Sometimes you just need to escape to Long Island Sound for a day and spend some quality time hanging out with eels and jellies and delicate pipefish and sea dragons, you know?
My “year of aquariums” (I’ve visited four so far!) continued this weekend with a trip to an institution in Connecticut that claims the title of the “best aquarium in New England”–and as I happen to have visited all the other aquariums in New England, I tend to agree. I appreciated the focus on the local ecosystems of Connecticut waters and the opportunity to take my best photograph of a moray eel yet! (You’ll have to click through to see him in all his glory: though if elongated, toothy fish don’t charm you as much as they do me, perhaps you should sit this one out…)
An alternative title for this post could be “PLUSH MOLA, PLUSH MOLA, PLUSH MOLA.” In fact, I don’t know why I’m even bothering to write any content when I could just type look at this mola ad infinitum. Who is the genius responsible for mass-producing a cuddly version of the world’s heaviest bony fish?
My soft little sunfish, however, wasn’t the only treasure I picked up at the Monterey Bay gift shop! Hey, if people can blog about what they’ve hauled back from Disneyland or Sephora or whatever, why can’t I share the ridiculous souvenirs I picked up from my favorite tourist attraction? As one might say in a sea shanty–haul away boys, away!
On days such as this, I’m all the more eager to continue my plan of absconding to Atlantis, living beneath the waves in an isolated society of my own design.
A lost oceanic city may not be real (yet!), but there’s always Monterey Bay Aquarium, my personal “happiest place on Earth!” I could have stared into those seemingly endless open-ocean tanks forever, gazing at the soft spiraling arms of kelp until I was lulled into a meditative state to match the New Age music that constantly plays in these watery halls.
Though I’m writing this post from the relative comfort of my Massachusetts apartment–after a 30-hour delayed flight ordeal, naturally–I would give anything to return to Blue Planet Aquarium, where I spent one of my final days in England.
When I was stranded in a Newark airport hotel overnight, I comforted myself with thoughts of a soft purple glow and the slow, meandering fin-strokes of sharks. The experience of observing these marine giants seemingly floating above me, suspended in air and light, remains a highlight of my British adventure.
(It’s too bad that I forgot to pack my shark dress, though!)
There are few professional picture-takers I admire quite so much as wildlife photographers. Capturing moments of natural beauty is tricky enough when you don’t have to worry about your subject scurrying away! Photographing underwater creatures, then, requires even more skill, patience, and good timing.
This is all to say that recording my recent trip to Mystic Aquarium (appropriately located in Mystic, CT) was a herculean task beyond belief: but I love sealife so much that I couldn’t help but do my best to channel my inner Sylvia Earle and get up close and personal with these waterbound wonders.
And I thought photographing the moon was hard!