I started off on the outer deck with some sea birds:
A Pelagic Cormorant was swimming around the pilings below the deck.
I was a bit surprised to see this goose hanging around on the ocean. I think it might be a Snow Goose? If anyone knows for sure...let me know.
It was happy to honk to let everyone know it was there.
Pigeon Guillemots were definitely one of my favorite discoveries on this trip. I could watch them all day.
Here's a pair practicing for the next Olympic synchronized swimming event.
Gotta love those bright red legs!
Of course, once the event is over, you have to...as Taylor Swift says..."Shake It Off"
Can't be a good athlete unless you do your wing exercises.
Around this time, the rest of the group decided that I had wasted enough time on birds and that we needed to go inside RIGHT NOW, MOM! I took a lot of the indoor photos with my iPhone due to the dim lighting.
Baby turtle checking out its reflection in the mirror.
They had one tank devoted to the fish (characters) from Disney's "Finding Nemo." This is a Blue Tang.
They are one of my favorite fish - such great colors (same as my Alma Mater: UCLA)
Shrimp with anemones in the background.
These little orange and pink anemones are called Strawberry Anemones...such a perfect name!
That is one serious suit of armor...you do not want to mess with this crab!
Leopard shark (I think).
Hermit crab in the foreground with squid in the background.
Cuttlefish - these guys can change their colors to blend in with their background or communicate to other cuttlefish.
Another favorite of mine: the nautilus.
Again...I could watch (and photograph) these guys all day.
Their eyes are amazing.
Again...this is where I got yelled at for "TAKING TOO LONG, MOM!"
Giant Pacific Octopus.
The Aquarium has a whole wing devoted to just jellyfish...all done in a kind of Psychedelic 60's theme. It was really cool (and I never thought I'd say that about jellyfish.
Comb jelly...you can see it's bioluminescence. The bright dots in the background are tiny copapods and other miniature critters that also exhibit bioluminescence.
This is a Polka Dot Jelly.
This is an Upside Down Jelly...the bell goes on the bottom and the tentacles all reach up.
After that, the joke was on my family because, guess what? There's an INDOOR BIRD EXHIBIT...mwahahahaaaaa!
This penguin gives new meaning to the phrase "asleep on your feet."
Of course, I'd be tired, too, if I had a baby penguin to take care of. So cute!
This Bufflehead is swimming IN THE SHARK TANK! Okay, so they are baby sharks, but still...I wondered if he knew his toes might be in danger of getting nibbled on.
This Bufflehead is playing it much more safe by hanging out at the food dishes.
I have the impression that this is a younger bird...SO CUTE!
Dunlin getting a drink...
...and a bite to eat...
...and then posing perfectly for me.
Least Sandpiper from the front...
...and from the back.
This was my favorite bird in the exhibit...Red Phalarope.
Another view...such gorgeous colors.
This was a close second favorite...Red-Necked Phalarope.
Showing off the reason for its name.
Willet snoozing on the sand...
...and giving me the "Can I help you with something" look for interrupting its nap.
After that, it was time for the sea otter show and movie and then lunch and then one last look from the deck outside:
More cormorants...sunning themselves on the rocks.
I tried really hard to capture the iridescence of their feathers in the sun.
This guy helped me out with a wing flap display. Whenever I see them, I'm reminded of one of my favorite childhood novels "Island of the Blue Dolphins" and how the main character made a skirt out of cormorant feathers.
The Guillemots were back...this time fishing for their afternoon snack.
Of course, after you catch your snack, you have to do a victory dance!
It's like a football player doing the End Zone dance after making a touchdown.
And then you swim off with your prize before anyone else can grab it.
Because the Harbor Seals are hungry, too.
Hiding in the kelp bed waiting for anything that gets dropped.
Gosh, this was a fun day. But I realized at this point that we only had a few days left. Have got to make them count!