Sunday, November 30, 2014

Shedd Aquarium

What can a diver do during the dry times? In past blogs, I’ve suggested some dive-themed movies or pool courses, but I have another suggestion: Visit the Shedd Aquarium!

Mike and I and our friends Jerry and Sheryl took the train from Libertyville to Chicago and then caught a taxi to the Shedd. When we arrived, at approximately 11am, a long line of eager fish-lovers stretched down the stairs. The guys gallantly offered to stand in the queue while Sheryl and I sheltered in the slightly less frigid vestibule. In all, the wait was about an hour. You can spare yourself this agony by either arriving early, like when the Shedd opens at 9am, or purchasing your tickets online and going right up to the “will call” booth upon your arrival.

In any case, the wait was well worth it. Before we even got to any aquariums, we were in awe of the architecture. Everywhere we looked, high and low, there were ocean creatures incorporated into the fixtures or trim. It would be fun just to go through and try to find each fish, crab lobster or other marine thing hidden around the building!

As we toured the various areas, we all agreed that it would be great to be able to place a recliner in front of some of the aquariums and just watch the fish swim by. We were lucky to catch the trainers feeding the beluga whales, and the reaction of the huge Asian carp to the divers going into their aquarium to clean. I could walk around the Caribbean Reef display for hours just watching the fish, rays and sharks patrol the 360 degree display. It was a great way to spend a Saturday!

Here are a few of my photos and videos. Obviously, I loved the Jellies exhibit and I am truly grateful to Walgreens for sponsoring it! Next time you are jonesing for the ocean, lake or river, think of the Shedd.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


I’m amazed at the number of people who tell me they would never scuba dive because they are afraid of sharks.  These are often the same people who tell me about their trip to Alaska and how wonderful it was to see bears and moose up close. I wonder if they would feel the same if Discovery channel had “Bear Week” or “Moose Week”?

I recall how disappointed I was when we dived a particular spot in Hawaii specifically in the hope that we would see hammerheads and saw none. However, we were rewarded on a later dive when we swam almost the entire time with a dozen or more white tips.  It was fantastic!  The sharks just swam along and not one so much as buzzed us or paid us any mind at all.  My sons, when they were new divers, could not wait to see their first shark!  I would say that most seasoned divers would agree that a shark sighting would be the highlight of any dive.  Sharks are so cool to watch as they slip through the water, so majestic and powerful.  Experience (and science) tells us that sharks are not patrolling the dive sites looking for tasty neoprene wrapped divers to eat!  

To that point, I came across this video on this very topic.  Enjoy!