A goal when planning this field trip was to incorporate different forms of public transportation to show our volunteers how enjoyable a trip to Seattle could be from Whidbey and Camano Islands.
From Whidbey, volunteers parked their cars at various park-and-ride lots, some rode Island Transit, and walked on the Clinton/Mukilteo Ferry. On the mainland, they walked a few blocks to the Sounder Train Station, and enjoyed the quiet, relaxed, along the Sound ride into downtown Seattle and King Street Station. Once off the train, the 25-minute leisurely walk to the Seattle Aquarium likely included picking up coffee and pastries along the way.
From Camano, volunteers used the next best form of group transport which was 3 carpools. Unfortunately, this was not so relaxing for the drivers, since traffic was bad.
The diver shared information about the various local species of fish found in the enormous tank, along with providing the fish some delectable, sustainably-harvested snacks. After the show, we headed to the touch tanks room. Here we were able to touch multitudes of local varieties of anemones, sea stars, sea cucumbers, and crabs. A few volunteers were even given a chance to feed an urchin — kelp is their favorite meal. We then convened at the Giant Pacific Octopus (G.P.O.) aquarium to discuss octopuses with a Biologist from the aquarium. She gave us plenty of fascinating facts about the G.P.O. Did you know that their arm span can be up to 20 feet across?
The volunteers were able to roam more of the aquarium as they pleased. Some of the displays included tropical fish, seabirds, shorebirds, and marine mammals. Many of the volunteers enjoyed watching the Sea Otters during feeding time. Mishka one of the Seattle Aquariums sea otters has asthma, and the caretakers showed us how Mishka has learned to use an inhaler. Here is a link to a video about how they accomplished this!
Some volunteers opted to take a 1 hour cruise of the harbor. During the tour we learned lots about the natural history, different uses of the harbor, and lots about our local shipping trade. It was a beautiful clear Fall day, perfect for a boat ride.
For those of us from Whidbey we eventually walked back to bus stops and to King Street Station, while those from Camano packed into the carpools and made their way home. What a great day!