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LukeLuke: Ireland, Age 9
My favorite animals in the sea are seals. If I could study any marine animal, it would definitely be a seal. I want to find out what they eat and where they go when they swim away. I like them because they kind of look like dogs! Seals have noses that look like dog noses. They have whiskers, too.
I get to watch seals when I visit a place called Portrush. We drive there from Belfastówhere I liveówhen Iím on holiday every summer. I get to spend two whole months there, from the end of June until late August. Portrush is on the north coast of Ireland, right on the Atlantic. When I go there, I watch the seals. They like to sit on rocks in the ocean. I canít get very close to them, but thatís okay. Maybe someday Iíll get to see a baby seal!
Iím also on the lookout for porpoises and basking sharks. Sometimes you can see their fins sticking up out of the water. I also like to watch ocean birds. My mom and I sit in a special kind of hut made for bird watchers. Itís special because it is covered with grass. This way we can see the birds, but they canít see us. When we are in the hut, we watch them through a little window. I sometimes use binoculars to get a better look. I have seen seagulls, ducks, and swans.
Left: Portrush Mational Nature Reserve; Right: Looking for shellfish When I go to Portrush, I like to go fishing. Once I used a fishing net to catch tiny baby prawns. After I caught them, I took them back to a nearby nature center with a tank filled with crabs, fish, shrimp, and lots of other things. I put the baby prawns into the big tank of seawater with all the other animals. I got to watch the animals I caught in the giant tank. At the end of the season, they put all of the animals that live in the tank back in the ocean.
Another place I like to go to is called Hollywood. Hollywood isnít like the place in Californiaóitís actually on the east coast of Ireland, by the ocean. I saw dogfish eggs there. Dogfish look like miniature sharks. I also go exploring in rock pools for rock gobies. Gobies are small fish that sometimes nip at your legs.
I like lots of marine animals, including crabs. I saw a devil crab. It had big red eyes. I also touched a velvet crab, which has a shell that feels soft like velvet. I pick them up by the bottom of their bodies so I donít get pinched.
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