In the most annoying way possible, of course.
Also, this post? Going to be a REALLY long one...because that's how I roll.
Did I mention the resort was incredible? This was just one of the pools where I spent the day being waited on hand and foot and getting my drink on.
Commerson's are quite rare - have a very small habitat area in the Southern Ocean. Also, they spend a significant amount of time swimming upside down...even chasing and eating their prey in that position.
Then it was off to the penguin exhibit. This one is a Magellanic penguin - they live around the tip of South America and are adapted to a much warmer climate. That's why their exhibit is outside in the California sunshine.
As opposed to inside with their Antarctic cousins.
There were a number of penguin species in this exhibit. I know the big one on the left is an Emperor penguin, but not sure what the other two are.
Harbor seal - they released a bunch of these guys into the water right as we got to the exhibit, but I was so slow with the camera that I only managed to capture the last one into the pool.
Got a pretty good shot of one of the walruses, though.
And it was polar bear naptime....SNNNNZZZZZZZZ!!!
Two beautiful beluga whales shared the same pool with the harbor seals. I love how they almost "glow" underwater.
Boy, did they pop up fast when it was feeding time, though!
California Sea Lion (also known as Great White Shark Chow).
We were feeding them fish - this one is loudly protesting how long it's taking me to throw him another one. If you want to hear what they sound like - I'll be posting a couple of videos on my Facebook page about them.
Then, it was time for a really special event. While we were visiting the dolphin enclosure, one of the trainers mentioned that they'd had some cancellations for their "Dolphin Encounter" - where you get to actually pet, feed and help train the dolphins. It cost some extra money, but I have ALWAYS wanted to do this so Ryan and I signed up to come back after lunch and meet a dolphin.
Meet Kametta. She's a 25-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. That's Ryan's hand giving her a chin scratch.
And Ryan's hand giving her the signal to spin in a circle. Dolphins can't hear on the frequency that carries human speech so they respond to hand signals and high-frequency metal whistles (like dog whistles).
There's Ryan giving her the signal to "wave." Right after I took this shot, she turned on her side and waved at us with her flipper.
And since I can never get enough of dolphins (I was allowed to watch WAAAYYYY too many episodes of "Flipper" as a kid), off we went to Dolphin Stadium for the dolphin show. This stadium has been completely re-done - when I was a kid, this was where Shamu performed, but the killer whales have all been moved to a much larger, much newer stadium which I'll show you later.
Then this gal comes through on this lift and swings all over the whole stadium...
...and down into the water. She even picks up some of the divers out of the water and swings THEM all over the stadium.
Meanwhile, scarlet and military macaws are flying through the air and dolphins are diving, spinning and, like this one, posing for the camera. It's wild!
They were so fast that this was the only really good jumping shot that I was able to get. Everything else was a splash as they hit the water LOL!
And here is the adult whale. It always amazes me how high they can jump - so incredibly powerful.
If, like me, you are a marine biology junkie and this isn't enough for you, check out my Facebook page. I've got two Sea Lion videos, a GREAT dolphin video and a penguin video that I'll have up by tomorrow (most of them are there already, but I had some technical difficulties with one of the Sea Lion videos so have to work on that tonight).
Hope you enjoyed the impromptu visit to Sea World San Diego. It's a bit silly, I know, but I have been in love with this stuff since I was Ryan's age. Now that I've actually gotten to pet a dolphin...next up is getting to swim with one! And yes, I will post umpty-zillion annoying pics and videos of that when it happens so I'm just warning you now!