This post is the start of the current trip: Salty Memories Part 4 - Familiar Places with New Faces. The following post will pick up where Part 4 left off.
|Trina and I on the Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry|
I'm getting closer to talking about the fishing at Oak Island, I promise. This post will definitely contain a lot more fish than the last one, they just won't be on a hook. One of our traditions on almost every visit to Oak Island with my family growing up was to take the ferry from Southport over to Fort Fisher and visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. This was always one of the highlights of any trip to the beach for me, because the natural world has always fascinated me. I loved being able to see all the different fish and animals that were around the beach, especially the ones that I had never seen before while fishing.
The trip to the aquarium always begins with catching the ferry from Southport over to Fort Fisher. This is an adventure in itself, as you never know what you might see while crossing the Cape Fear River. On this last trip, we saw pelicans diving on schools of bait fish, a dolphin jumping, and several species of shore birds. Once we arrived at the dock, it was a short drive to the aquarium itself. Before we entered the main aquarium building, Trina and I decided to check out the new lorikeet exhibit right outside. This was a small extra charge, but we got to enter an aviary with lorikeets and lorries, and also got the opportunity to feed a few with nectar provided by the staff. It was a neat experience to get close to these bright, colorful birds and well worth the few extra bucks for admission.
|Feeding a lorikeet|
|She kept saying "Fish!"|
Once we went through the Cape Fear exhibit, we came to the part of the aquarium that I can remember from my very young days, where there are all kinds of exhibits of marine animals and fish. We stopped by the touch pool, took a look at a loggerhead sea turtle, and saw many many different varieties of fish, lobsters, jellyfish, and other water dwellers. One thing that has always been interesting to me about this particular aquarium is their focus on species that are found in and around southeastern North Carolina. Just about all of the habitats in the exhibits are designed to simulate habitats found in coastal North Carolina, such as wrecks and artificial reefs or pier pilings.
|Fort Fisher Aquarium|
We also took the time to take in a presentation on fishing basics, which covered things like license requirements and regulations along with identifying organisms that are fish versus crustaceans and other water dwellers. I thought it was a well put together introduction to fishing for anybody that wasn't too familiar with fishing but might like to give it a try. Somehow along the way I got talked into trying the hurricane simulator, which exposed you to winds up to about 75 miles an hour. It wasn't too bad, but then again it only lasted for a couple minutes. I can't imagine being in a full force category four or five hurricane, the simulator was as close as I ever hope to get.
|I'd like to catch one this size!|
Thank you for rambling along with me on this trip. The next post should wrap up this installment of the Salty Memories series, at least until the next time I am able to make it down to the coast. Part six will be all about fish that can actually be fished for. Until then, thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings!