Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Love the Size of Tiger Sharks

I have wanted desperately to see the new Sand Tiger Sharks at the Georgia Aquarium since they arrived just before Thanksgiving. The video with their jagged teeth that go in every direction mesmerized me - so beautiful and terrifying! And after two unsuccessful attempts of trying to see them, I finally got my first glimpse last week.

We started out in the tunnel, and I proceeded to start my rotating search up and down waiting and hoping for the sharks to appear.

It's an awesome glass hallway where fish of all sizes swim around you - and lots of different sharks: hammerheads, wobbegongs, whale sharks, blacktip reef sharks, bonnetheads. I could stand there for hours- and have collectively waiting for a single appearance of the shy, still-adjusting-to-their-new-home Sand Tigers.

After standing in the tunnel for a good while, we decided to go to the big window because Mohammad hadn't seen the Manta Ray yet. I could sit in front of this giant window forever- it is so peaceful and beautiful to watch the fish go by.

I was settled in, sitting on the floor with my jacket off and purse splayed about when I saw it: a giant, bulky, jagged tooth SHARK start to swim by. I leaped up from the floor and sprinted to the edge of the window. Luckily Mohammad had the camera ready to document my expression of amazement and fear as I first laid eyes on this amazing creature.

This is one of the most amazing sharks I've ever seen. It makes me think of the first times I saw the nurse sharks at the Chicago Aquarium as a little girl. Both made me literally freeze with awe.

Afterwards we went and spent a good while at the shark-petting tank which was empty because it was a week day. I must have pet those sharks at least 25 times while we stood there. I think I'm making some serious progress on this life-long shark phobia of mine.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Visitor Returns

My friend and neighbor Doug sent on these amazing pictures he took of a redtail hawk on the roof of my car. I see hawks in the trees around my house all the time but had no idea that they would come so close.

I love this shot that Doug got of the visitor taking off. I'm so grateful he stopped, documented this beauty and shared it with me.

It reminds me of a similar breathtaking burst into flight I witnessed on my one-year anniversary in my home that I wrote about then.

The Visitor
September 16, 2006

A hawk landed on the fence in my back yard. I was crouched over in the craft room spraying acrylic on felt bluebirds and I saw her land out of the corner of my eye. I didn't have my glasses on because I had just gotten out of the shower but I ran quickly quietly to grab them and peered out the back door. There she was, perched calmly on the fence, surveying the area. I could make out each dark stripe on her white breast; the yellow of her talons was far brighter than I would have guessed. I started to cry a little, moved that she would stop here for a minute, thinking how many years it had been since a large bird had been so near me. This first year on my house has been more about cardinals: their cheeky calls, their mating, their bold confidence building a nest outside my bedroom window, despite the cat nearby. The bird today was strong, solitary, majestic. She hung out for moment, taking everything in, then ducked down, stretched her wings, and took off in flight. Her tail was bright red; when I went to check out the spot where she had just been, I found a single black and white feather.