Back in July 2011, the husband had a 3 month work-from-home pact, courtesy of an ankle fracture + surgery after a notorious jump & land at a volleyball game. Our studio apartment in Jersey offered a dreamy view of the Manhattan skyline, right by the bedside where he, his cast doodled with an outpour of greetings and me, would spend long hours of the day, vicariously living the east coast summer. Come October, his ankle was as good as new, fall slowly settled in with the trees rustling more than they usually do, the ground drenched in leaves brushed in ochre and crimson and temperatures dropping, as if nature was gently easing us into winter. But none of that mattered because it had been a long ordeal & all he wanted was to get out, drive & feel the blast of air that storms one’s face as the car cruises the roads. Freedom.
The destination didn’t matter either but I had to put my foot down and limit a drive that wouldn’t end up being laborious for a healing ankle. We don’t want a relapse now, do we? The Baltimore Aquarium in Maryland seemed ideal, a four hour drive, good enough for a protective wife, good enough for an adventurous husband.
Now, that the background has been painted, lets get to the actual set. The National Aquarium is a set of buildings partially encapsulated by the Inner Harbour in Baltimore. These are times you want to stay young at heart, when you want your inner, curious child to wake from dormancy because only then can one truly appreciate an experience such as this…we are entering an unknown world after all, (at least to some extent), albeit made easy.
Surrounded by a gleaming blues and aquas in a dim light, this place provides a journey into a plethora of aquatic life that can get anybody squealing in wonder. Whether you’re moseying along the aquatic coral reef or exploring the Amazonian rivers (figuratively!), the identically created habitats (like the marshes, the plants, the cliffs & low temperatures for the seabirds)are not just for the marine animals but for us too, travellers, who are keen to dive into the mysteries of the ocean.
I first heard of Jellies when Monica shrieked in agonizing pain after being stung by a jellyfish (we all remember that episode from ‘Friends’, don’t we?). Hard to believe since they appear starkingly delicate. These diaphanous, dainty animals sway gently like ballet dancers in the water, like birds flutter in the sky, each prettier than the other. But, the interesting fact here is that an abundance in jellyfish proliferation (owing to several reasons) is definitely causing an imbalance in the ecosystem, almost serving a warning towards environmental change.
We also, “found Nemo”, the little Percula Clownfish, several swordfish, the Queen Angelfish radiant in blue & yellow, the venomous Lionfish & the list goes on…..these fish are smattered, dotted & lined in an eruption of color, almost as if a rainbow burst on them.
Orange beaked Puffins (seabirds), self reparable, spiny skinned Sea Stars, Sea horses floating with swag & prolific coral reefs…they’re all there and of course we spotted the usual suspects i.e high-on-energy Dolphins, whistling & clicking as they jumped & played, thereby treating guests to a 20 minute show.
“Life is life’s greatest gift.Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own.On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it, than the largest.
– Lloyd Biggle Jr.
Do take a look at the pictures…