You see, I am strange. I never sleep well my first night in a new place. There's too many new noises, smells, the bedding feels funny...I just can't sleep. And poor Paige, there was another group on her floor of the hotel that made noise into the wee hours of the morning. Not much sleeping was done, and that makes for a difficult day.
Our morning started off with continental breakfast in the hotel lobby, but as they're working on renovating their tiny meeting/dining room, my group of girls decided to take their food back up to their room for some peace and quiet. I thought that was a great idea!
Shortly after breakfast came boarding the bus again to head into Boston for the New England Aquarium! Pete had gone to Boston a few years ago with the Science Club, and he loved this aquarium. Paige and I were super excited to finally get to see what the hype was about, and we were not disappointed.
|Waiting to get into the aquarium|
Outside of the aquarium they have a harbor seal exhibit. Some of them were swimming around and splashing, but we liked the sleeping lazy ones the best!
Inside, we went to the ray touch tank first. I guess I didn't know what I thought they would feel like, but they felt kind of squishy yet rubbery, almost like what I thought a dolphin would feel like. There were two that hung around us a lot, and we named them Flappy (because he'd flap and splash us) and Happy (because he'd act happy to see us there!).
In the main exhibit area is a huge (and when I say huge, I mean HUGE like four stories high, 40 feet wide, 200,000 gallons huge!) tank in the middle that a ramp goes up and around so you can see all of the layers of creatures in the tank. They had so many varieties of fish and sea creatures in there, even some scuba divers cleaning/checking on the creatures! We spent most of our time here, so we weren't able to go see all of the tanks on each floor.
|The top of the tank|
We were under strict orders to find the giant octopus. It was Pete's favorite thing when he was there, so we had to find him and say hi. And goodness, were the octopi amazing! They were just sitting around, but, they were huge and gorgeous!
|Octopus on the front of the tank|
We checked out the gift shop while we were there, and had lunch in the cafe. Everyone was getting super nervous for the whale watch at this point; we had to take medicine for sea sickness, and a lot of the kids (and even me) were so afraid of getting sick on the boat. A lot of the kids also had Sea Bands (Paige and I got some as well), and I had ginger ale, so I felt as prepared as I could be for the boat.
Finally, it was time to board our boat for the whale watch. It docks right next to the aquarium, making for a quick walk over. Paige, her friend and her dad (my co-chaperone) and I all went up to the top deck, but Paige started feeling sick almost immediately. I figured it was mostly nerves, but we went to the main deck and she started feeling better once the boat got going. Once the boat is out of the harbor, it goes really really fast! I'm glad we were told to bring sweatshirts, because boy, does it get COLD on the boat!
|On board the whale watch, watching everyone outside of the aquarium|
|Some of our group on the main deck|
looking down from the top deck
We drove out for quite awhile, and then stopped and waited for a whale....then drove a bit some more and waited....and still nothing. The crew on the boat were really trying hard to get us a whale; apparently their policy is if there's no whale, they give you a fee pass to go back on another watch. As that would be expensive for them to do, they do whatever it takes for everyone to see a whale!
About the time a lot of the passengers were feeling like we wouldn't see a whale, one of the crew members who had been telling us all facts about whales over the PA system starts yelling that there's a whale at 1 o'clock (they had instructed us on that 12 o'clock is the front of the boat, 6 o'clock is the back, so when a whale was spotted everyone would know where to look). And sure enough, there he was!
A little later there was another whale spotting at 11 o'clock!
And then again later at about 8 o'clock. I didn't get pictures of this one as it was farther out, but it was really neat. One of the ladies we were standing with spotted where a whale was in the distance, then Paige saw the spray, and then the crew saw it and alerted everyone else!
There had been evidence of a whale again, but we unfortunately had to head back into shore. Neither one of us got sick, and it was such an amazing experience!
Fun fact: there are four big engines on the boat. One of them can fill up the huge tank in the aquarium in FOUR MINUTES. That is craaaazy!
Once we got back to shore, we walked a few blocks over to the Quincy Market for dinner and shopping. We had three hours for food and souvenirs, and Paige and I pretty much hung out just the two of us for that time. We got smoothies for dinner (we weren't overly hungry), got souvenirs for us and gifts for the guys, and watched a street performer!
We were hoping for a slow trip back to the hotel as a lot of the kids had fallen asleep, but as it was after rush hour, we made it back in about 25 minutes. The kids woke up, and then it was pool party #2. Only two of my girls wanted to swim, so they went in and the other two visited and relaxed on the pool deck. After a short while, they all decided to go watch tv in their room. I went to our chaperone meeting, called and talked to Pete, and did lights out for the girls between 9:30 and 10....and then I passed out and barely moved until 6 the following morning! I was just a liiiiitle tired ;)
Day #3 will be up on the blog soon: the long and slightly eventful drive home and our stop at Howe Caverns!
Have you ever gone on a whale watch? What is your favorite aquarium?