Plunkett in the Seahorse Nursery - Sea Zoo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy And Plunkett – Save the Sea!

Welcome back to the watery depths of Anglesea Sea Zoo! The fish all look happy today…
Fish! Anglesey Sea Zoo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut Paddy and Plunkett were in a bit of a pickle when we left them last week!
Octopus Hug - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesFortunately, I was getting all alarmed over nothing… Turns out that this rather large octopus is a big fan of the boys, and couldn’t wait to snatch them up for a hug and a photo!

Look, here they are… Safe and sound, climbing aboard the wreck of the Seven Sisters pirate ship.
Paddy and Plunkett aboard the Seven Sisters - Sea Zoo - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnything else lurking in the shadows? The Sea Zoo website said to look out for conger eels!

“Nope, just a few crabs here!”
View from the Shipwreck - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

And further on… Look what Plunkett’s found!
Plunkett in the Seahorse Nursery - Sea Zoo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHe’s wandered into the Seahorse Nursery, another of the Sea Zoo’s ongoing conservation projects.

And it’s an important one, because these strangely beautiful little creatures are feeling the pinch all over the world. They’re put into traditional Chinese remedies for everything from skin complaints to heart disease, dried and sold as souvenirs, and kept as pets (which they really don’t like). Luckily, the Sea Zoo is part of a Europe-wide collaboration between aquaria, universities and conservation organisations, all of them working together to share research findings, improve captive breeding, and campaign to protect wild seahorses in the future.

The Sea Zoo have another seahorsey claim to fame too – they’re one of the only places in the world where short-snouted seahorses have successfully bred in captivity! Short-snouted seahorses, and their long-snouted cousins, are both native to British waters… And you see both at the Sea Zoo.
Seahorses - Sea Zoo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Sadly, despite the best efforts of the Sea Zoo and their partners, the boys saw a lot of this as they walked around the aquarium.
Uh-oh! Plastic! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPollution of the world’s oceans with plastic is already having a serious impact on marine life… And unless we fix this plastic problem, all of the fantastic creatures Paddy and Plunkett met here could vanish from the seas forever! They don’t want to see this any more than I do, so they asked me to wrap up this post by sharing a few little things we can all do to bin the plastic… For good.

On your lunch break…

Don’t take away – bring it with you! With the UK planning to introduce a 25p tax on disposable coffee cups, and many coffee shops actually offering a discount on your drink if you show up with your own takeaway mug, it’s probably a good time to pick up a reusable coffee cup and get into the habit of using it. I love my one… It keeps my tea toasty for at least 3 hours!

I’m also very fond of my Snack Attack lunchbox for strategic sandwich and nibbles transportation… Or I’ll pack a home-made salad in a washed-out takeaway container or ice cream tub. Don’t forget to bring your own cutlery too!

And finally, say no to straws. Very few of us need to use a straw… But then again, if you like to, bring one with you! Reusable metal and bamboo ones are available for anyone who likes to noisily slurp up the last dregs of their milkshake.

In the supermarket…

Of course, bring your own reusable shopping bag with you! I keep mine well stocked with smaller bags for loose fruit and veg or bakery items, so that I never need to take one of the store’s plastic bags.

You can also avoid the huuuuuge amount of packaging that comes with fragile tasties like biscuits and crackers by making your own – check out this recent post from The Snail of Happiness for inspiration!

In the bathroom…

I was really shocked a couple of years ago when I bought a pack of “cotton wool” pads… Only to discover later on that they were 100% polyester! And it turns out that it’s not uncommon for things that look like cotton wool to actually contain a blend of fibres, some of which are man-made and not biodegradable. This prompted me to switch to washable, plastic-free alternatives – I got my reusable cotton face pads from Kindly Island and they’ve been great!

I was also really impressed to see that my local Boots chemists have started stocking toothbrushes with bamboo handles. They’re not perfect – the bristles are still nylon – but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

(PS Any links in this section are only here because I own these things, use them and love them! Rest assured that I am not being paid by any companies to hawk their wares)

I imagine many of you are probably doing these things already, but if not… Pick one and give it a try! Little changes can make a big difference when everyone joins in. And if you have any suggestions of your own, be sure and share them in the comments!

We’ll be back next week, with a new Beastie for you all to meet. See you then!

Under the Sea in Anglesey!

Hello, Beastie friends! We’re joining Paddy and Plunkett again today, for an adventure with a bit more of an aquatic theme than last week’s! To set the scene, we’ll meet up with the boys at the tidal race in the Menai Strait… And what’s this? A rare photobombing by Plunkett?Plunkett at the Menai Strait, Anglesey - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe Menai Strait is the narrow stretch of water that separates the island of Anglesey from the Welsh mainland. It looks calm enough here, doesn’t it? But strong and ever-changing tidal currents make it highly unpredictable and tricky to cross. In the past, this served the locals well – Anglesey was one of the last refuges of the Druids, at a time when they were being displaced all over Britain by the arrival of the Romans.

But today, the lads will not be seeking out ancient Druid strongholds – however much Paddy might want to. Instead, we’re heading to… The Anglesey Sea Zoo!

Beasties find it hard to resist an aquarium – as regular readers will remember from Explorer Beastie’s travels in Germany last summer. Paddy and Plunkett can’t wait to make some fishy friends themselves! But first of all, let’s visit the Lobster Hatchery.
Beasties at the Lobster Hatchery - Sea Zoo Anglesey - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe Lobster Hatchery is one of several conservation projects based here in Anglesey Sea Zoo. Overfishing in the 1980s meant that local wild lobster populations took a huge hit, so the Hatchery is here to help them get back on their spiny little feet. The main focus of their work is a captive breeding programme, but research and education are also important aspects of what they do.

Paddy is delighted to meet the lobsters… But Plunkett suspects that they’re more likely to eat him than he is to eat them.
Plunkett Vs Lobster - Anglesey - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
This is probably more your scene, Plunkett… Watching the fish from the quayside!
Plunkett Ponders the Fish - Sea Zoo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Meanwhile, Paddy has taken a trip to the Moon!
Paddy and the Moon Jellies - Anglesey Sea Zoo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWell, moon jellies, if you’re going to be particular about it… But they do have an otherworldly look to them, don’t they? He could have watched them for hours – which is unusual for Paddy!

Plunkett is nice and relaxed now too, now that he’s been gazing at the gently waving arms of the sea anemones for a few minutes. Aaaahhhhhh!
Plunkett and the Anemones - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd although Paddy was momentarily distracted by the starfish that was taking a stroll across the front of the tank…
Strolling Starfish - Sea Zoo Anglesey - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… It wasn’t long before he found a new way to pass the time – playing hide and seek with the fish!
Paddy plays hide and seek - Anglesey Sea Zoo - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut what’s that stirring in the hidden depths of the aquarium? Uh-oh!
Octopus Hug - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWill the boys be able to wriggle free and swim to safety? Or will they remain imprisoned in the darkest depths of Davy Jones’ locker? You’ll have to tune in next week to find out!

See you then!