Nausicaá, a Wndow to the Ocean.
Ann Evans gives us a virtual look at Europe’s biggest sea life centre, Nausicaá – a window to the Ocean.
As we’re all stuck indoors and holidays are just memories – and dreams of days to come, you might be wondering what’s going on behind the closed doors of some of the tourist attractions now closed due to Covid-19, one such attraction being Nausicaá, the French National Sea Life Centre.
While it’s temporarily closed to the public, life still goes on for the staff taking care of the thousands of creatures which Nausicaá is home to. There are more than 58,000 animals – 1,600 species at Nausicaá, but it’s much more than an aquarium. It is a unique centre for discovery of the marine environment, in a fun, educational and scientific way, focusing on the relationship between mankind and the ocean.
Situated in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, just 30 minutes from Calais, it’s a nice short hop across the channel, and so a very reassuring destination for families and holidaymakers who want to venture tentatively out once the lockdown is lifted and it’s safe to do so.
A major extension in May 2018 and another one planned, makes Nausicaá the largest aquarium in Europe. And there is so much to enjoy and discover within this amazing, award-winning sea life centre with giant fish tanks, undersea exploration and cutting-edge technology all contributing to the magic of this magnificent setting.
There’s the Penguin Beach where these curious and amusing creatures will trot up on the beach before plunging back into the ocean. Incidentally during lockdown, two baby penguins were born, which you can see on video via their website
Visit the Coral Jungle. Learn all about the colourful and living corals which are essential to the preservation of marine biodiversity. Discover life in the Mediterranean seeing such curious creatures as Blackchin Guitarfish, Long-Spine Porcupinefish and seahorses. Then there’s a tropical lagoon where hundreds of fish shimmering with colours live together, creating a stunning spectacle.
Dominique Mallevoy, is an Aquariologist at Nausicaá Sea Life Centre and it’s her job to manage the daily life of the Aquariology department, making sure everything related to the animals runs smoothly. That includes managing the team of 35 people, caretakers, trainers, etc., overseeing the feeding, breeding and training of the animals as well as overseeing pedagogical and technical schedules and many other tasks.
Talking about her favourite things to do, Dominique said: “One of the things I really love doing is diving in the big tank, surrounded by sharks, hundreds of fish and the large manta ray. It’s magical, a real pleasure every time I have the chance to do so.”
And one of her best memories since lockdown was following two of the centre’s penguins, who were taken for a free walk around Nausicaá. “Under tight security, of course,” said Dominique. “It was really fun! And while it led to some of the strangest encounters of animals, it was also essential for them, being used to visitors, to maintain social interactions during the lockdown.”
She added: “The lockdown is a very powerful creativity stimulator, allowing us to think outside the box while working closely with the animals. The situation being so unique and us having a bit more time on our hands, as we have no visitors to welcome, we decided to capture all the best moments of Nausicaá behind closed doors during this lockdown. Photos, videos, live streams etc, are now all being shared with the general public and would-be visitors to the aquarium on our Facebook page, for them to follow the life at Nausicaá from the comfort of their sofa and even raise a few smiles.”
Whether it is for educational interest or just for fun, take a glimpse of what’s happening behind the scenes.
For more information visit: https://www.nausicaa.co.uk/