Tag: Jellyfish

A day at the Waikiki Aquarium

When one comes to visit Hawai’i, the last thing on their mind is visiting an aquarium. “Why would I visit the aquarium when I could just jump in the ocean and see a living aquarium?” Great question, but let me answer you this way. The Waikiki Aquarium showcases dozens of coral species and fish, crustaceans, sea horses, sea dragons, pipefish, predators, and ocean life from the Northwestern Hawaiian islands you just can’t see on the main islands.

The most impressive spread were the variety of colorful living corals. All the corals are thriving under conditions simulated to be the ocean in its most pristine, healthy state. The key takeaway for me was that I have never seen such beautiful, developed, colorful and healthy coral in the wild. It was amazing to see what coral could look like in the more remote reefs and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. It was equally amazing to imagine what our reefs on O’ahu can and will look like when we are ready to transplant species back to where they belong.

Here are some photos I took at the aquarium. I would highly recommend this visit for any visitor to Hawai’i, especially before jumping into the ocean. It’s great to learn about the underwater world and its fragile ecosystem before diving in.

The Waikiki Aquarium is the 2nd oldest public aquarium in the country
The Waikiki Aquarium is the 2nd oldest public aquarium in the country
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An angelfish indigenous only to the Hawaiian islands swims by a colorful reef
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Sea anemone attract clown fish and other species of fish to its predatory confines
Hawaiian island reef life
Hawaiian island reef life
South Pacific reef life
South Pacific reef life

Yellow striped pipefish
Yellow striped pipe fish
Jellyfish in the "drifters" exhibit
Jellyfish in the “drifters” exhibit
Beautiful coral exhibits
Beautiful coral exhibits
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A sampling of the vibrant underwater world you can experience through thriving coral reefs
This Hawaiian Monk Seal has been at the aquarium for 31 years!
This Hawaiian Monk Seal has been at the aquarium for 31 years!

Next time you have a rainy day in Hawaii, or are just looking for a getaway to see something beautiful, check out the Waikiki Aquarium. You won’t be disappointed! They also have a predator exhibit with sharks and a vast educational/conservation exhibit, as well.

The scary ocean critters of New Jersey’s beaches

I’m reminiscing today of the time I spent living on the east coast. I essentially made it my bitch, spending every day off from the restaurant I had foraging, exploring, finding new hiking trails, beaches, hidden swim holes, you name it.

A friend came and visited me in Philadelphia for the summer and we spent our time exploring Mother Nature together, one day taking a drive out to Cape May, New Jersey for a day at the beach.

I’m currently living in Hawaii and have yet to see any scary critters or sharks that have made me refrain from getting in the water. But Jersey’s another story. It’s scary, real scary. Not only does it suck to drive there, but their beaches are loaded with the strangest, most fascinating, and in my opinion, the scariest creatures that stop me from diving in head first.

This particular afternoon, we looked around the sleepy beach town that was full of typical posh urbanites pushing around their designer children in their designer clothes. The Victorian houses were beautiful, but I was growing tired of the east coast snobberyΒ and crowds, ready for a reclusive stretch of beach.

My friend Colleen, her boyfriend Ryland and I found Higbee Beach, the perfect little retreat for us. It’s a mile and half long stretch on the tip of Cape Island on the Delaware Bay. It’s actually a former nude beach (leave it to New Englanders to get their panties in a bunch) but the scene remains quiet, peaceful and serene.

“Now this is what I’m talking about!,” I thought when we arrived. Our own little slice of solitude.

Higbee is a bit rough and wild, though and I noticed right away that there were trees jutting out from the water. Beyond that though, it was the site of these massive horseshoe crabs washing up to shore that made me think twice about getting in the water:

Photo by author

As if these horseshoe crabs weren’t enough, (*I’ve actually attended a scientific study on the beaches of Jersey tracing their mating habits in conjunction with the full moon…fascinating, albeit weird*) soon came the HUGE jellyfish. I’ve always had a fear of jellyfish. There’s something about these though that has me singing a different tune about a dip in the ocean:

Swimming? Nope.

Depending on what beaches you frequent on Jersey’s coast, you will surely see these scary ocean critters. I know horseshoe crabs are harmless, but who wants one of those brushing up against their legs during a moment of tranquil floating? Nevermind those ethereal jellyfish. The picture does all the explaining.

Critters used to be my number one ocean fear, but living in Hawaii has taught me about respecting your body and the tides. There’s nothing like getting beat to shit by an undertow/wave combination. Alas, a new ocean fear hasΒ arisenΒ in me!Β What sorts of irrational (or rational!) fears do you have about the ocean?