Monday, October 22, 2012

sweetest day at sea

To celebrate Sweetest Day and our 1 year, 9 month anniversary, Josh took me to the Aquarium of the Pacific at Long Beach. We got the package that included admission and a three hour whalewatching tour.

The "Scarium of the Pacific" event for the kids was also held that day. It included arts and crafts, costume contests, magicians, and face painting. I tried getting a glitter tattoo, but they told me it would cost $6 for adults. Pffft! It got really crowded by the afternoon but it was cute to see all the kids dressed up in their costumes. One kid was even dressed as a squid haha.

All the crew members were dressed up too. This lady was a hit! She decorated a pink umbrella with streamers and Christmas lights to transform herself into a jellyfish.
 Throughout the day, there were many exhibits where we could touch things like moon jellyfish (they're so bouncy!), bat rays, small sharks, starfish, and anemone. Good thing I didn't bring my fancy Nikon or else it could've gotten dirty or damaged.
We were able to watch a lot of feedings and shows too like scuba divers feeding stingrays, a sea lion and seal show, and an otter show and feeding.

We saw so many cool exhibits (and even a leaking tank that we notified a staff member about) — baby swell sharks, seahorses, abalone, spider crabs, jellyfish with multicolor glowing cilia, penguins, clownfish and blue tangs, a shy sea turtle, and frogs and birds. We spent about five hours exploring which felt like the perfect amount of time to see everything.
Can you spot the white pregnant seahorse belly near the center?
Look at that sawfish's snout!
So pretty! We spent a long time staring at these cute little guys.
Josh wanted it to look like he was kissing the fish, but instead, the tail sticking out of his mouth makes it look like he just ate a fish!
Apparently the "sexy shrimp" were in here, but we couldn't find any. The "flamboyant cuttlefish" were in the exhibit next door, no joke.
At 3:30, we took the Harbor Breeze Whalewatching tour. It was a very windy three hour tour, but it was such a fun boat ride. It was probably one of the fastest boats I've been on in a while.
 It was an overcast day, but the rain stayed away.
 The view of the pier from our seats at the front of the boat.
As we sailed out of the harbor, the ride was pretty choppy. It was hard to stand up and walk without clinging to the railing.
The beautiful Southern California coastline
We even found some sunshine!
As our boat began making the return trip to the harbor, we were pretty sure we wouldn't see anything. We weren't too disappointed though because the boat ride was fun. Josh even told me that the wind was making funny whistling noises as it blew through his hair, like the high pitch squeal of a dolphin. And then suddenly, as I looked towards the horizon, I saw some activity that matched what our captain told us to look out for: choppy water, mist from blowholes, and birds overhead which signaled a feeding. Sure enough, our captain came on the mic 30 seconds later and informed us that we were approaching dolphins!! I took a picture of it above, but it's hard to see anything.
Since Josh and I were standing for the second half of the boat ride, we had the best seats in the house! The captain pretty much turned of the engine, and we watched the dolphins play and eat at our feet. We could even see some mommy dolphins with their babies and hear their high-pitched wails. They said there were approximately 45 dolphins in the pod.

Then our boat reversed, and our captain told us that we were going to cruise full speed ahead. They told us not to worry about hitting the dolphins because they would surf alongside the boat and race us. I couldn't help but feel nervous, but it was amazing to see the dolphins swim as fast as the boat. Eventually we sped up more quickly than them, and they rode the waves from behind our boat and popped out of the water. So cute!!

As we continued to approach the harbor, we came across an even bigger pod of dolphins, this time with about 200! It was crazy to see about 20 dolphins at our feet, and then look out and realize that hundreds of little fins were breaking the surface of the water. Such a breathtaking experience. Can't wait to go again and see some whales next time!

Below is a compilation of one video from my camera and two videos from Josh's phone camera (his videos were when we were moving at full speed, as you can tell from all the wind).

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