Well, the six travellers often left their residence to explore Florida’s landscape, wild life and cultural gems. These trips normally took a day with drives up to 3 hours in one direction. Rather fast they discovered the following problems: Firstly, the characteristic speed limits of the US lead to the fact that you can’t cover that much of a distance within this time span, and secondly, you tend to underestimate the distances in general if you used to the metric system. This means that you plan a route via Google-Maps on your PC and it doesn’t seem to be a big deal, until you recognize it’s 1000 Miles and not Kilometres!
However, one day we drove upwards along the west coast to visit the public part of the Mote Marine Laboratory, the Mote Aquarium in Sarasota. Depending on the route you choose it’s 83-93 Miles which took us 100 Minutes. Actually we had planned to take a look at a special art exhibition afterwards, but then we had to realise that many museums etc. close at 5 p.m.. By the time we arrived there we would have paid ~ $16 for an hour, so we left the place only touring the gift shop :)
But lets get back to the aquarium… [for prices, etc. click above]
This visit really impressed me because several elderly people –volunteers, I assume (?), offered their guidance and wanted to give you some information on the creatures which were displayed in the water tanks. In Germany you have to book and pay for this service in addition to the regular entrance fee. If you’re otherwise addressed by an attendant you mostly have done something wrong, like standing to close in front of a painting or a displayed object.
Besides the observing you can do a bite more here. Of course, there is some short dolphin show twice to three times a day, but you can also pet starfishes, sea cucumbers and some kind of crabs. There’s even a funnel-shaped tank with rays you can fondle, and if the beast has had enough it’s able to escape into the deeper water and is out of reach. By this the visitor has to accept the animal’s will and needs but from my point of view this tank could have been built slightly bigger for the ray’s sake….
Other than this, I have no objections against the way everything was set up and presented, and there are many cute, colourful or mysterious, formidable till quite “ugly” looking creatures to watch here.
No, this picture is not upside down...
Do you recognize this fish? Exactly, it’s a small shark. He’s about 1,5 metres long, so don’t fall over the rail into the tank! ;)
It’s a pity that I have forgotten the name of this strange looking guy, but he strongly reminds me of the Sesame Street character who lives in a trash can :D
Unfortunately, the water in the huge Manatee tank was so greenish that we weren’t able to take a usable photo of these gentle giants. In spite of that I loved this significant information panel, which tells you what humans and Manatees have in common (Please click to zoom in and read):
By the way, there are some animals were it’s very likely to encounter them in the great outdoors. For example, this sign is located at Fort Myers Beach:
So, if you don’t want to be dancing in pain because a sting ray felt threatened by your feet, you should perform a sluggish move while walking through the water.
A young couple thought it would be a good idea to feed the local seagull population by leaving a track of French fries as they stroll along the beach. Actually, I would like to know how this story ended. Did it turn out the way like in Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ and they had to look for shelter in their car? What a pity it will remain an unsolved mystery…
Accidentally we ran into a informal pagean at one of the beach hotels because it was Springbreak. Dressed in bikinis the graces shook their hips to loud pop music and afterwards the audience decided who had preformed best. Of all impressions I found one observation kind of striking: every second girl was named Ashley! So, if you have some logical explanation for this pleeeease contact me via email (see profile).
As you see it’s also fun to visit the pier at night, though it’s more likely to meet relaxed Pelicans here during the day.
To be continued