We saw a great IMAX movie called Journey to the South Pacific. Similar to other nature documentaries about this region, the scenery was amazing, and instantly reminded me of my long-time desire to visit these remote and untouched islands. This film though, provided a unique look into the life of inhabitants of these islands, and how it is changing as they realize the need to care for the extremely lush and diverse ocean ecosystem on which they depend for their livelihood. The young main character gets a trip on a special boat, that travels between islands educating the inhabitants of the values of preserving the reefs, and how ecotourism can provide a more reliable livelihood than an overfished reef. Definitely an overall feel good movie that reflects on the dichotomy between traditional island life and our changing planet, and makes me want to join the crew of that education boat!
Exploring the aquarium after the IMAX we ended up at the top of the GOT (Giant Ocean Tank). As if the turtles, rays and needlefish weren't excitement enough, they were trying out some new technology that allowed the interpreters to communicate with the SCUBA diver in the GOT! Having never heard of this technology, I was skeptical at first, but then as the diver surfaced, I could see some fancy waterproof audio equipment near his regulator, and figured it must be legit. I was certainly impressed as the audience asked tough questions of the diver like "Does the puffer fish ever puff up?" To which the diver expertly answered "Not usually because that would mean it was stressed, and we don't like to stress out the fish." Good answer, no one should be stressed at the aquarium.
So, if you are a marine biologist (or anyone else!) wondering if a trip to the aquarium is worth your time, don't think twice! Especially if it is for a birthday celebration. Happy Birthday Laura!