Under the sea in Port Alberni

We have this cool place near the waterfront in Port Alberni that opened nearly two years ago, called the Alberni Aquarium and Stewardship Centre.

It’s a neat place to hang out (much like this hermit crab). They have touch tanks for the brave, a ball pit for the young (not the young at heart–they frown upon adults in the ball pit) and they have changing programs.

Last year they brought in a Build-a-Whale project by the Strawberry Marine Research group, which is just like it sounds: you literally build a whale skeleton on a wooden form.

The whale is coming back to the Alberni Aquarium this month, from Feb. 20 to March 20, 2018.

I was always fascinated with the whales at the Vancouver Aquarium when I was young: we moved from Ontario to BC in the late 1970s and I had never seen ocean creatures close up before the Aquarium.

When I first started my journalism career I learned how to scuba dive off Quadra Island. I’ll never forget the first time I ducked underwater in the ocean and took a breath. I could hear my breathing through my regulator, but what was even more fascinating was seeing all the life below the waterline.

I came face to face with a small dog shark, and fed wolf eels by hand.

I dove off the coast of Australia in 1999 with my friend Kris, off Byron Bay–one of my favourite places on the eastern Australian coast. We saw sharks during one of our dives too.

I doubt I will ever lose that wonder of the deep. I love that we have a well-managed piece of marine education like the aquarium right on our waterfront.

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About susiequinn

I'm a journalist with a pen, notebook, camera and pilot's licence in my toolkit, and a passion for telling people's stories.
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