Thursday, August 6, 2009

On the Coast: Newport Aquairium

Part of squid mural on wall inside aquarium.

Visited the Newport, Oregon Aquarium yesterday. My favorite parts: the jellyfish, the otters, and the overhead aquariums.

Many people volunteer at the aquarium, in fact, if it weren't for the volunteers, I'm not sure the place could offer all the good things they do. I plan on volunteering there myself when I move to the coast.

Took some pictures; the most eerie thing I saw were the Japanese spider crabs. They are huge; and very, truly alien looking. One crab was sitting on top of a rock that was high up in the tank; he looked like the King of the Under World -- from Mars, or something. They live to be 100 years old.

Japanese Spider Crabs. They are huge, and can live to be 100 years old.

The Newport Aquarium is hosting a display of artist Bruce Koike's "Gyotaku" the art of fish printing:
A new art exhibit has recently been installed in the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Passages of the Deep exhibit. Original gyotaku prints by Bruce Kioke complement the colorful Aquarium fish swimming nearby. “It’s a great opportunity to expose people to the art form,” said Koike, “and hopefully it will inspire appreciation for fish and other life forms.” He said it also has a natural stewardship message. “We need to be good stewards of the environment and native flora & fauna.”

Koike, Director of Aquarium Science Technology at Oregon Coast Community College in Newport, took an interest in the marine environment at a young age and his life seems to have evolved around water and fish. He earned a Master of Science degree in Fisheries from Oregon State University in 1988 and has worked at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Read more about the artist and the art of Gyotaku here.

Jellyfish! Interesting watching them; at one point, they all went up to the top of the tank, and I had the impression it was because there were a lot of people crowding around in one chunk, faces up close and personal. One little jellyfish swam up -- and what looked like into -- a very large jellyfish, who "opened up" and enfolded the little guy as it swam up. Probably anthropomorphizing on my part; whatever the reason they are beautiful, and kind of eerie, to watch.

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