There are some pretty big fish here in the marina, and I have just seen one of the biggest carp ever.
It was basking in the sunshine with its dorsal fin just above the water, and must have measured all of two feet long, weighing in at a good four to six pounds.
Slowly (and hopefully) I got down on my belly on the pontoon and slipped my arm over the side. He was so close, I could almost touch him, but he gently sank beneath the surface out of sight into the muddy depths below.
This isn’t the first big guy we’ve seen here (‘stick fish’ and ‘lily pad fish’ lurking in the shadows don’t count), but it reminds me of my home town and two particular tourist attractions we were taken to as kids.
I have checked their websites and there are few photos of the koi carp I remember seeing there as a child. Who knows, some of these magnificent fish may even still be alive:
There are reports of kois that have achieved ages of 100–200 years. One famous scarlet koi, named “Hanako,” was owned by several individuals, the last of whom was Dr. Komei Koshihara. In July 1974, a study of the growth rings of one of the koi’s scales reported that Hanako was 225 years old. The greatest authoritatively accepted age for the species is little more than 50 years.
This picture, also taken from WIKI, shows 6 varieties of Koi, plus a goldfish (left of the tail fin on the white fish top right)
In later life and my days of fostering, I took the family to see the gardens and fish from my childhood.
We picked up my Mum for the day so there were 3 adults and 3 boys squashed into my Datsun violet 140J car.
Admittance fees were expensive, but we trooped in and visited the fabulous gardens within. The boys finally believed that the fish were as big as I’d told them.
These days, this venue is very popular for weddings and special celebrations as each of the five themed gardens are completely shielded from one another.
They are (currently as per their website): The Italian Garden, the Wooded Valley, the Rock and Water Garden, the Heather Garden and the Japanese Garden.
Mum had prepared a picnic for us which we ended up eating in the car as it started to rain. We all got soaked, but it didn’t matter. Everyone was enjoying themselves and it was nice to see the boys taking an interest in something different.
(Years later, Hubby and I took Mum here to see the sika deer.)
From there, we went on to The Quay and Oceanarium which hadn’t been open very long, so there was a variety of animal life, not all water based.
After I’d been scared to death by a tarantula attacking the glass of its habitat as I walked past, the boys had their picture taken with Monty.
So did I, but my Mum refused to join me as she squirmed, shivered and shook on the other side of the room.
I was fascinated by Monty.
He was beautiful, smooth and warm to the touch, and I was quite comfortable when he draped himself across my shoulders and rested his head in my hand.