I really enjoy finding and knocking off Scavenger Hunt locations – I keep a long list on my phone of various ones I hope to do, and I always have my camera with me in my bag. (It helps that I’m happy to take photos of myself by myself, although I have a variety of friends and lovers who enjoy being partners in crime!) And while I frequently get comments on posts about how brave I must have been to get this spot or that location, it’s rare that I find it particularly scary or difficult; usually it’s about timing and determination.
The aquarium was different.
Kelly Tarlton’s is the aquarium in Auckland, and it’s a tourist destination for both Kiwis and international visitors. I’ve been to it a number of times with friends and extended family, and when Delilah and her family were here I was happy to go with them – the Auntie Dee detached division. It’s quite a different experience to attend with young children, as opposed to adults: seeing it through excitable eyes was pretty awesome, and I had a blast, even as I was tired out extra-quickly.
The whole time that we were there I was hopeful I could find a spot and take a scavenger photo – I’d even dressed for it! But there were kids and security cameras everywhere, and the last thing I wanted to do was upset a child or get myself kicked out. Discretion was what I needed.
We spent a lot of time with the penguins:
Had fun pretending to be eaten by a giant shark:
Watched the live sharks being fed; saw the stingrays floating around; sat on a giant turtle (in the toy area); oohed and aahed at the many seahorses; were amazed at the fish of all descriptions, and generally had a lot of excitable fun.
I was beginning to despair of finding a spot where I could get a photo. And then, just before the gift shop at the end, I saw them: large upright aquariums leading to the seahorse rooms – with just enough space behind them so you could walk around to see the other side (or go around the back and take a photo). The family had frayed into the gift shop one way and seahorses the other. Still, there were people coming and going all the time. Could I do it? I was nervous as hell.
Still, it was now or never. I took a deep breath, looked around and crossed my fingers, then slipped around to the back of the aquariums. I desperately hoped my pull-down-top-hold-out-camera-take-photo plan would work.
I took the first picture, and glanced down at the camera. I’d missed, dammit – all I could see was my throat. I looked around and still the coast was clear. Time to try again. Please please please let this one be in frame …
I pulled my top back up and scurried around to the main walkway. The timing was tight – people were just beginning to walk through, and a few looked at me funny. Yikes!
As a treat for my success I asked Delilah to take a photo of me with the giant stuffed penguin toys, in the gift shop – and then whispered in her ear what I’d just managed. She was gratifyingly impressed. I was pretty impressed myself. What a day!
I was on quite a high after knocking off that location. But boy was I knackered!