But last weekend I went to Auckland's Aquarium - Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World - to have a look at the fish. Though the smell was not particularly pleasant it was not overpowering either and there was plenty to see which kept a person both distracted and fascinated. The best part of the place was the tunnel under the water. For the first section we got to watch a variety of small sharks, the sleekest of all being the notoriously aggressive mako. It was interesting looking at the difference between the breeds - they were all roughly the same size with different dorsals, tails, gill-fins and nose/mouths. I was most fasinated by the rays however. Kelly Tarlton's had several short-tailed sting rays and a couple of eagle rays. A short-tailed ray can weigh up to 200kg for only being 2 or 3 metres in length, though they can grow up to 4.3 metres in length. Seeing them in the tunnel was cool as one of them was very active, swimming up and down the tank and scratching his (her?) belly on the top of the tunnel. We got so many clear views of the ray's mouth and gills which are all on the white underside of the ray, and one of them even had brown-ish speckles on their underbelly, so even a fish can be a ginge!!!
There were plenty of other sights to see - puffer fish, angel fish, sea horses, moray eels and the hugest snapper I have seen. One of the moray eels was quite curious about us and followed us for a way along the tunnel. Though the skin is red-brown and looks very dry, the eyes were a bright blue and looked much more intelligent than your average cold-hearted fish! We watched an octopus squeeze his entire body into a film canister in order to get the fish inside and saw crays so massive Sarge almost cried.
Maalie - birds were not left out. Kelly Tarlton's has an antarctic section with two varieties of penguin - King and Gentoo.
Though we missed the feeding time for the penguins we were allowed to jump in a little 'snow mobile' and take a tour round the outside of their enclosure. They were a lot bigger than I had expected, but very very cool.
The week so far has included for me two hockey practices. I am in a quandry at the moment, as the team I played for last year has gone up a grade from Champ 2 Women to Camp 1 Women. This is wonderful as nearly all the girls in the team deserve to play in the next grade up and it's nice to see they have the oportunity. The old Champ 1 team had mostly gone up a grade too, into a new grade which has just been created this year. Above the senior grade are the premier grades. Last year there were two - Prem 1 and Prem 2. Now there is Prem 3.
Here's the problem. The team created for the new grade (mostly the old Champ 1 team) doesn't have a Goal Keeper as the regular has taken time off for her new baby. So both the new Champ 1 team (my old team) and the new Prem 3 team want me to play with them. I have the choice of jumping up one grade from last year or one and a half grades. I have been making a list in my head of the pros and cons of each and I still don't know what I want to do! Champ 1 is still a step up and will be a challenge, all my friends are in the team, the practice times are better but playing day is worse. It's cheaper. (Though still expensive.)
Prem 3 has a coach who knows what to do with a GK, worse practice times but I'll play on Saturdays, costs more - but their old GK is happy to start playing again as soon as I go to Texas which I am doing for work in the middle of the year.
So at the moment I am attending both practice sessions which is interesting as I am pretty exhausted by the second one. All my muscles for spending an hour bouncing on my toes and holding my hands out at right angles are SCREAMING at me and my gear is still waterlogged from the rain!
Haha - it's good to be back!
This Saturday we have 'club day' where every team in my club (Western Districts) will play their equivalent from a different association. Western is a part of the Auckland Hockey assoc. and we're playing a club from the North Shore assoc. To help me make my desicion I'm playing for both the Champ 1 and Prem 3 teams - one after the other!!! I'll try to get someone to take photos for me and post them up, when I recover!!!