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This is one of my entries this week for therealljidol. I invite you to read and vote for the many fine entries. This week we're writing on several topic; this addresses the topic "Visiting Hours."

After the evening feeding, the sharks swam laps in their tanks, which looped through the Baltimore Aquarium. Turtles and frogs munched leftover crickets. Dolphins played leisurely underwater games. But something was different this Sunday night. People in white chef's jackets breezed past the tanks, setting up tall tables draped with long white cloths. The people laid out silver warmer trays along with stacks of cups and plates. They uncorked bottles of colorful liquids.

To most of the fish, it was simply a blur of movement, notable only because it came at a normally quiet time.

The rays felt it first: a rumble of hundreds of bipeds approaching. Undulating rapidly, the rays circulated through their massive open-air tank, which made up the central portion of the aquarium.

In the evening hours the humans usually disappear, with the exception of the occasional solitary watchman. Now, a tide of people swept in. Many of them wore black shirts bearing white letters that, if fish could read, they would know said "OTAKON STAFF." Others wore a wide variety of colorful ensembles, likely designed to attract mates and indicate their importance to the other humans.

To most of the fish, this people parade meant little. The rays wavered around the edges of their habitat, drawn by voices and wondering if the petting pool would be reopened. The sharks dashed wildly by, eyeing the arrivals for signs of danger, or perhaps for anyone in scuba suits, proffering meat.

An alligator, half out of his water, remained unimpressed.

The seahorses noticed nothing, since their tanks were made of one-way mirrors. They bounced up and down, making sweet faces at the handsome honeys they saw reflected within, pondering the intriguing human-like noises.

The dolphins invited the unexpected viewers into their nighttime play, sweeping up from the floor of their tank, spinning and showing their bellies to amazed and appreciative eyes. An impromptu ballet, choreographed by a troupe of graceful gray dancers.

As the fish watched, people lifted drinks to their mouths and munched on plant food and chicken (no seafood, thankfully).

Into the wee hours, on this exceptional day, the aquarium's residents stayed up late to watch the people watching them.

A shark in a narrow tank gives us the eye.

Fishy Fish
A small buff-colored fish with bright pink fins swims through
a green forest habit, swimming right towards the camera.

Swimming Turtle
Swimming past a submerged log and a giant catfish,
a turtle peers curiously out of his tank.

Bright Blue Fish
A bright-blue fish with black stripes turns one sideways eye
towards the front of the tank.

Dolphin Gliding
A dolphin in the foreground swims at a slight downward angle
while background dolphins swim in a dance line.

This was inspired by the traditional wrap party for Otakon staff known as Dead Dog, this year held at the Baltimore Aquarium.

I'm extremely grateful to my beta reader, roina_arwen, for her astute editing suggestions.

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( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 3rd, 2012 12:21 am (UTC)
Cool photos! Glad I could assist, it sounds like a wonderful setting for a party!
Aug. 3rd, 2012 12:25 am (UTC)
It was a lovely setting. We all agreed it was the best Dead Dog party ever. I was happy with how the photos turned out; it helps when you don't have to elbow your way through a crowd to take them.
Aug. 7th, 2012 02:21 pm (UTC)
So lovely! I was fortunate to perform at the opening of a ballroom in the Atlanta Aquarium, and it was so cool to have the windows of fish swimming all around the room :)
Aug. 10th, 2012 03:34 pm (UTC)
That sounds wonderful! What sort of performance was it? I wonder what the fish thought.
Sep. 8th, 2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
They were celebrating the opening of the new ballroom, so it was a big catered party for event planners, and we did some aerial sets throughout the evening. Dressed like mermaids :)


And the next one are from that event :)

When we were stretching before the event, the whales swam up to the window, maybe they were watching :)
Aug. 7th, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
Great pictures!
Aug. 10th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's amazing what a point-and-shoot camera can sometimes produce.
Aug. 8th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
Aug. 10th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
Aug. 8th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
I love the aquarium! :)
Aug. 10th, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
So did KFP. :)
Aug. 8th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
I love aquariums! Great photos and sounds like a fun time!

(I'd read everything earlier and just getting around to commenting!)
Aug. 10th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
I certainly understand about not commenting earlier. I'm just now getting around to answering some of the comments.

We did have a fun time. Best Dead Dog party ever.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 10th, 2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was happy how well they turned out. If the event hadn't started so late (I don't think we were actually allowed inside until about 8 p.m.), we could have stayed later and seen more.
Aug. 10th, 2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
Looking at those fish made my heart soar. I liked reading their points of view.
Aug. 10th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear it! I'm always curious about how animals in aquariums and zoos see the visitors.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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