Sunday, November 10, 2013

Oregon Coast Aquarium - 2

We continue our visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon.

We found it interesting that—like the sea otters, seals, and sea lions—the giant Pacific octopus had its location personalized on the map of the grounds. However, today this star of the aquarium was curled up in the corner of his home.
Our next stop was the Seabird Aviary. Other than the Tufted Puffins in the next two photos, I do not remember the names of the other seabirds shown here.

Next was the Aquarium’s Passages of the Deep exhibit. In this 1.32 million-gallon exhibit, three expansive ocean habitats are connected by tunnels that stretch underwater for 200 feet. Suspended eight feet below the water’s surface and eight feet above the bottom, the tunnels create the sense of walking beneath the sea.

A series of underwater walkways begins with the Orford Reef, modeled after the underwater environment off the Oregon coast near Point Blanco. Featured here are kelp, anemones, wolf eels, rockfishes and surfperch.

In Halibut Flats, the stormy Oregon coast, often known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific” is depicted.

The longest tunnel in Passages of the Deep also represents the world’s largest environment – the Open Sea. There are no towering kelp forests or narrow rocky channels here… just water as far as the eye can see. Most of the species represented in this exhibit live in the upper strata of water, commonly referred to as the Sunlit Zone. This area is alive with five species of shark, huge bat rays and great schools of anchovy and mackerel.
Standing in the tunnel, looking above and below, we were transfixed by the activity around us.

As we watched the shark circle the the two divers (shown to the left of the black-and-white pole in the photo below), the divers used the black-and-white pole to guide the shark around them.
Given the impact of this exhibit, we probably should have made this our last stop, but there was still one more exhibit.

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