A sunny winter afternoon at the Vancouver Aquarium

On such a beautiful sunny winter day we just had to spend some time outside, and what better place to do so than at the Vancouver Aquarium.

We arrived on time to get a good spot for the 2 o’clock dolphin show which was fantastic! Both Hana and Helen showed behaviours we had not seen before.

After that we had a late lunch, strolled through the galleries, and very much enjoyed the seal and sea lion show, featuring Izzy and Willo, the Steller sea lions, and Hermes and DaVinci, the harbour seals.

As there was another dolphin show scheduled at 3, we simply had to stay in the area and watch that one, too. Although we had seen a show about 90 minutes ago, Hana and Helen presented even more different behaviours, which was so exciting that I almost forgot to take some pictures.

Although the sun was shining, it was pretty cold, and so we headed inside the main building to have a look at the axolotls which I like a lot. Today the darker one was hiding, but came out later and swam by.

And finally – yes, we were not at Jack and Daisy’s before -, we paid the harbour porpoises a visit. Jack and Daisy swam by several times, and Daisy was really curious and tried to get a good look at Marcus’s phone.

On our way out we saw Katmai and Tanu getting ready for their night’s sleep.

All in all, we had a fantastic afternoon at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Pacific white-sided dolphins, beluga whales and harbour porpoises

Together with my in-laws, Marcus and I arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium in time to watch the last dolphin show of the day – and the show was great! Helen and Hana seemed to be in a good mood and performed a lot of jumps.
After the show we stayed a little bit longer at the dolphin habitat to observe both Hana and Helen swimming leisurely in the smaller pool, having a good time.

After that we just made it to the beluga show to see the mother-daughter pair Aurora and Qila who also seemed to have fun interacting with their trainers.

Finally, we made our way to Jack and Daisy, our favourite harbour porpoises – and we were lucky as not only Jack came to the underwater viewing area to say hi but Daisy frequently came down, too! So we spend the remaining minutes with them and had lots of fun!

Fully energized, Marcus and I then attended our second special volunteer training which was really good and inspiring indeed!

We’ve done it again…

Well, yes, we once again spent some hours at the Vancouver Aquarium…

On our way to Jack and Daisy (yes, that is were we always end up first) we said hi to Elfin who was busy grooming himself.
At Jack and Daisy’s habitat we saw Margo, one of the volunteers at the Aquarium, and had a nice chat with her. Okay, Marcus was the one having a longer conversation; it was just a quick chat for me as Jack had spotted me right away, and I couldn’t disappoint a little harbour porpoise, could I?

After a while it was time to see Hana and Helen in action, and we made our way to their habitat. Both dolphins were in a good mood today and performed some great jumps.
After their show, we watched a Steller sea lion enjoying her snack that was frozen inside some ice. She definitely had fun crunching on it!

We also had a look at my little favourites, the axolotls, but only the white one was in sight.
Anyway, after that we watched one of the penguin walks, this time starring Hope (our favourite penguin) and Salt Spring who came out of the carrier, looked around and walked along the beluga habitat. Their waddle is so cute.

Then it was Jack and Daisy time again. Jack was happy to see Marcus who he hadn’t seen before. And luckily for us, Daisy didn’t stay in her corner for too long and came down to the underwater viewing area to check out our cameras.

Hana and Helen’s last show was next, and we couldn’t miss that, could we?
After that there were some more minutes remaining for Jack and Daisy – and both were happy to see us again. So were we!

All in all, we enjoyed another fantastic and relaxing day at the Vancouver Aquarium before heading home again to get back to work.

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?

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!

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!