After having washed our hands, we had a look at all the different local species there, including various sea anemones, sea stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins. Marcus and Tom even got the chance to have a sea urchin each on their hands which moved forward there. Great, eh? However, as time was limited to a ten minute slot only, we didn’t get the chance to see all the other animals. That means that we simply have to be back next Monday!

When we headed outside the main building, we saw Elfin enjoying his lunch. So we didn’t stop, but went to watch one of the belugas’ training sessions which we enjoyed a lot, especially when Aurora demonstrated how she could spit water out of her mouth.
After that we saw another training session, and this time the most fascinating activity was watching Hana jumping out of the water to reach the end of a pole.

On we went to Jack and Daisy’s habitat where we could observe a training session with them as well. Especially Jack interacted a lot with his trainer Indy.

Our boys wanted to go back into the main building to watch Hana and Helen from underwater – and so we went. Both dolphins came down to say hi to us. Just look, aren’t they absolutely adorable? From there, we also watched one of their shows which was quite an unusual perspective, but great, too.

Before going back to Jack and Daisy, we tried to capture some more shots of various jellyfish to enter the jellyfish photo competition. And then we spent some time with Jack who came down to welcome us there.

But then it was time to watch one of the seal and Steller sea lion shows, and one of the sea lion girls was already poking her head out of the water, waiting for her show to start – which was really good.

As I absolutely love those axolotls, I persuaded the boys to come and see them as well as the frogs. Besides my favourite axolotls, I especially liked this grim-looking waxy monkey leaf frog. Cute, eh?

On our way to the B.C. Sugar Pool, we saw Elfin, holding a yellow ball in his paws, and that was so cute to watch.

Anyway, when we were at Jack and Daisy’s underwater viewing area, Jack came down once more and said hi to Ben and Tom who both had lots of fun with him.
Soon it was time to leave. So we waved goodbye to Katmai and Elfin, and went home.

This was such an amazing day!

We saw belugas, sea otters, harbour porpoises, sea lions, harbour seals…

Our boys wanted to spend a whole day at the Vancouver Aquarium – and they didn’t even have to persuade us to do exactly that…

As there are so many animals to see, we started with the beautiful beluga whales. First we sat on one of the benches at the underwater viewing area and watched them swim by, before heading up to watch one of their training sessions – and later one of their shows, too.
We then had a look at all three sea otters: Katmai had fun playing with one of her toys, a red ball, whereas Elfin enjoyed a fishy snack.

Of course we went to see Jack and Daisy, and as soon as we were at the underwater viewing area of their habitat, Jack came down to say hi to us and enjoyed having our company – and so did we.

After a while we went to see the Steller sea lions and harbour seals in action which our boys found really interesting to watch.

And then it was time to go into the building to see even more of their amazing animals.

(to be continued…)

Another fabulous day at the Vancouver Aquarium

As we are members of the Vancouver Aquarium, we can come and go as often as we like – without any additional costs, and therefore the decision to go there is an absolutely easy one. Well, having Jack and Daisy there helps a lot, too…

Anyway, today we did not only see our favourite (and only) harbour porpoises Jack and Daisy and our favourite sea otter Elfin but also one beluga training session where Aurora wore a waterproof training vest, and several dolphin shows starring Hana and Helen as well as additional training sessions for Hana and Helen and Jack and Daisy.

All in all, a really great day at an even greater place!

Yet another great day at the Vancouver Aquarium

Today we spent the whole day at the Vancouver Aquarium where we watched two beluga and all five dolphin shows. Crazy, eh? But we will never tire of seeing them as all shows are different, and there is always something new and exciting to see.
In between we had a look at Elfin and the girls Tanu and Katmai who all seemed to have a relaxing day – at least whenever we saw them.
And we had an absolutely great time playing with Jack. Even Daisy came down to the underwater viewing area which is always a special treat for us. Aren’t those two harbour porpoises just adorable?
Anyway, we can’t wait to see them again soon, very soon…

Sunday at the Vancouver Aquarium

Although we came relatively early, the Vancouver Aquarium had already attracted quite a lot of visitors, all keen to get to know its various inhabitants.

