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!

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?

Vancouver Aquarium, Lost Lagoon and Burnaby sunset

The last day of May promised to be as sunny as a summer’s day – and is there any better way than to spend it at the Vancouver Aquarium?! – So that we did.

On our way there, at Devonian Harbour Park, we saw a Canada geese family with lots of goslings swimming happily together.

Once inside the Vancouver Aquarium, we made a beeline to Jack and Daisy’s habitat, only to see that now there were six female fur seals in. I had never seen any of those before, and they were fun to watch, too.
Jack and Daisy were still in the little dolphin habitat. But the good thing for us was to be able to see them interact with their trainers during one of their training sessions. Jack seemed to respond more to them than Daisy did.
We then walked over to the Steller sea lions and harbour seals to watch an interesting training session with them as well. Vancouver Aquarium interpreter Lauren and both marine mammal trainers Anna and Leonora made this experience very special.
It was the first time that we actually saw all four female Steller sea lions together with their male colleagues, the three harbour seals.
And then it was time to see the dolphins in action. Once again, Lauren very enthusiastically led the audience through the dolphin show in which Hana and Helen had fun interacting with their trainers Anna and Leonora.
When we went to see Elfin, Tanu and Katmai, they all seemed to have a very relaxing day.
Time is always flying by when being at the Vancouver Aquarium, and as it was nearly time to leave, we quickly headed towards Schoona’s habitat which she shares with lots of fish, some sharks and rays. So one of her co-inhabitants is often swimming in front of the lens and trying to sneak into the picture…

Then it was time to say good-bye to all the animals, but surprisingly we saw quite a few different animals on our way home, too.
In Stanley Park, there was this black squirrel sitting in the grass and climbing a tree later, and some turtles were swimming in the Lost Lagoon. There we also saw those huge berries which looked like raspberries, but I looked them up and found out that these are edible salmonberries.
At Devonian Harbour Park we did not only see two geese families, and one of them had twelve (!) goslings, but also some birds. There were a house sparrow, a male red-winged blackbird and a female Red-shafted Northern Flicker. Did you know that these Northern Flickers are the only woodpeckers that frequently feed on the ground? Interesting, eh?
At Cardero Park we also saw a Common Starling, and a bit further away, near the Marina, there was a single duck swimming with its duckling.

Back home in Burnaby, we had a beautiful sunset with great clouds. What a fantastic ending of such an amazing day!