Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mystics



We were overdue for a road trip, so as soon as the opportunity arose on Saturday afternoon we quickly concocted an escape from home, from the valley, from the state, and even from terra firma; and conducted ourselves down to Mystic Aquarium on the coast of Connecticut for a look at some habiticus oceanisous...

Plenty to be learned if you're so inclined; like the way stingrays scoop up sediment from the floor of their habitats, and sift it through a sieve type opening just behind their jaws, as they sail along...

 

We're all aware of how the rays' tails can be surprisingly dangerous...

 

...still, the less squeamish of the visitors are allowed to pet them.



While the aquarium tries to maintain as much of a semblence to the animals' natural habitats as possible, there are inevitably some decidedly un-natural interactions...

 

Mystic Aquarium has been transformed since I was last here. The aquarium basically is now built around a massive tank which accommodates several large Beluga whales.



The docile arctic whales get their name from a Russian word meaning 'the white one'. They're also the only whales with the ability to swim backwards, a skill learned from backing out of tight spots between ice floes. Being filled with salt water, the tanks here never actually freeze, but the long cold New England winters must give these animals at least some comforts of home...



The once fascinating penguin exhibit is undergoing renovations, so there were no penguins to be seen except for these two representatives, forced to waddle about behind glass by themselves...



We caught the sea lions during lunch break, and hung around to watch their post-lunch napping, sunning and scratching.





Funny; Kelly hates when I laze about after lunch; yet she finds these guys intriguing...



One of the sea lions, a Stellar Sea Lion named Kodiak, is the second largest animal at the aquarium, after the largest of the Beluga whales.



A fellow visitor asked one of the staff if they ever mate the big one, but the reply was negative, due to the fact that the females are often injured or even killed during mating with a male of that size. Also, there isn't really room at the aquarium for any more like him, should his efforts succeed...



Right near the sea lions, is a walkway where people can peruse the beauty of a sun soaked marsh.



Blackbirds, turtles, dragonflies and big, big bullfrogs habitate this murkiness...



It was nice, but a little too western-massie for me; I came here to see something unusual; Luckily, from that swampy marsh, it's a short walk into the tropics...



Bloggerette found this part of the aquarium particularly interesting, no doubt because of all the amazing colors and shapes that nature can whip up, when so motivated...













Amazed again. It's a big world with seemingly endless possibilities and variations on this thing we call life. Why is it all here...what is it all for..?

Indeed, there is always much to ponder...



It was time to go. But next time we're down in this area, we'll have to stop to check out the Nautilus, the first US atomic powered submarine, which carried the first humans ever to cross completely under the arctic ice cap.



...a feat accomplished routinely, by the unassuming Beluga...

 

3 comments:

Mary E.Carey said...

You've done it again, Tony. So MANY great pics. My favorites are the first one and the Thinker.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Stunning photos. Passing on the Palabras Como Rosas award to you here: http://newenglandtravels.blogspot.com/.

Tony said...

Thanks Mary, I guess the camera was on it's good foot that day...

Jacqueline, thank you very much, I'll wear that merit proudly..!