Thursday, February 02, 2012

London Aquarium

After the zoo, then the aquarium.

Today we shambled to the Aquarium, still thickheaded from last night (three bottles of wine and three pints of beer, not in that order). It was still freezing outside, and as we descended into the Aquarium, I wasn't sure if it was a hangover I was suffering from, or being enraged by the idolent staff at the ticket counter (one person working while two other looked on disdainfully).

The trouble is that after being spoilt by the incredible aquariums in Kuala Lumpur, Kenting and Osaka, I'm scared of being disappointed (as I was at the aquarium in Bangkok last year). Fortunately, the London Aquarium isn't bad at all.

There's no standout enormous fish, like Kenting's whale shark or Osaka's sunfish, but there's a good variety of fish, from the Atlantic and the Pacific, as well as rainforest and Antarctic sections. There's a lovely tank near the entrance filled with rays and flat fish, swimming round and round, and there's lots of information that's very well presented about each fish.

So today, I learned that if a puffer fish is startled too often and has puffed itself up too many times, it can't get back down to its normal size. It's overpuffed, or undeflatable, or just plain stretched, poor things.

My favourite thing was probably the enormous antarctic starfish, at least a metre in diameter, with dozens of arms, all bright red. My least favourite thing was reading about all the damage done to marine environments by overfishing/catching seahorses to sell as souveniers/cruise ships dumping sewage in the sea. There's certainly more of an environmental message being pushed here, compared to some of the aquariums out east.


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