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SEASIDE AQUARIUM

FEED THE SEALS





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Behind the Scenes: Dealing with the Unusual

One might argue that just about every job at the Aquarium is unusual. Beachcombing for urchin food, prying an octopus off the floor, or cutting up forty pounds of thawed bait-fish can all be in a day’s work. But some tasks are so unusual or arise so suddenly, that they become noteworthy. Rebuilding pumps, disassembling rafts, and moving a sand dune up a flight of stairs have been the tasks to challenge our staff this spring.






Fixing the Pumps:

Our pumps are literally the heart of the Aquarium. The ocean pump brings water from the pipe on the beach in front of the Aquarium into our holding tanks. The aeration pump puts oxygen into the water by sending a constant flow of water from our reservoir into all of the tanks. When a pump breaks, it must be fixed immediately. The ocean pump needs more regular maintenance than the aeration pump. In the series of four photos top, Jason works on the ocean pump. He removes the pump from the volute (above left and middle), then removes everything down to the seal (above center right) and replaces the seal and impeller (above right). The photos left are of the aeration pump. Tools to fix it vary from hammer, nail puller, and flashlight to a little tri-flow.

Disassembling a Raft:

There are two large reservoirs under the Aquarium to hold ocean water. To navigate the one under the gray whale skeleton, staff rigged a raft and dubbed it the S.S. Minnow. After many years of service, the Minnow needed to be retired. Keith and Jason took it apart and pulled the pieces through the small opening that serves as an entrance to the tank (photo right).

Removing the Virtual Dune:

The Aquarium is built over the remains of an old salt-water swimming pool and much of the back is a deck system one story above the floor of the deep end of the pool. When staff siphon the tanks, the excess water and sand is deposited into the deep end of the pool. The water drains off but the sand remains. Over the years it has become a virtual sand dune. Recent repairs to our holding tank area required rebuilding some of the support structure and the sand needed to be moved. It was shoveled, raised, and removed two buckets at a time. Two days later our staff was really sore!
 

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Seaside Aquarium, 200 North Prom, Seaside, Oregon 97138 Tel: (503) 738-6211.