Octopus Week 2002: Different Point Of View
By Guy Becken
There sure are a lot of people looking in at me. Lots of bright flashes and noises. Now we are heading down what seems to be a ramp. I hear some talk about one of the divers having forgotten to zip his suit up. What is a diver? Now there are just four people around me. Roland is still there. I think he is introducing the children of the Beck-Alberg family to a Ben Baird. Roland asks a Shana Pennington to open a gate? They seem to be lowering me down to somewhere. What is going on here? Why have we stopped? Wait, now I'm being tipped over further and further. As I slide out of the bucket, some people greet me. Oh, so these are divers. They are calling to the first person, a Jeff Christiansen. There are several others looking at me with great interest. I think people are calling them Michael Woodland, Ken Kerr and Guy Becken. I might get back to them later but for right now I have to explore my new home.
On February 16, 2002 the Seattle Aquarium opened its celebration of Octopus Week by releasing the 35 lb. Sabrina. Considering several minor problems like an unzipped dry suit, the release went off pretty well and Sabrina put on a display that exceeded our expectations. The news media was on hand both on the pier and flying overhead in the helicopter.
The newest occupant under the pier glided down a piling and briefly held on while she explored her new home. After a short bit, she continued her graceful glide down to the bottom. Jeff Christiansen and Michael Woodland were narrating and filming Sabrina's release for the multitude of Aquarium visitors on the surface. Once Sabrina was on the bottom, she slowly moved off in one direction and then back in another, repeating this pattern many times. Ken Kerr was never far behind as he manned the second video camera documenting her release.
Becky Quimby, Rob Bingham and Tim Kuniholm were topside explaining to the visitors and to the press just what was transpiring below. They also relayed any questions from the audience to Jeff. Joel Hollander did an excellent job doing the surface handling of the video cable. To help Sabrina become comfortable in her new world, Jeff, Michael and Ken directed a crab towards her. For her part, Sabrina wooed the crowd by her slow, deliberate exploration of her new environment. Roland and the rest of the Aquarium are hoping that she will take up residence under the pier and find a suitable mate to help her replenish the species of the Giant Pacific Octopus. Arrangements are being made to send divers under the pier on a regular basis to check in on her adaptation.
Many thanks go out to the multitude of volunteers and Aquarium employees that helped make this a successful octopus release another fun activity during the Aquarium's Octopus Week.