Anyway, at first, as you would probably have guessed by now, we made our way to Jack and Daisy’s habitat to say hi to them. We did not have to wait long for Jack to make his appearance at the underwater viewing area where he swam by. When he saw me, he stopped and said his proper hello, probably being happy to have found someone he recognized he could play with. And that we did, of course! How can I deny such a cutie anything? Daisy, however, just stayed in her favourite corner.

On our way to watch one of the training sessions with Hana and Helen, we stopped to have a look at Tanu and Katmai who were outside the water grooming themselves. Unfortunately, Elfin’s habitat was empty, and he was nowhere to be seen.
However, I cannot remember when we saw the last ‘Caring for dolphins’ session, so it was really interesting to see Helen and Hana interact with their trainers Paula and Charlotte while getting to know lots of new information.

Shortly before the beluga show was about to start, Lauren, an interpretive specialist for marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium, asked me if I wanted to volunteer for the beluga show, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I said yes, but it basically made my day. Thanks, Lauren!
So what did I have to do? Well, I simply volunteered to get splashed by Qila – twice! For those of you who still possess partial sanity, this may sound a bit weird, but it is simply an amazing experience to see that beluga sneaking up on you, aiming and blowing a load of water straight at your face. Oh, by the way, this also served an educational purpose and was to demonstrate that belugas have flexible lips…

As my t-shirt was soaked and needed some sun to get dry again, we wandered around to observe Hana and Helen who were either leisurely swimming (Hana) or playing with fish (Helen) in their smaller dolphin habitat.
After that we watched some more shows – from the ‘Seal and sea lion show’ and the ‘Dolphin show’ to ‘Jelly Deli’ where some brave volunteers could try various jelly fish samples and tell Lauren what and how they tasted. So if you want to try them, too, just come to the Vancouver Aquarium!
Our last show we watched was ‘Caring for belugas’ which we had never seen before and which was so incredibly interesting, especially as we could witness how the trainers, in this case Indy, are getting urine samples from the belugas.

In between most of those shows we, naturally, went to see our favourite harbour porpoises again and again. Jack was definitely in a playful mood today, so that we had lots of fun together. Later, shortly before it was time to go home again and less visitors were at the underwater viewing area, even Daisy came down to check out the cameras and to pose in front of them. So Marcus had some fun playing with Daisy, but Jack still got some play time with me…

All in all, this was a fantastic day at the Vancouver Aquarium – one I will never forget!

Play time with Jack and Daisy

Well, we could not resist to head to the Vancouver Aquarium a second time this week – and it was so worth it!

Jack was in a very good mood and came down to the underwater viewing area to play. From time to time even Daisy came by to check out the cameras and to pose in front of the visitors. But for Jack, it was play time non-stop, and peek-a-boo seemed to be his favourite afternoon pastime. Jack also played with me – and that made my day!

Although I could watch these two cuties for hours, we went to see two other shows in between. First it was Aurora and Qila’s turn to shine – and that they did! I am glad we did not sit in the splash zone…
Then we headed over to the Tropic Zone for a show called Discover Reef Sharks. It was the first time that we actually watched this show, and so we got to know a lot about sharks. With the help of Russ, the designated diver, Lauren, an interpretive specialist at the Vancouver Aquarium, led us through this very interesting programme.

After some more play time with Jack and Daisy, it was time to go. We quickly said our good-byes to Hana and Helen who were swimming in the smaller dolphin habitat, and to Katmai and Elfin who were playing with a disc each.

This was another great afternoon at the Vancouver Aquarium, and one that will be repeated soon. Guaranteed.

Another great day at the Vancouver Aquarium

Today we spent quite a lot of time at the Vancouver Aquarium – so much actually that we watched the dolphin show three times! But it never gets boring to watch Hana and Helen interact with their trainers. Besides, every time there is always something different to see, so that each show is definitely unique.
Marcus also had a nice chat with Leonora, a marine mammal trainer at the Vancouver Aquarium, – and we also had another quick chat with Lauren, an interpretive specialist at the Vancouver Aquarium. It is great to meet the passionate people who work with those amazing animals here at the Aquarium.

