Tuesday, 6 November 2007


Back with our '10 things to do in Lisbon' guide. Actually, after two minutes, we could abandon it, because we know exactly what we're doing today, guide or no guide. We're going to see the fish. There's no escape. It's the Oceanarium, otherwise Shark will explode.

Shark has been fascinated with fish since, well, forever. Not like anything else. Thomas the Tank Engine came and went. At age three, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger all loved Thomas so much there were daily squabbles about him, sometimes with weapons. Probably in practice for when boyfriend Kevin comes round in ten years time, poor sod. But unlike the future Kevin, I could make five of the cheeky little Thomas engine faces appear: Shark, Squirrel and Tiger each had one to carry about, while two more could be stuck under the sofa and it didn't matter. Well Thomas passed on, and now he's in a box with Percy and Diesel and all his chums waiting for Grit to get her act together on ebay. But while Thomas went, fish stayed.

Tiger likes fish. Squirrel says fish are fun. But for Shark, fish are essential. Shark wants to be a diver, or a marine biologist, or a chef. One who doesn't cook fish, obviously. If there's a whiff of Dig's salmon about, she complains for up to an hour about whether the fish liked the experience of being caught and eaten. It's like having your own little fish union leader, sitting in front of you with a glower and a set of demands.

So today there's no contest. With Lisbon boasting one of the world's most impressive tanks of fish, we go and see fish. Correction. Today we worship fish. Big ones, little ones, ones with funny faces and smiles, ugly ones that skulk around corners or lie flattened under the sand. And I ignore the fish, but take photographs of Shark, with her nose pressed against the glass, swimming with the Sun fish.


Trevor said...

Good for Shark!

I like fish too. Although off the bandwagon now, I didn't eat fish for years simply because I liked them too much. I also don't fish, which as a kiwi, makes me very much in the minority. Or a weirdo, depending on how you look at it...

I used to dive a lot and on one wreck was adopted by a Snapper who would join me on each dive and swim along in front of me for as long as I was down. Before I left the area after a year I did a special dive just to say goodbye to my finny friend.

I was at sea for years and have been lucky enough to swim with dolphins and watch whales breach against the majestic backdrop of Antarctic icebergs. Now I work in an oceanographic university and operate scientific research ships - so still see the odd fish.

Tell Shark to go for it. Fish need more friends!

(Alright, alright, I know dolphins and whales aren't actually fish...)

Michelle said...

We loved the oceanarium (2nd biggest in the world I think).

I'm reluctant to go to any other as I feel I will compare and be disappointed.

grit said...

you might be hero worshipped round here trevor for those experiences! i hope shark realises her ambitions; i'll pass on the wonderful things she could see and do!

we've had to visit sea life centres at brighton, weston super mare, birmingham, hunstanton, hastings, tynemouth, singapore, melbourne, san sebastian... and counting... shark will report that each has its own special feature and that all are wonderful!

Trevor said...

Hi Grit

Following is a link to our website which Shark may find interesting if she's thinking about oceanography.

I appreciate that she's only seven but I know you home school so may find some educational use for this.

To this end I have attached a second link which is to our 'classroom at sea' site which, if nothing else, has some good pictures of what is involved in the life of an oceanographer. Hope these are useful.



grit said...

oh wow! a big THANK YOU!!!