ms. rhonwyn hadn't included any money or tickets for me to get back to dunedin, and i didn't think it would be fair for me to pay to get back home after what i'd done and put up with (despite screwing up a few times along the way).
than as though an answer to my questions an hour later ms. rhonwyn called me on my "cell phone". she had arranged a flight for me, and i had to be at the airport later tonight.
now i'd checked out the museum earlier of course, but there was still plenty of auckland to see. i knew just the place to go as a reward for a job well done.
auckland's aquarium... kelly tarlton's antarctic encounter & underwater world.
boy, do i love aquariums!
as a land critter (coming from alberta one of the furthest places from water in canada) i find water critters cool as...
they have some new and interesting fish here, and also some old favs.
including the poisonous puffer fish and...lion fish.
oh and i found nemo! (and his dad ;p )
they had this crazy bright orange shrimp that was neat.
i also managed this. the best picture of a trigger fish i've ever taken!
the centre display of kelly tarlton's is the stringray tank. not only were the new zealand stingrays huge, but so was their tank. check out this video of it i took.here's a pretty still picture of it.
one of the inhabitants of the tank.
if you don't believe me when i say new zealand stingrays are huge just compare this one to the small boy in the pic.
they are also known as bull rays or short tail stringrays.
i always liked rays. even in oceanless alberta i saw them a lot. we had fossil fresh water rays from the cretaceous called myledaphus that left their teeth everywhere to find. it was really cool to see more than just the teeth.
they also had other fish in there with the rays. i couldn't find out what these were, but they were biggish and cool.
if you look at the title of kelly tarlton's antarctic encounter & underwater world, you might expect something antarcticy to be here. fortunately they deliver. first you go through a recreation of scott's cabin. than you hit this fake sign as though you were at macmurdo station telling you how far various are from antarctica.
then hop in a snowcat (motorized snow car) and take a ride. first you go through this snow storm recreation which was really educational. i had no idea they were so plastic and tubular...
wait a second, i've been in mini snow storms in alberta. they weren't plastic or tubular...
anyways the middle part of the ride was the best, and not lame or incorrect.
and more penguins!!!
man new zealand's been good to me on the penguin front. now i've seen king penguins and gentoo penguins too!
considering they were in captivity they had a nice sized enclosure. which is good i didn't want to see a repeat of the sad bit of happy feet.
after the ride there was only one part of the aquarium to go see. i got a pretty big clue on what was in it from the great white shark statue in the entrance.
as an aside, seriously there is someone down here in new zealand that makes these replica great white sharks for a living!!! there's one here at the auckland aquarium, one at the auckland museum, and even one at te papa.
inside was the COOLEST aquarium i'd ever been in!
sure you see them on the innerweb and TV, but i'd never been in an underwater tube!!!
making it even neater was that not only could you walk around underwater, but there was a moving treadmill. meaning you could just stand still and move through the submerged world... though to be honest i spent most of it on my own two legs.
right away there was a sea turtle. cool as!
sea turtles of course hail from my ancestors time in the mesozoic. as the only surviving marine reptile i always love seeing them (i saw some at vancouver's aquarium before recall people of the web wide world).
there were also some really big as blue mao mao fish.
yet another ray, but being underneath a LIVING one (i did just see the underside of a replica at the museum) was amazing!
i was so distracted by the ray that i missed all but a movement blur above my head...
that is till i turned around to come face to face with a shark! only unlike ALL the statues i'd seen in the museums of the quest these ones were alive and moving!!!
i was momentarily panicked, but fortunately the statue in the entrance, and my IDing this fellow quickly allowed me to calm down...
it was a school shark. not a particularly dangerous species of shark, and to be fair even "killer" sharks like great whites aren't that bad. i just have an overactive imagination on account of my small brain, and watching jaws at too young an age...
the tank just outside the tube (which was really not that thick... man i gotta stop thinking such cowardly thoughts) was jam packed full of sharks, and another new type swam past two seconds later.
a sevengill shark. these guys are a really primitive family of shark. the hexanchidae which have relatives present in the fossil record as far back as 200 million years ago.
once i got used to the sharks just swimming around me doing their thing i really dug this undersea tubeway thing.
sharks really are beautiful creatures, and shouldn't be feared... again i admit i've gotten into the fear hype. which is not a good thing, and i will work on it. in my further defense it doesn't help that back in my ancestors day 65 million years ago the "average shark" (these sevengill and school sharks being pretty average for nowadays in the holocene) were massive killers like cretoxyrhinas and squalicorax.
with an awesome day spent at the aquarium i used up my free time in auckland.
i'm now on way to the airport, and from there back home to dunedin...
(or so i thought!)