Thursday, September 6, 2012

Whale Sharks! Churaumi Aquarium, Okinawa

In the midst of the madness of a new school year, Nana and I are reaching back to catch up on some stuff from the spring and early summer.

Nana and I both have a thing for aquariums, and I especially have a thing for whale sharks. They're huge, slow, graceful, and dumb enough that they don't suffer from being stuck in a giant tank.

In Taiwan, we visited Kenting's National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium largely because it's one of the few places in the world where you can see a whale shark in captivity. In Okinawa, we rented a car for a scenic drive to the Churaumi Aquarium, a sprawling complex tucked away on a remote peninsula in the north-western part of the island.

Totally worth it, for three reasons:

  • Giant manta rays.
  • A catwalk where you can look down on the big tank from above.
In retrospect, I guess that's five reasons. Oh, well.

Count 'em. Three!

Me, standing directly under a %@$& whale shark.
The catwalk above the tank was especially fun. The manta rays make great noises when they break the surface of the water, and you can't quite tell how enormous they are until they're passing directly underneath you.

Also, a giant cartoon topiary whale shark. Because this is still Japan.
Thar she doesn't blow (because she's a fish and has gills)!

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