Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ferry Came, Ferry Went : Performing Information Lady

I spent a couple of hours on Monday behind the desk in the Olympic Coast Discovery Center, dispensing information about the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary largely to idle passers-by, people waiting for the ferry, or wandering the waterfront, or heading to or from the Downriggers restaurant. The ferry arrived enormously out the windows. Later it departed, equally large.

The sea otter pelt was borrowed for the Junior Oceanographers class going on at the Feiro Marine Life Center. The little beeper which calls over to the NOAA office for backup spontaneously called both us and our backup person; she came hustling down to make sure we weren't being attacked by an axe murderer/tourist. Children asked questions. A mom and I agreed passionately that we certainly never want to meet a wolf eel. Two parties of people were particularly taken with our photos of basket stars; they had just seen a live one down at the Feiro. There didn't seem to be any information offered about amphipods. Seems to me there should be a picture there on the table next to the baleen sample—had a hard time explaining to a couple of kids what the baleen was doing, i.e., how and what gray whales would be eating. Wikipedia, I might mention, says of amphipods, "Although they are very abundant, widespread and diverse, amphipods do not feature strongly in the public imagination." Uh, right. Need to find out whether the orca skull model is a transient or a resident, by way of helping to explain the two kinds and what they eat. Visitors of a certain young age continue to assume, even insist, that the skull must be that of a dinosaur.

It felt pretty odd to be performing Information Lady without the ability to look up answers I don't know. ("Where's Cannon Ball Rock?"). Next time I'll bring the iPad.

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