Thursday, June 27, 2013

海洋 (ocean)

Today was all about Taiwan's coastline! I was super excited for this day, because I have always had an interest in the ocean/rivers (was thinking of majoring in marine biology a couple of years ago). We got in the bus to head to the Chao-Jing Ocean Center. It was pretty special because this place isn't open to the tourists and public, so it was kind of like a behind the scenes tour! We went downstairs to view the rows of tanks, which were filled with an array of different species. On the far side of the basement, there was a huge tank that lined the whole wall. There swimming around were the biggest fish I have ever seen! They were gropers! these fish were slow swimmers, with a periodical swish of their fin to creepily glide through the water. But they were huge!! As big as my arm span, or even bigger! I think what really got me was the fact that there were cases where they attacked humans... but they were still so cool to see. We weaved through the rows of tanks to see many different types of fish, crabs, and corals. We found Nemo! Actually a lot of Nemo's and Dory's; they were just hiding out here in Taiwan! We even got to go into a special room where they kept some of the deep sea animals, such as the gigantic crab. the room was kept very cold, to mimic the temperature of the bottom of the sea. It was lighted with hues of blue and some green light, which made it kind of hard to see clearly. It was a neat thing to see; a little glimpse of what it is kind of like at the bottom.

So after another lunch box, and a little hike around the water's edge, we hopped back into the bus to make our way to the intertidal zone. Along the way, we had to stop and borrow some funky looking boots, which were needed to wear in order to prevent us from slipping everywhere on the rocks. We also grabbed a drink that was derived from seaweed! it was actually really refreshing; but it took me a little bit of time to get over the "jelly" texture.

We finally made it to the tide pools! It was cool to compare these tidepools to the ones I frequently went to in California. Here, there wasn't any sand inbetween the rock features, there was just a huge strand of the rocky surface. We had some mishaps where some of the students slipped on the unstable rocks, and got some scrapes and cuts, but nothing too serious. I was surprised at how many sea creatures we found! Sooooo many crabs scurried across the rocks, and hit in the crevasses. Also the numerous brittle stars was unique to me. The tidepools in CA didn't have as many sea stars, just a lot of sea anemones (which I didn't find any here).

the group before heading to the ocean center (with a beautiful view of the water!)
Me and Baker at the intertidal zone!

Brittle star!
Taiwan has so many crabs! I was amazed at how many we saw scurrying around the rocks
So unique...
Sea cucumber, when you picked it up, it would squirt water at'cha!

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