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Nov 15 - the shadows of giants

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Feb. 7th, 2008 | 08:47 pm
posted by: mishakitty78 in team_nell

Misha in the middle!
Originally uploaded by mishakitty78

the main reason i wanted to go to the okinawa aquarium had to do with fish.

well, one particularly big, giant, enormous fish. a whale shark or, well, three to be exact. yousee, this place is one of the few in the world to house this gentle giant, and i believe the only one to succeed in captive breeding these denizens of the deep. when brian and i were researching things to do on the tiny island and i happened across this place i knew we had to try to make the trip.

my entire life, i've been fascinated with sharks. when i was little i dreamed of becomming a marine biologist. but when i was diagnosed with epilepsy i was told i could never scuba dive, and the fine professors at new college (cough cough gilchrist) told me there was no way i could be one without being able to dive. now, of course, i know that's ridiculous but back then i was rather crushed. so i gave up on shark science, but always had this dream of seeing some of the odder members of the family. and here, lo and behold, our honeymoon provides us with the opportunity to see the biggest shark thar be in the deep blue sea.

that's me in the middle of the photo, and that would be hte *baby* whale shark. the tank was huge - it held a guiness book of world records record for being the largest tank and for having the thickest glass (4 m thick, if i remember right). we must have spent a good two hours just watching them swim by. they're enormous, powerful, and just sort of glide past. the tank had three (a family) and was also filled with manta rays (also very, very cool to see) and giant sleepy sharks (at least 50 of them - and they're about 5 to 10 feet long themselves). everything here seemed big!

the tank is situated between a restaurant, and here we tried to have lunch. i say "tried" because we absolutely could not find anything to eat. brian was crashing hard, and after waiting in line behind a string of folks so was i. all we could find were bags of nuts, and so we sat munching on snacks as the sharks cut through the water overhead.

this was one of the last exhibits, luckily, so our tired, hungry bodies were ok to press on. the exit from the tank room has a long tunnel like the old shark encounter at sea world orlando. the sharks and the manta rays swam over us and it was amazing.

this was truly a fantastic, breath-taking way to end our trip!

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