In the habitat opposite Hana and Helen’s one, all four female Steller sea lions were present and relaxing (or trying to sleep?) in groups of two, whereas the harbour seals were swimming non-stop.
The fur seals were probably inspired by the sea lions and decided to have a nap, too.

We also paid a visit to the African penguins, and all seven of them were standing close together – as usual.
From there it is just a step or two to see Aurora and Qila, the mother-daughter beluga duo swimming in their habitat. First Aurora was relaxing in rather shallow water while Qila swam by, but later we could watch both of them in action – from the underwater viewing area.

On we went to have a look at Elfin who seemed to be enjoying some rays of sunshine. Isn’t he cute?
Then we decided to go to see Schoona. I love sea turtles, and it is always very relaxing to watch her swim through her habitat.
On our way to the seahorses we also saw this beautiful tasselled wobbegong, a species of carpet shark. Its pattern looks amazing, eh?
And we really spotted some seahorses which usually takes some time. Can you see them, too?
A bit further on, we also saw those garden eels that always retreat into their holes when a fish swims above them. They are fun to watch, too.

However, as huge Jack and Daisy fans, the most interesting part for us was to watch these two harbour porpoises interact with their trainers, and later on seeing them checking out themselves in a window that was covered with a blind and acted as a mirror. It really looked like as if they were checking out their outward appearances, their flippers and flukes. That was so funny to watch.

After we said our goodbyes to them, on our way home, we got the most amazing view of Lions Gate Bridge which I had never seen before at night. So we had a quick stop to take some pictures of it. Stunning, eh?

What a wonderful afternoon in Vancouver

After having not seen them for quite a while, we got to spend some time together with our friends Leanne and Susannah – and what better place to do so than at the Vancouver Aquarium. We are all members and love to come there as often as we can – and although we have probably seen everything more than once already, we are always fascinated by all the animals there, and believe it or not, we feel that there is still so much more to see and experience!

First of all we went to see Jack and Daisy who, unfortunately, were not in their habitat, the B.C. Sugar Pool, but once again in the smaller dolphin habitat. There we could observe a training session with them, and it was really interesting to see how they reacted and interacted with their trainers.

Our second stop was at Elfin’s habitat where he was sleeping. Even that is so cute to watch. His female colleagues Tanu and Katmai were much more active in their habitat. Especially Katmai was so curious that she always looked into our direction even when she was grooming herself. And that was so cute, too!

Next it was Helen and Hana’s turn to shine in their show, and they were especially excited and enjoying themselves a lot today. They showed a lot of jumps this time, and that was really impressive.

Then it was time for the beluga show starring Aurora and her daughter Qila. Our favourite interpretive specialist Lauren once again passionately led the audience through a highly interesting show. It is always amazing to see those huge animals interact with their trainers. A seagull, well, probably the seagull as there is always one on site, sneaked into the programme but flew by and waited at the edge of the habitat.

We then went to Penguin Point where all seven penguins were standing outside. Later they headed over to the other side of their habitat, jumped into the water, swam over, and after a very short swim got out of the water again. Meanwhile a bald eagle flew above the Vancouver Aquarium.

As time was nearly over, we set out for Schoona’s habitat, but when we passed the sea otters’ habitats, we saw that it was feeding time for Elfin who enjoyed his food very much. The funny thing was that Katmai was standing at the glass door of her habitat trying to get some attention – and most likely more food.

I absolutely love those ancient looking creatures, like lizards, tortoises and also sea turtles – and Schoona is really a beautiful specimen. Despite her huge size, she swims so gracefully and seems to ignore all the fish, stingrays and sharks swimming around her.

