SeaWorld makes me happy!

I clearly love the sea. I love scuba diving, boats, sea dragons, whales, baby elephant seals, frog fish, bioluminescence etc etc. Given this, of course I am going to be a fan of people and organizations that help sea creatures. For more than 45 years, SeaWorld, San Diego’s Animal Rescue Team, has helped ill, orphaned and injured animals stranded along the coastline. Yay them! Recently I had the opportunity to take a day trip to San Diego, and while my hours there were far too few, I spent them wisely as a guest at the SeaWorld park with sharks, dolphins, whales, otters and rays….I loved it.

AND they have a rollercoaster – Manta…so fun.

California Sea Otters

  • Are endangered
  • Found exclusively along the coast of central California
  • Have the densest fur of any mammal with up to 1,000,000 hairs per square inch
  • Eat about 25-30% of their body weight daily
  • Use tools! They use a rock as a tool to pry prey off rocks and break open shells.
  • Are freaking adorable
  • And…apparently sea otters hold paws while sleeping to keep from drifting apart – ya…crazy cute.
  • Links…123

Beluga Whales

  • Are nicknamed “sea canaries” by mariners, belugas are often heard before seen due to their birdlike songs.
  • Have a low dorsal ridge that allows them to easily swim beneath thick ice sheets and find breathing holes.
  • Live in the Arctic Ocean and its adjoining seas (Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, the Hudson Bay, etc.).
  • Are endangered.
  • Eat about 100 different types of mainly bottom-dwelling animals like octopus, squid, crabs, snails, sandworms, and a variety of fishes.
  • Weigh an average of about 3,000 pounds.
  • Can mimic humans says Scientific American: Captive Beluga Whale Imitated Human Voices

**I had the most amazing opportunity to pet a beluga whale a few years ago at Mystic Aquarium as a guest of their interaction program. I LOVED it!! Guests can also participate in this program at SeaWorld.

**I also had the opportunity to see whales in Iceland while there on a fossil excavation.

Sea Turtles

  • Have survived in the seas for more than 200 million years
  • There are seven sea turtle species: Green, leatherback, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley, olive ridley sea loggerheads and flatbacks.
  • Green sea turtles are vegetarians, may travel up to 1,300 miles from summer nesting grounds to winter feeding grounds and can slow their heart rate enough to stay under water for as long as five hours.
  • Hawksbill sea turtles can stay under water for up to 45 minutes.
  • The leatherback is the largest of all living sea turtles and their shells are between 4 feet and 6 feet.
  • Green, leatherback, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley, and olive ridley sea turtles are endangered and loggerheads are threatened.

**I am always soooo happy when I see sea turtles! There are few things as fabulously majestic as swimming with a sea turtle. 🙂

**Most recently I had the opportunity to see hundreds of olive ridley turtles in Costa Rica. They were mating and then coming to shore to lay eggs – they are known for their behavior of synchronized nesting in mass numbers (arribadas).

Penguins

  • There are 18 different penguin species: emperor, king, gentoo, Adélie, chinstrap, little, yellow-eyed, Snares, macaroni, northern and southern rockhopper, Fiordland, erect-crested, Royal, African, Humboldt, Magellanic, and Galápagos.
  • The Galápagos, yellow-eyed, northern rockhopper, African and erect-crested penguins are endangered.
  • The emperor penguin is the largest of all living penguins, standing at 3.7 feet tall. The smallest of the penguins is the little penguin, standing at just 16 inches tall.
  • Penguins are found on every continent below the equator, including some of the warmest and coldest places on the planet.
  • Spend as much as 75% of their lives at sea.
  • Have about 100 feathers per square inch.
  • Eat krill, as well as fish and squid.

**Penguins are just so lovely. While on my Antarctic Quest I was able to see and photograph (photos below)  king, gentoo, Adélie, chinstrap, macaroni, rockhoppers and Magellanic penguins. I was also lucky enough to snorkel with a Galápagos penguin – in the Galápagos – not Antarctica :). AND I participated in a penguin interaction program in which I pet an Africa penguin. So you elusive emperors, little, yellow-eyed, Snares, Fiordland, erect-crested and Royals – I hope we meet soon! I really need to get to New Zealand!

Bottlenose Dolphins

  • Live all over the world and travel in ever-changing social groups
  • Have a signature whistle that is so distinct that scientists can identify individual dolphins by looking at their whistle shapes on a sonogram.
  • Can be 6.5 to 12 feet long.

**Swimming with dolphins is freaking awesome!

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