Sleeping with the Sharks

Elkan was very upset with me for not bringing him to our Kenting adventure last December. I promised him lots of adventures for his June vacation. Since then, he has been pestering me to bring him to camping, hiking, caving, diving and rock climbing. Come this Friday, I will be bringing them downunder to Australia for a cool winter escapade (together with my buddies Meijie and Tracy). For the past 3 weeks, Elkan has been checking everything about Australia. Felicia decided to give him a “warming-up” treat last weekend – Camping overnight at Underwater World.


BLOG BY FELICIA TAM (6th June 2011)

It’s the June school holidays! Woooo hoooo for the kids!
But headache for parents. Lots of planning and searching for fun and meaningful programmes for kids. I found one! And a scary one, sleeping with the sharks!! Dun worry, we didn’t become the sharks’ meal.

Underwater World at Sentosa organised a sleepover event for family with kids. We gathered in the evening greeted by the friendly staff who introduced basic knowledge of the fishes at Underwater World. I was surprised that lots of 5-6 year old kids has so much knowledge about marine life. Some even know the scientific names of some species or differentiate different types of shark! Zebra shark, nurse shark??

After a buffet dinner, we explored Underwater World (which was closed to the public by 8pm). The kids started to make friends and form their own little groups and they had the whole place all to themselves. There were tiny crabs and giant crabs at 3.7m long! Bright yellow seahorses, angel-like jelly fish, goldfish, stingrays, sharks, corals, fossils exhibits, etc. The favorite exhibit was the touch pool. Some boys caught cockroaches and held them by the feelers above the pool to see how the Archer fish literally shoot their preys down with water droplets from their mouths. While the girls would hold a rubber band above the water and wait for the Archer fish to do the same stunt! Some parents tried to stop the kids, most of them got wet in the end. Elkan touched the star fish and stingray!

Later in the night, we were divided into teams and challenged one another in a quiz. Kids tug their parents all over the place to look for answers. It was a fun and educational session. We were not the top scorers but we had a great time!

The most excited part of the evening has arrived!! Time to sleep! Sleeping bags were distributed and we lay them beside the travelator in the long underwater tunnel. It could fit all 30 participants. The view was magical. Lying on the sleeping bag and you see small schools of fishes and large sharks and stingrays gliding gracefully above you. And the bubbling sound of water does make you feel dreamy & comfortable. Probably like babies in their mothers’ womb kind of feeling. The kids were hiding in one another sleeping bags giggling away. Older kids were walking around taking pictures of everyone with their camera. While some were running round and round the tunnel! What a nightmare for the adults. I think most parents’ heads were spinning by then.

Lights out means torches out! There were colourful torches from the kids shining up into the dark tunnel. “Mummy! Shark, shark!”, “There there!”, “Over here”, “Eeewwww…. The fish poo poo!” The kids went on and on… noise echoed through the tunnel after for 2 loooooong hours… zzzzzzzzzzzzz……. (certainly not a romantic experience for young dating couples)

A great experience sleeping indoors in sleeping bags under the sharks and giant sting rays! It was a mesmerizing display of marine creatures. For a change, maybe counting the fish could help insomnia. Except for the hard flooring… my body ached badly the next day …….ooooouchhh….. Some complained about hearing loud snores rattling through the tunnel. Many parents woke up looking tired. The programme has yet to end. Our final stop was at the dolphin pool. We took pictures with the fur seals and watched them perform. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see much of the famous pink dolphin as it was their mating season. So cannot disturb them. Shhhh…………

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