(Actually, my hair is kinda long right now, which is why it's tied back. A few penguins in the background to go along with the emperor and empress penguins in the foreground.)
Yesterday was a nice day to go, the weather being slightly hazy. We still got perhaps a little more sun than we thought we would - him more so than me - I had a base tan, he didn't have much of one. I was a bit amused that father was initially going to go in his clericals and after the preliminary how-dee-dos I jumped on his host (we'd spoken briefly over the phone before) and I said something along the lines of "DUDE, did you tell him about the possibility of getting wet and how hot it is there?" And Fr. Sean said "you mean I shouldn't wear my clericals?" To which I said "you will be hotter than Hades in that." So he quickly changed into mufti. And off we went. We parked near a "guard tower" which I'm sure Fr. Sean will upload. He was a little stunned by the fingerprint reader at the gate, and so was I, Having checked my camera bag for "dangerous items" I still managed to waltz in with my mini Swiss Army knife. Whatever, I think I could have had a bazooka down my pant leg and they'd have been none-the-wiser. I *think* the fingerprint scanner was for people with annual passes so they don't "lend" the pass to friends...but who knows? We weren't asked to use it at any rate.
Shortly after entering, I stopped to pet a batray. Ugly thing that looks like a B-1 bomber in miniature. It felt very smooth and slick. Much smoother and slicker than I'd have thought. Then we hot footed it over to Cirque du Mer ... for which I later bitched out my friend for recommending. "WTF were you thinking?" I asked her that evening. Waaayyyyy too "French." I kept praying for a killer whale to pop up and eat one of them. Didn't happen. Then we stopped for lunch and Fr. Sean treated me to chicken jumbalaya. My chicken was dry, his veggies were hard...the rice and jumbalaya was good by both accounts. But it was still fun because of the conversation. We topped it off with watermelon. And if you think we talked about you during lunch we probably did. ;-D
We also hit the sky tower which gave a nice panoramic view.
The manatee rescue was awesome...can't figure out why they weigh 1800 pounds, eat 300 pounds of lettuce a day and have hefty waistlines and small fins and they do constant 360 spins whilst swimming. Fr. Sean said it "just goes to prove diets don't work." We saw some gluttonous sea lions and Harbor seals. Fr. Sean couldn't tell the difference, but I could. But then I'm a local.
We did the shark encounter which was really eerie.
And you could also walk through the tank with them swimming right by. Well, like they say in JAWS "the shark is an evolutionary marvel -- it swims, it eats, and it makes other sharks, and that's it."
(Clergicus Anglicus Rubercus Probiscus: Good Lord, look at the red nose on that thing. Why don't sharks eat liturgists? Professional courtesy.)
He looks like he's concerned with getting that picture. I think he's concerned about the tank breaking. I was.
We caught a show with whales...and other thangs, had a really neat penguin encounter, saw some polar bears, Clydesdales, and pets which did some fun tricks, including a cat who walks on high wire.
We also rode the Star Tours like ride that made you feel like you were in a helicopter going over the arctic. It had the obligatory "death star run" through glacial cracks. We also buzzed some polar bears. Hope Fr.'s back is okay, but he didn't bitch me out afterwards, and he didn't hobble back to the car.
Fr. Sean had to be back at his host's at 6 for a rehearsal, so he didn't get a chance to see Shamu (for some dumb reason in the summer he only comes out at night - must be a good whale union) and he didn't get a chance to go on a combo roller coaster, splash ride, Journey to Atlantis that was AWESOME. I went back and did both after I dropped him off.
We had a whale of a good time, wish the rest of you could have been there too.
Update: Fr. Sean's take is here. And I was right. He did post the guard tower pic. If memory serves the funny bird is from Uganda and is a great crested crane.