With the weather delaying our departure from New Caledonia, we’ve had the chance to do a little exploring. Our first foray: the aquarium!
The aquarium? After spending day after day after day snorkeling in pristine, world-class reefs these last six months? What could we possibly see? We piled onto a bus with Mike & Hyo and Allan & Alison (s/v FlyAweigh) and headed off to find out.
The answer, it turns out, is “a lot.” We see some incredibly cool stuff on our own forays, but the fish there have a real knack for swimming *away* from you. We could sit in one place and stare at these for as long as we wished.
Having the luxury of going on a weekday, we had it nearly to ourselves: there’s not much more peaceful than room a softly lit by light shimmering through the water… even if that water is a big tank.
And of course, when you’re IN the water, there’s the whole pesky breathing business. I have been having more and more fun freediving, but what I can do is still limited. It’s hard to hang as long as you want, as deep as you want, when you’re using snorkel gear… and the glimpses of beauty are sometimes pretty brief. Here, we could linger – or move on. Siobhan was almost a taskmaster leading Alison around the displays.
And of course, even if I was a star freediver, you just won’t see these critters without special gear.
Besides, I have to admit: it’s nice to have a plate of Plexiglas between your bare skin and this guy.
The leopard shark (a.k.a. zebra shark) has been one of Niall’s favorites sea creatures. Seeing it glide by triggered the one of the best insights of the whole journey: hearing the kids oooo and aaahhh over it, and then reflect on how much better it was to see one in the wild.
Yep. The book is pretty much always better than the movie, too.