The Third Apprenticeship Is Finally Finished!
... and it looks like I will be moving galleries.
I currently work in the fourth-floor gallery that is a hodgepodge of different things: kelp forest, Pacific coral reef, Amazon river forest, and upland rainforest. Bobby works downstairs on the second floor in Maryland: Mountains to the Sea. Our aquarists, however, work opposite schedules which for some reason that I don't completely understand makes it kind of tough for Bobby and me to work the same schedule. Which would be ideal.
In other words, Bobby would work one weekend and I'd work the next; it'd be much simpler (and what we intended!) to work the same weekends and be able to drive in together.
Luckily, the Aquarium is conservation-minded and doesn't want us wasting gas if we don't have to either. So I'll probably be learning a new gallery and either dividing my time between the new gallery and the fourth floor or moving to a new gallery entirely. And just when I learned the fourth floor, too!
Next week, though, I'll be working on the fourth floor with an assistant who's been there for nine years, just in case I have questions on what I need to do. I shouldn't; today solidified for me everything on which I'd been uncertain or had questions. It helped that it was just Keri and me, and I wasn't wandering around with another assistant, hearing Keri's instructions secondhand. But in the fourth-floor gallery, every tank is just so damned different from the next so it seems impossible to memorize everything, though I'm sure it will be much easier once it becomes routine.
But it's such fun ... I can't wait to go back next week in my official uniform shirt and badge! No more street clothes and dorky homemade badge.
Several things have changed since I was last there two-and-a-half months ago. For one, the anaconda in the Amazon River Forest died. It's always sad when an animal dies (particularly such a big animal), but the anaconda was a serious pain in the ass. Because we had to go into the exhibit with it, there could be no less than three people in there at a time: a "spotter" from the rainforest staff, an aquarist, and an assistant. Even though I wasn't afraid of the anaconda, it was still far less tense to go into the ARF today, knowing that I didn't have to constantly be on the lookout for a 25-foot snake trying to bite my ass.
The sloth up in the upland rainforest died too, a few days ago, of old age. That was really sad because she'd been there forever and was one of the animals that I remember looking for when I was a kid. She was named Rapunzel for her long, tangled hair.
The clownfish were moved into the Pacific coral reef: two mated pairs. At this point, one-half of one of the pairs decided that s/he liked the other pair better, so there is a clownfish threesome going on over on one side of the tank while the poor rejected loner hangs out on the other.