On Monday the 25th of January 2016, Ms Smith`s and Ms Judge`s 5th classes visited Sea life in Bray. We went because in a few weeks time, we will be getting an aquarium with eight to ten sea creatures which we have to look after for a month.
We left school at 9.30am and got there a half an hour later. On the bus I sat with Ellen. When we got to Sea life we were an hour early, so we had lunch by the beach and played in the playground.
We made our way to Sea life and were met by our guides. We were told to put our bags and coats on the window ledge. Dave was our guide and the other 5th class got Eimear. Dave told us the rules….always to stay behind him, turn the flash off if we were taking photos, as we could hurt or blind the creatures and never to put our hands in the water as the food the creatures get is like our fingers and we wouldn`t want them biting us! Also, the germs we carry on our hands could kill the creatures!
We started our tour. Firstly, we saw stingrays. Dave told us that they have flat, disk shaped bodies and that the oldest stingray there was Ali. Ali is female and 16 years old. Her natural habitat is the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. She is quite a character and likes to “show off” to visitors by splashing around and “dancing”. Stingrays are closely related to sharks, having evolved from sharks millions of years ago. They are commonly found in shallow coastal seas of temperate waters. Stingrays spend the majority of their time buried in the sand, often only moving with the sway of the tide. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in people getting stung due to swimmers not seeing them and accidently stepping on them. The stingray commonly reflects the sea floors shading, camouflaging it from predators, sharks and larger ray. A stingray`s mouth, nostrils and gills are situated on its under belly and their two eyes are at the side. They eat clams, shrimp and sea worms. Hammerhead sharks are predators that use their oddly shaped head to improve their ability to find prey. Their wide set eyes give them a better visual range than most other sharks. Hammerhead sharks eat fish, squid, crustaceans and other sharks. Sharks have no bones, just cartilage. One billion sharks were killed by humans last year while only five humans were killed by sharks. Sharks swim up to humans and since they don’t have hands, they have to feel with their teeth. If we were seals and since shark teeth are sharp and our skin is soft, they would bite us. Before you get into the sea, you must ensure it is safe to do so.
Octopi have three hearts and blue blood. When octopi tentacles fall off, the tentacle itself can smell and find food. It will even try and eat it where the mouth used to be! Even though octopi are colour blind, they can camouflage and change texture. They can fit into tiny spaces. When their tentacle falls off like a starfish, it will grow back after some time. The life span of an octopus is about 18 months. The mother octopus gives up her body as the first meal for her babies!
Lobsters are crustaceans, just like crabs and shrimps. This means that rather than having bones inside them, they grow strong shells to protect them. When they want to grow, crustaceans will have to produce a lot of mucus and slide out of their old shell, before growing a completely new one. This will also mean puffing themselves up with water while they grow it, so they have room to grow inside the shell, and sometimes even eating their old shell to provide the calcium they need. They feed on algae, seaweed and small animals such as shellfish. They have two claws, and they use them like a knife and fork with one huge claw used for crushing and one smaller claw used for slicing. If a lobster loses a limb such as a claw or a leg which they sometimes do during fights, they can re grow it, but it will take a while and will be very small for a few months after.
The male sea horse gives birth to the baby sea horse. Sea horses have no stomach or teeth.
Dave told us there was a fish called the cuttlefish. It waited until the feed was over and would then eat the dead skin off all the other creatures in the tank. This was good for both of them because the fish was getting fed and the creatures were being cleaned!
As I mentioned earlier, the 5th classes in St. Pius X G.N.S. are having an aquarium installed next week and we have to look after eight to ten sea creatures for a month. At the end of our tour Dave showed us a small aquarium and demonstrated what we needed to do to look after it, to ensure it was a good environment for the creatures. He showed us a filter, which plays an important role putting clean water into the tank, a thermometer ensuring the water temperature is correct , a small net to remove all the old food, which would otherwise decay, a very clever magnetic cleaner, which worked by putting one side on the inside of the glass and one on the outside and dragging it around to clean it, a light so the tank wasn`t dark and the creatures could see, a pump to get oxygen into the tank and finally coral and rocks to make the creatures feel at home.
When our tour was finished, I bought some souvenirs. We played for a short while on the beach. We then hopped on the bus and our day came to an end.
I really enjoyed my day and would love to visit Sea Life again in the future!