Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sentosa - 21st Mar 2008

Yesterday I was at Sentosa, mainly Underwater World, to dive with the sharks. Sad to say I didn't have a dive camera (my bro-in-law forgot to bring his), and I'll not have any pics from the inside (It's about time I get a dive camera >.<). However I did take quite a few shots from out of the water, should be sufficient? Else you'll have to make do with underwater shots that I'll be posting up in the near future from some dive trips.

Overall the dive with the sharks was quite an experience, but truth be told the sharks were small, the biggest in that tank was only about 1.5m in length, nothing big. But of course we get to do some things which would be considered nuts or very tough to do in the wild, touch them! Even get to hug the leopard shark! The skin of the sharks were actually quite rough, and I think it's true that in the wild should you brush against a shark while it's moving fast, it's definitely possible to get an injury from it. We also got the chance to feed the many stingrays swimming in the same tank (yep stingrays, the same family as the ones who took Steve Irwin). Touching the stingray's body was quite surprising, the texture felt like leather, and it was very soft and smooth. It was quite cute, and definitely fun to have them eating off your hands (but not eat your hands), it's like hand-feeding your pets.

As the dive was done in one of their main tanks, hundreds of land-dwellers who were viewing the aquarium could see us moving about inside. I felt like a celebrity for the day, with countless cameras taking our photos as we moved about inside the tank and feeding the rays and fishes. Even a mere waving at our audience sent them into a frenzy (kids mainly) and more photos were taken. At times we had to jump/swim over the viewing tunnel to the other side of the tank, and I was so tempted to just stand on top of the tunnel, look down at everyone, and just pull off a Kamina pose (I think I was high on nitrogen).

After the dive we took a walk around the aquarium itself. It's alot smaller than I last recall it, or the visit to the Osaka KAIYUKAN spoiled the market for me. The variety of marine life is also alot less than before, or either I had totally forgotten what I had seen before (my last visit here was nearly more than 10 years ago). The circular shaped viewing tunnel also made photography hard, bouncing light off at weird angles and giving a slight distorted view (enlarged marine life), thus the lack of nice photos (or I just suck at it). Oh well enough talk and onto the photos!

Welcome to Underwater World, Sentosa.Outside the main aquarium, there's some ponds with marine life in it. Here's some of the turtles in one of those ponds.The touch pool, where individuals can put their hands into the water and touch the marine life, mainly some small fishes and starfish. There's another touch pool with stingrays but couldn't get a nice shot of it.The vertical tank. They were in the process of cleaning the tank, thus there's an unsightly white tube inside, and there's supposed to be a diver at the top doing manual hand-cleaning of the tank's walls.
Some crab, forgot the name.
More crabs.The one on the right is a Leafy Seadragon, part of the seahorse family. Not sure what's the other on the left, but also a seahorse family member.The tunnel. To view the main tanks where the most bulk of marine life are kept. And yes I was diving in one of these big (it's actually quite small) tanks.
One of the Leopard Sharks, swimming overhead the viewing tunnel.
Gracie the Dugong. Also called a Sea Cow/Sea Pig etc. It's really cute, wished I could dive with it but the slot was fully booked. Maybe another time.Another diver doing cleaning on one of the tanks.
Next up was the Dolphin Lagoon. In the in-closure houses a few Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins, or commonly known as the pink dolphins.
One of the dolphin trainers. There were 3 of them but only one girl.
Of course I took only the girl ^^.
They asked for some volunteers to go down and play/touch the dolphins (erm...please think straight). This individual from China, when they called her out and she stood up, there was a very distinctive "Oooooo" from the male audiences. I'm sure many cameras snapped away and maybe their wives snapped at them soon after.
One of the pink dolphins dancing the the music. かわいい でしょ?
Jumping through the hoops. Ball balancing act.
There was actually a skit where the dolphins were shaking their heads when being offered some fish, but they wanted the whole bucket instead. Pretty cute scene.
Passing the ball around using their fins. Really too cute to watch.One of the finale where the dolphins display their ability to lift
themselves high up above the water. The ball is about 3.5-4m high.2 of the 3 performing dolphins posing on the main stage. Finisher.
Walking to the carpark where our car was, a photo of Palawan Beach.
Still along Palawan Beach, a Suspension Bridge connecting the Beach to a "island". Or you can simply swim across in less than 30secs.
More Beach. For a public holiday the crowds sure seemed little.Part of the dive programme, we were given these T-shirts.
The dolphin and the Sunflower were given by some friends of mine when I met up with them for dinner last night. Was forced to carry the sunflower everywhere we went. It felt really weird -.-". Either way I named the dolphin, it's called "Iriya" (think Fate/Stay). Was repeating Iruka 海豚 (Dolphin in Japanese) over and over thinking of a name and eventually Iriya came out. Some random I guess but it's cute ^^. It's currently paired with Botan next to my bed, they make a cute couple ^^.

I really need a dive camera, would love to had post up pictures from inside the tank instead. I had also asked if I could have taken some pictures of what goes on behind the scenes at an aquarium, but wasn't given the permission so no photos for that. Overall an enjoyable day, but I would definitely prefer diving in open sea instead of a controlled tank environment. Given an opportunity everyone should pick up diving! Or maybe not because I don't want to see divers instead of fishes underwater. But it's definitely an experience everyone should try. This dive with the sharks programme is also open to non-divers, definitely worth it. Hope you enjoyed the photos, and as for actual underwater photos, should be posting them up in the near future. Signing out.


Squee said...

Looks like a fun trip but kinda out of my budget T_T

We can never think of dolphins as marine mammals anymore ^^;

Panther said...

Yeah I would far prefer the real dive in the open if I do learn diving. But I know diving is a strict and dangerous routine, not so easy to pick up. And if you have breathing problems it is a definite no-no. Still, it is something I wish I could do, but really, there are many things that I wish I could do. :)

gordon said...

excellent post! nice pics! the seadragon looks so cool. the dolphins looks so cute. the dolphin handler looks cute too. ^^;

btw, added u to my blogroll. ^^;

Kawasumi Hirito said...

squee: neither can i lol.

panther: actually diving is very relaxing and easy as long as you follow protocol. it's not as dangerous as it seems, but it's definitely still a sport that would be dangerous if you "play" around.

gordon: yep she did seems cute. i'm sure that she can handle dolphins anyday if she wants it ^^.

It seems that I'll be going for another dive at Underwater World this coming May, time to start saving money for the dive camera for nicer underwater photos!

Panther said...

Haha I know, but it is only insofar easy and relaxing if you follow strict protocol since anything out of the ordinary and you find yourself in a world of watery hurt.

By the way can you add me on MSN, pantherrh -at- gmail -dot- com, thanks.