The doors of
Manly Oceanworld may now be officially closed, but the action is only just beginning. The biggest question on everyone’s lips has been what will become of our beloved inhabitants of Manly’s once iconic aquarium?
As the giant forklifts rolled along the paths of Manly and the enormous truck was strategically positioned along East Esplanade, the stage was being set for a move of monstrous proportions.
A team of animal behavioural experts working beside logistical professionals and security worthy of Nicole Kidman was assembled and the great rehearsal began. No paparazzi, no media, no prying locals….except for us – we had just finished our Kayak Fitness session and were exempt from the exclusion zone!
From the cover of the Pavillion Restaurant, we peeped as a secret trapdoor was opened to the side of Oceanworld and a giant blue sling lowered into its watery depths, lifted, then inched its way under the palm trees, up the near vertical slope and on to the awaiting trick. Several times this was performed as a dry (or rather wet) run.
The tone suddenly changed and seriousness descended. With a perfect view into the bowels of Oceanworld, we could see divers, then the very large dark shape of a 3 metre Great White following almost like a tame dog, the diver ever so gently stroking from nose to tail, a loving and trusting gesture on both parts, a final tender moment.
Once in positon, the sling was again lowered and without any drama, the gentle giant swum in, was gently hoisted and painstakingly shifted, from tank to truck taking about 90 minutes with all traffic halted in both directions.
According to emotional onlooking Oceanworld staff, (who would not divulge the name of Jaws?/Tartare?/Sushi?), he/she is the first of 7 great whites, who have been conditioned and trained for months for this move, then sedated and accompanied by 3 specialist shark experts on the journey to the Sunshine Coast.
So it is with great relief, that we can now conclude a very happy ending for our old finned friends in the greener depths of better funded aquariums around the country.