[Tweeters] Speaking Finnish

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Apr 28 21:37:36 PDT 2016

Jeff Gibson here, reporting from Fin Land. Again.
Yeah, I know, Tweeters is not one of those "Fin and Feather" sportsman sites but in my mental algebra, talking about fish works here. My theory ( I'm not a scientist) is that if birds like fish (there's a long list of those who do), and if I like birds, then I like fish. And I do - theory proven. It also proves that beyond not being a scientist , I'm not a mathematician either. I think I may have flunked high school algebra - it was decades ago and I can't remember. I'm sure algebra is real good for something, but nobody has ever explained to me what. I guess I've learned to live without it until now.
Antsaki, Tweeters! Apparently antsaki is Finnish for "excuse me" (for talking about fish again). Sorry folks in Finland if that is incorrect - I just learned Finnish on Google a few minutes ago.
Moving right along, this finny post was inspired by some recent fish sightings here in Port Townsend at the Marine Science Center.
Last Friday I was snooping the aquarium down there at the pier in Fort Worden, and was just about to leave, when I spotted the "Critter of the Day" alert on their dry-erase board :"Smooth Alligator Fish" it was. I instantly wanted to see it.
The Smooth Alligator Fish. Sounds like a Louis Carroll creation, like "cabbages and kings, Smooth Alligator Fish , and other things". I'm not sure who really invented it, but it's real ! I saw it myself, thanks to Katie (I hope I got her name right) an Americorp intern down there at the Science Center who blithely found the little fish in the largest fish tank in the place. No mean feat, because the Smooth Alligator Fish was a small (about three inches long) little creature that was doing a great job of being obscure in the surrounding mussel's and sea anemones. I never would have spotted it by myself.
Sort of a minor fish freak, I'd never heard of the Smooth Alligator Fish. I suppose I can be forgiven for that, as I'm not an ichthyologist and there are , according to the Burke Museum, about 253 species of fish in the Salish Sea. Incredible!
Did you also know that the Burke Museum is also the host ( I'm not quite sure what that means in internet world, but am thankful ) of Tweeters, and also hosts the largest collection of fish around : they claim eleven million specimens, a quantity I have a hard time imagining. I guess they must have a huge underground bunker underlying the whole UW campus where they've got 'em all stashed away.
Anyhoo, fish are interesting, and after, like a modern day Alice, Looking Though the Plexiglas at the little Smooth Alligator Fish, I went just outside to the pier float to view what fins I could find. Spotted (with my close-focusing binoculars) lots of young Herring, a few Shiner Perch, and a very dense school of hundreds of Sandlance right below me. Cool. Sandlance are a silvery slinky fish often seen hanging out of the beaks of Puffins and Rhinoceros Auklets.
Puffins and Auklets- those are birds. Just sayin'.

Jeff Gibsonthrough the looking glassPort Townsend Wa
PS: when you join the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (well worth it) you also get complimentary admission to the Burke, which I hope to do sometime soon - it's been years since I've been there - they got lots bird specimens there too, as some of you well know.

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