Barbary Coast Divers

News and Events


Next Outing:

November 12th and 13th Little House, Mendocino

(send Carol $20 to reserve your spot)



From the DFG

Identify this fish and win a special DFG prize!

From the Monterey Aquarium

New Orleans Penguins on Exhibit in Splash Zone

The 19 penguins rescued from the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans have joined our 15 resident penguins on exhibit in Splash Zone. There are now two penguin species on exhibit: blackfooted penguins and rockhopper penguins. The New Orleans penguins survived Hurricane Katrina and will stay here with our penguins until their aquarium can reopen.

It’s a family reunion of sorts, as the blackfooted penguins in Splash Zone initially came from the Aquarium of the Americas. Several of the birds in the two colonies are related. You can visit them on exhibit through October 16, and again after October 28 when we reopen the exhibit after maintenance work.

Rockhopper penguin


In the wild, rockhopper penguins inhabit rocky islands throughout the southern ocean, from the coasts of Argentina and Chile to islands off southern Africa and New Zealand. They’re among the smallest penguin species, and easy to tell from the blackfooted penguins. Look for a yellow stripe above each eye that projects into a yellow crest that is joined by a black crest on the back of the head. They have red eyes, reddish brown bill, and pink feet and legs.

The Penguin exhibit will be closed until Saturday, November 5 for maintenance.


Georgia Aquarium

Bernie Marcus, benefactor of the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, announced that the Georgia Aquarium will open November 23, 2005, as the largest in the world. “There are two things people measure an aquarium by – the amount of water and the number of fish,” Marcus explained.

He then announced the Aquarium’s amount of water -- more than 8 million gallons -- and its number of fish --more than 100,000. “Our original water figures were low, and it wasn’t until the measuring tapes came out and the water systems were filled that we understood just how enormous the numbers actually were,” Marcus said...

Six million of the more than eight million gallons are in the whale shark habitat, a single habitat built specifically to accommodate whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. At its longest, widest and deepest parts, the habitat measures 263’ long x 126’ wide x 33’ deep.

There were code names, secret agreements and very large creatures being moved quietly around the world under cover of darkness.

By the time the maneuvering ended, just before dawn Friday, the Georgia Aquarium had two rare whale sharks — the largest fish in the world — swimming in its huge tanks. The gentle plankton-eating giants give Atlanta and its big fish tank downtown a solitary distinction.

The juvenile fish — one nearly 16 feet long, the other 13 feet — were spirited out of eastern Taiwan this week, placed aboard special "life support" tanks in a United Parcel Service 747 aircraft in Taipei and flown to Atlanta. By 5 a.m. Friday, they had been whisked into the Georgia Aquarium, where they could grow to a length of 50 feet or more, weigh 15 tons and live for decades.

Marcus, the 76-year-old Home Depot co-founder who is spending $200 million of his fortune on the aquarium as a gift to the state's residents, has wrapped a tight veil of secrecy around the whale shark acquisition in particular and his plans for the aquarium in general. The male fish were code-named "Ralph and Norton," after characters on the old "Honeymooners" TV series to cloak their unique identities.

For the first time Friday, Marcus confessed that the Georgia Aquarium, one of the largest in the world, was designed specifically to accommodate whale sharks, a "wow" exhibit in the world of big fish tanks. The aquarium's tanks will hold more than 5 million gallons of water and more than 55,000 fish and other animals, representing more than 500 species.

Marcus declined to say what he paid for the big fish, but discredited a Chinese news agency report that tagged them at $8,000 each.

"They said, 'There's no way you can do it. There's nobody in the United States that can do it.' Today, we proved we can do it," Marcus said.

Not everyone shared Marcus' delight.

Marie Levine of the Shark Research Institute in New Jersey said whale sharks often don't do well in captivity. She said many die shortly after being placed in aquariums.

"I am just livid," Levine said. "I am so angry. It's absolutely unconscionable to do this to animals so rare. Whale sharks don't do well in captivity."

Levine said the Georgia Aquarium in 2003 tried to obtain two whale sharks from a marine sanctuary off the coast of Belize, but when her organization and local groups opposed the move, the aquarium withdrew its proposal.

Jeff Swanagan, director of the Georgia Aquarium, disputed Levine's assertions. Whale sharks have lived for more than a decade in Asian aquariums, he said. And Atlanta's aquarium, he said, was specifically engineered to meet their needs.

"Most of the people who make that criticism — their criticism is not based in science," Swanagan said. He said research on the animals at the Atlanta facility could help ensure their survival in the wild.

Marcus said the whale sharks will provide a priceless combination of entertainment, education and research. And, he said, they will eat very well in the process.

"They are now in an accommodation like being in Trump Towers," he said. "They're going to eat all they want. They're going to be safe from predators. The truth of the matter is that if we could communicate with them they'd say, 'Hell no, I don't want to go back to the ocean."

Couple Says Fish Bone Bears Jesus Image

from WCAU-TV

LUTHER, Okla. - An Oklahoma couple who says a fish bone bears the image of Jesus is selling it on eBay. The Newmans said they received the fish bone from a friend 10 years ago, and they've had good luck ever since. Now, they said it's someone else's turn.There is a legend that the type of fish the bone came from, a sailcat, was chosen by Jesus to remind people of what he went through.

The skeletal remains are now up for auction on eBay with a starting bid of $29.95.

Ok one last piece of religious news:

Church agrees to ban swallowing live goldfish

10/27/05 - FLORENCE, AL) - The First Assembly of God Church has agreed to discontinue its practice of swallowing live goldfish as part of its Fear Factor ministry.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked for a ban on the practice.

Spokeswoman Amy Rhodes said the organization was flooded with calls earlier this month after a story about the program was published in the TimesDaily.

PETA contacted the church seeking confirmation of a ban on the activity.

Pastor Greg Woodall replied to PETA's request in a letter.

"I do appreciate your concern and just wanted to let you know that this will never happen again," Woodall wrote. "My views are a reflection of yours. We love God's creatures and would never want to show them harm."

As part of the Fear Factor ministry at the church, teenage participants were asked to swallow live goldfish. No one reportedly became ill during the goldfish phase of the program that concludes this week.

Youth minister Anthony Martin said earlier the goal of the exercise was to teach teens about fear.

PETA thanked the church for the ban by sending a gift basket of vegan Swedish fish, a gummy candy, as an alternative to live fish.



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updated 10/15/05