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Day 3

August 6, 2010

What a morning!!!  Wake up at 6am, meet Liz and Peggy down in the lobby of our Double Tree hotel and took off for an excellent morning run!  We ran down to the beach and watched the sunrise–LOTS of other people out in Virginia Beach this morning.  It was a great time to enjoy and reflect on the wonderful memories we built yesterday!  Thursday morning we arrived in Virginia Beach and immediately stopped at the Virginia Aquarium for a spectacular visit with one of their 5 seals.  We had to split into two groups and half of us went to visit Fouca, the seal while the other half toured behind the scenes of the Aquarium.  Fouca was such a smart little seal–we met his trainers and watched as he responded to the target ball by touching his nose to it when his trainer blew a whistle.  He also rolled over showing us where he was beginning to molt, or lose some patches of his fur.  His trainers applied some soothing creme and oil to his belly, he rolled back over and slunk happily back into the water.  After a quick wave goodbye, my group took off for the behind the scenes tour.  We saw the shark tank, Chesapeake Bay tank, and sea turtle tank where they were exhibiting two a-melanistic kemps ridley sea turtles, as well as one green and two beautiful loggerhead!  The staff touring with us were so knowledgeable and friendly!  After a quick lunch we hopped on one of the Aquarium’s research vessels and took off into Reede Creek to look for some dolphins.  After exiting the creek, we paralleled the shoreline and after a couple of minutes saw our first dorsal fins!  This was a fantastic sighting, but our second was even more unbelievable–more dolphins than any of us could count and as far as the eye could see.  We saw some dolphins doing aerials, socializing, and definitely some checking us out to see what in the world we were!!!  After heading back to the dock, we went back to the classroom to hear a fantastic presentation from Sue Barco, the Aquarium’s stranding coordinator.  We were lucky enough to have her join us for dinner at an amazing little LOCAL seafood restaurant where I enjoyed a huge tuna melt and tree of broccoli!!!  What an amazing day–can’t wait to see what this afternoon brings–Necropsy and then heading up to Baltimore!!!  Can’t wait!

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