Reviews of the Pacific Undersea Gardens are very negative and justified, but I still wanted to experience it for myself and am glad I did, having an experience that made my $10 entry fee worthwhile. The ‘gardens’ are actually an under sea aquarium. You board a ship and descend 15′ below the surface to view fish and other marine life in a relatively natural habitat. At first glance, the whole thing screams Tourist Trap. The windows are scratched, dirty, and covered in algae and the information plaques aren’t that informational. But if you take the time to stop and really look, like I did, you might make a memory that will stick with you.
I attempted to take photographs of a large crab located at the far end of a tank, when it started to move. At first, it seemed to move randomly, but I soon realised that it was coming straight at me! Even though I didn’t have a flash on the camera, it must have been projecting a bit of light. The crab came right up to the window and started to wave its claws at me. It then began to climb the inner frame of the window and continued to tap on the window, making quite a racket. I moved the camera from pane to pane and the crab followed my movements. I was not photographing by this point, so I wonder if it could actually see the camera itself, a flash of silver in the green. Whatever it was, I am now convinced that crabs are a lot more intelligent and aware than we give them credit for. This guy was without question interacting with me.
Once Bob (I had to give him a name!) lost interest with me, it was time for a nine minute show where a diver interacts with some of animals. He showed us a large starfish, a wolf eel, a crab, and an octopus.
There are surely better ways to spend $10 in Victoria, but I’m truly glad I visited the Undersea Gardens. It just goes to show that sometimes the most hyped and slickest attractions aren’t necessarily the most memorable.