Well, after we had said our goodbyes to Leanne and Susannah, we headed home, too. On our way along Stanley Park’s seafront we saw a harbour seal looking out of the water – and then it was gone. This was so amazing – coming from the Vancouver Aquarium and having seen the seals there, we suddenly saw one living in the wild just surface out of the blue…

On our way back to Waterfront SkyTrain station we saw such beautiful flowers and simply had to stop to take a picture of them. Don’t those bright red poppies and those red and yellow torch lilies look stunning?
Further on we also observed a blue heron walking along the jetty until it found ‘its’ yacht where it stopped and started to look for its dinner.

This was such an amazing day that simply has to be repeated soon!

We just love the Vancouver Aquarium

Although it was already around noon, we decided to head towards Vancouver and spend some time at the Vancouver Aquarium. It is always quite a long walk from the SkyTrain station to Stanley Park, but we don’t mind it at all. Besides, we had our first little stop at Jack Poole Plaza where Vancouver’s Olympic Cauldron and the huge Harbour Spirit Digital Orca by Douglas Coupland (installed in 2010) can be admired. The view of the mountains and North Vancouver there is also spectacular.

On our way to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park we saw a raccoon on top of a bin – perhaps looking for its lunch?

Once inside the Vancouver Aquarium, we had a short stop at those epaulette sharks which are somehow cute to watch.
On we went to have a look at the sea otters Tanu and Katmai who were in their front habitat again, either relaxing or grooming. Aren’t they just cute?
And then finally, we made our way to Jack and Daisy’s underwater viewing area but, unfortunately, neither of them came down although we were waiting and waiting…
Well, if those harbour porpoises are too busy, what can we do?!
So we just went a little further to the next underwater viewing area and observed Aurora and Qila swimming by.

And then it was time for the dolphin show starring Hana and Helen who were very excited today, jumping out of the water or swimming very fast already – even before they could show their various behaviours during their show. Once again Lauren, a very friendly and enthusiastic interpretive specialist for marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium, guided the audience through each and every step of the training session.

On our way back to Jack and Daisy again we passed the sea lion and seal habitat where a sea lion sat on her deck and tried to catch some sun – or so it seemed – and two seals were swimming by very quickly.
Another stop at Penguin Point let us see all seven penguins standing together on one spot, as usual, on their rockwork.

And then, finally, it was Jack and Daisy time! And can you believe it, Jack was in playing mood and came down to the viewing area so often that I was even a little bit exhausted after having played with him for an hour. I really can’t get enough of him, especially as he seems to copy some of my movements. Anyway, he is so cute – and he probably knows it!

Of course, we would have stayed longer but the Vancouver Aquarium closes at 5 pm, and we were literally among the last ones to leave! Just look at those empty spaces there…
However, we had a very quick stop at the epaulette sharks shortly before finally heading out.
But we will be back very soon!

As usual we went to the Lost Lagoon to enjoy the peace and quiet at one of our favourite places. Even our favourite bench was unoccupied so that we could enjoy the swans, ducks, seagulls and Canada geese. Surprisingly, even a male red-winged blackbird came by. I had never seen one at that location before, only at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary so far.

As an additional bonus we even saw a Canada geese family with their goslings swimming at the pond at Devonian Harbour Park.

Well, after such an exciting but also a little bit exhausting day, we just needed some relaxation time at those huge benches at Jack Poole Plaza with breathtaking views of either downtown Vancouver, Lord Stanley Park or North Vancouver, the sea plane terminal in the foreground and the mountains in the background. What a beautiful place to live in!

And to top it off, this wonderful day full of sunshine ended with a great sunset back home in Burnaby.

Another visit to the Vancouver Aquarium

With the gloomy sky above us, we decided to head to the Vancouver Aquarium and say hello to the animals there and make the most of this day. When we parked our car nearby, we saw several Canada geese at the top of a large tree stump looking around. That was quite a sight!

Once inside the Aquarium, Jack swam by to say hello, Aurora and Qila enjoyed themselves – and Elfin was taking a nap. That was so cute!

Each visit is enjoyable – and we will definitely be back soon!