Monday, January 08, 2007

Crary Aquarium

One of our Kiwi counterparts at the Christchurch
Travel Office, Laurie, is at McMurdo to help
out with redeployment meetings this week. He's
getting to see a good part of town since this is
possibly his only visit to McMurdo. A personal
tour of Crary Science Lab was arranged for him
and Susie and I tagged along. I have been in
every room in Crary since we had to clean it
every winter, but I had never taken the official
"tour". There were lots of cool things to see,
but the highlight of the tour for me was the
aquarium. They have a small touch tank where
you can touch and handle living sea animals
from the Ross Sea that are brought in for
research. I handled a sea anenome that grabbed
onto my finger and even with my arachnophobia,
touched a sea spider.

Since the "fishing" season is almost over, most
of the tanks were empty. This is the algae bloom
season and the scientists don't aquire lots of
marine life this time of year. However, there
were several dozen Pagothenia Borchgrevinki, or
"Bork" in one tank and they were really curious
at our arrival. They typically swim right under
the sea ice and are a favorite food of penguins
and seals. They popped their heads out of the water,
expeciting food and sometimes just floated there,
wondering what these funny looking "fish" were
that were standing on two legs, looking at them.
I'm not sure what will happen to them when they
shut down the tanks for the summer season. I
hope they get released back into the Sound.

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