Clearwater Aquarium Visit

After dropping off Michelle at the airport to fly back to Kansas City, I went to the aquarium in Clearwater, Florida. This was the home to Winter, the dolphin that lost her tail and had a prosthetic tail. They made a movie about her. This was her home until her death in 2021. Their residents are marine animals who cannot be released back into the wild. Many of their dolphins have sonar issues….they are deaf and cannot hunt for food and protect themselves from predators. The have the bottle-nosed dolphins that you and I envision when we think of dolphins and they also have two rough-toothed dolphins, Rex and Rudy. They are very different with longer noses and just a different look all the way around.

I went out on a boat ride with one of their marine biologists. They dredged an area in the gulf and then we looked at what they pulled in. It was very interesting. We also went to One Tree Island….home to – you guessed it – one tree and a flagpole. I walked around the aquarium and marveled at the 1.5 million gallon tank…watched divers scrubbing tanks (that is a big job!), and watched the otters play and the sea turtles fly through the water. I love turtles, so got a few good shots of them as well.

The Clearwater Aquarium Center announced this morning that their oldest dolphin, Hemingway, died during the night. I have a couple of photos of him here. They aren’t very good but I saved them to post in his honor. They believed him to be 37 years old. When I saw him two weeks ago, he just looked sad. There are docents all over the aquarium to tell you about the animals. One of them said he was missing his friend, an older dolphin who died a few months ago. He was placed in a tank with a younger male and that rallied his spirits for awhile. My heart goes out to the staff there who obviously love their animals and who are mourning his loss.

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