Another Fantastic Day at DDC!
November 25, 2016
VOLUNTEER JOHNS BLOG
Had another fantastic day last Saturday at the Dolphin Discovery Centre!
I drove in along the ocean drive and, as I glanced at the beautiful ocean and sunny blue sky, I thought to myself that it was going to be a great day at the centre with a likely visit by a dolphin or two ….this proved to be the case as you will read further on...
When I got to the centre, whom should I see standing outside but Nola Marino, our Federal Member of Parliament! She was going to join David and few other special guests on an Eco Cruise – I was sure they were going to have a great cruise! I gave her a cheerful DDC vollie greeting and headed into the centre!
First thing I did was have a quick look around the tanks. All the animals were looking very happy and healthy – good start! I was very pleasantly surprised to see the new “Lego” up and about and not hiding herself away under a pile of shells as she was doing a week ago. I thought she would become bolder very quickly and she has! More about her later.
After signing in I prepped up the food for the day, and took it over to the Discovery room and Uber the Rescued Turtles tank. The 10 am aquarium talk was so much fun. There was a birthday party group of 5 year olds in attendance and we had a ball! Inky the Octopus turned it on for us, squirting the kids and I plenty – the kids loved the antics - lots of delighted screaming! I took the birthday boy over to Uber the Turtle so that he could feed her as a special treat. He fed her a couple of times, but decided he’d had enough of that. I also let him have a go at feeding the Wobbegong shark, although it wasn’t easy, as Uber would kept trying to get at the shark’s food and had to be distracted – you are such a glutton Uber!
During the feeding, the Dolphin bell was rung and so we all headed on down to the beach to see what was going on in the interaction zone! I must take this opportunity to say that our Work Experience volunteer Ryan rang the bell very long and loudly – the best I have ever heard it rung! Good job Ryan – thumbs up mate!
Down in the Interaction Zone, it was all happening to the backdrop of a beautiful, sparkling ocean, white sands and sunny blue skies! I saw a Dolphin slowly swimming up and down the line of excited volunteers and visitors, often turning over so as to get a better look at them. So glad that some of our overseas vollies got into the water and were able to experience some very close encounters of the cetacean kind!
Out a little further, there seemed to be Dolphins everywhere in small groups! I saw a small calf swimming with its mother, doing some cute semi-leaps out of the water and plenty of other dolphins in the vicinity. I think there must have been a large school of baitfish in the area as there were close to 20 cormorants (“shags”) in the water as well.
During this fabulous interaction, I was having quite a nice chat to an older couple from NSW about dolphins and the feeding talk in the Discovery Room. The gentleman and his wife told me that they had enjoyed their visit to the DDC immensely so far and that they found the talk about the octopus very entertaining and educational. He insisted on shaking my hand before they left which was really nice of him! The dolphin visit went on for nearly half an hour to the delight of our visitors – THANK YOU DOLPHINS!!!
Back to the animals, particularly our new octopus, Lego. Lego has come a long way since last week. Not only has she become a LOT less shy, but I think she has grown a bit as well. In addition, I think she is an octo-GENIUS!!! Why? Well, I am glad you asked. You are all aware that from time to time, I give the octopus a toy into which I have placed some food. The reaction to this toy is often varied, some octopuses show no interest, and others grab the toy very aggressively. Amongst the latter, the quickest time it has taken an octopus to get the food morsel out was about a minute. Some octopus spend several minutes with the ball and discard it without getting the food out at all!
The new Lego, immediately went for the ball when it was offered and had the food out in about 2-3 SECONDS, yes SECONDS! I was gob smacked. This is one intelligent Cephalopod folks! I repeated this a second time, in case it was chance, but no, if anything, I think she got the food out quicker the second time!
I hope it does not make it a mission to escape the tank it is in, it might just succeed! As Jan told me, I think this one will be fun to work with! It certainly watches the “goings on” with Inky very intently. I wonder what is ticking over in its little mind? Fun times ahead!!!
Inky performed beautifully at the 11 am feeding. Another group of birthday party goers were delighted to witness Inky spray me full on in the face with seawater - twice! Their screams of delight were fantastic to hear. I spent some time answering lots of their questions (often repeated as usual).
The birthday girl was also treated to feeding Uber – she loved the experience and I let her feed Uber quite a bit of food to Uber’s delight! Uber consumed about 450g today which was great! I reckon she could have handled another 450g – easy. When she is first offered food, she will almost climb out of the tank – eager to get at it! Uber is on release standby, so any day she could be off to the next chapter in her life.
I managed to give our Wobbegong Shark a few pieces of squid and fish today along with its vitamin pill – high five! A funny thing happened with the Wobby! A few visitors and kids wanted to see it so, I gently rotated its pipe so that the head was facing them. The shark promptly swam out of the pipe turned around and went back in so that it once again was facing away from the guests! As Jan suggested, it probably is shunning the glare that would be coming in from the glass door.
I brought those interested guests around to the side, so that they could watch the Wobby feed. The Wobby took food and vitamins without any delay, so it did not seem to be too worried about my attempts to show it off. I will leave the pipe where it is now and just bring visitors around the side of the pool if they want to view her feeding.
PJ kept his vitamin pill down today – hoorah! I put in a piece of Herring and it went down, however, the second one was ejected – thumbs down PJ! Bamboo shark took her pill without too much problem, although I had to feed her two pieces of food in quick succession to prevent her ejecting the pill – good girl!
I have noticed that the Snowflake eels were at each other a bit on Saturday….they seemed to tolerate each other quite well when they kept to their own little territories, but now that both are wandering the tank space, perhaps each is trying to dominate the other. Apart from that, perhaps it is a mating ritual? Not sure? Sail-fin Tang seems to have been caught in a bit of the cross-fire though as its dorsal fin has some sections missing that look about Snowflake Moray jaw sized….hmmmmm???
I wanted to show off the Tomato Clownfish’s symbiotic behaviour towards its anemone, however, for the first time, it refused to cooperate. Perhaps it had given its anemone loads of food the day before !
Some of the smaller kids were in awe at the feeding behaviour of our Spiny Rock Lobster. Many were shouting warnings to me as she got the scent of the food and rapidly approached me! She is a honey though, and conveniently sat cradled in my hand, chomping on her food whilst allowing me to point out interesting parts of her morphology! As per usual, I had to endure several culinary based comments from the visitors describing what recipes they could use her in – how could they???
The volunteers were terrific and gave me loads of assistance. Asuka (I hope that is the way it is spelt) was great in the discovery room showing children the sea-stars and chatting to visitors. A big THANK YOU to her along with Alex (with the lovely London accent), Marie and Cora! Thank you ladies for helping me mop up Inky’s squirt fest! It was a pleasure to share such a great day with you all!
Special THANK YOU to my sister Joy and her hubby Ron for coming in to “check out me talk!” They will soon be off to start a new life in Victoria and I will miss them.
That’s about it, until next week….!!!!
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