A "Whale" Of A Time Under The Sea

IMG_5174The Georgia Aquarium is absolutely beautiful. I am learning a lot of fish facts that I never knew before. For example: Did you know that the Whale Sharks' mouth can span 4ft wide, though their throat is only about the size of a quarter? Also, they have 300 rows of teeth.

When I was young, I really loved dolphins and always thought that it would be cool to work with marine animals. Working with the other staff at the aquarium has allowed me to get as close as possible...without actually swimming in the tank.

The first two days, I helped out at different exhibits and at the touch pools, shadowing one of the workers who speaks with visitors about the animals and answers questions. I also met a really interesting guy from Bhutan, and had a great talk with him about how he ended up in America.

IMG_5185Yesterday, I supervised the Georgia Aquarium Mascot, "Deepo" (not to be confused with Nemo).

It can be difficult to see with the costume on, so I was assisting Deepo in navigating the aquarium, watching children that were running around his ankles, and making sure no kids were yanking on his tail.

After that, I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium. I learned more about how the facility operates and was able to see the main tanks from up above. I was so close I could have jumped in...

IMG_5156The largest exhibit is called Ocean Voyager.

It has 6.2 million gallons of water in it, filters 60,000 gallons every minute, and is the home of the four whale sharks among thousands of other fish. Giant groupers, hammer head shark, saw nose sharks, rays.

Every time I walk by I wish that I could go scuba diving in it.

Today I was working with the Life Support Systems Department. They make sure that everything is functioning smoothly, the water temperature is accurate, the pumps are doing what they should be doing, basically all the mechanical stuff that goes into operating the aquarium.

It is amazing how much work is required to keep things going behind the scenes.

Tomorrow I will be working with the training program and perhaps with the children's educational program.

IMG_5166This week we are staying with Jon. He is a cool guy and has been nice enough to brave rush hour traffic each morning this week to drive us to the aquarium.

We met him through couchsurfing.com - a site where you can meet people that have an extra couch or floor space that they are willing to offer you.

Sounds sketchy I know, but it's a great way to meet some cool people and keep costs down.

I am still looking for a job next week. I have some ideas and it looks like I will be heading to Florida, though as always things could change in the next few days. If you have any ideas or offers, send them my way.

In the meantime...sea you later!

-Sean