The Colossal Squid shocks the world
The Te Papa museum is located right next to the harbor in Wellington, New Zealand. Our little camper’s roar of life died when dad turned the key. For the second time this week we dropped to the earth, our feet coming to rest on the sun-baked concrete ground that surrounded the museum. A few people were walking ahead and behind us as we guided our feet in the direction of the museum’s front door. We walked in, unhindered by the museum employees, and started toward the stairs. The Te Papa museum is a free museum, and so that made our day a lot easier because it meant that we didn’t have to stand in line just to pay for a piece of paper.
As we got to the top of the stairs we saw three great Cave Trolls (from The Hobbit), standing right next to each other, seemingly oblivious to the people that surrounded them - and took photos with them, for indeed they were oblivious. Made of some type of material (my guess is paper), they stood and stared at the ground and the walls around them for eternity. Elisha and I walked up to them and took some photos while mom and dad went up another level to do their work, because we had already been in this museum once this week and they had to finish some work.
“Gabe, lets go up to the Fire, Blood, and Earth spot!” exclaimed Elisha.
“Naw, I want to see the squid again first, then we can go there.” I replied.
We traveled through that level of the museum, going through corridor after corridor, room after room, and passing display after display. I looked up at one point and saw a giant wooden disk eight feet long. This came from one tree, or so I read from the tag below it.
A few minutes later, after taking a few photos, we walked onward. Suddenly a huge tank came into view with a sign next to it, saying Colossal Squid. Elisha and I raced forward and stared in awe at the massive four-meter long squid that lay dead in a tank right before our eyes. The people who caught it were on a commercial fishing ship when they brought it up it eating one of the fish that they had managed to collect. It took two hours to get it on board and it was dead by then. Some of the readers who are reading this may think, “Why didn’t they just let it go? Why kill an innocent squid?” but let me put that thought to rest. It was going to die anyway. Those squid live so far down in the water that if they come up to the surface, then they will die of the heat. Its beak stood on another table in a glass of preservatives and I wondered what it would feel like to be bit by it, but a second later that unhealthy thought disappeared, for I realized that it would really hurt.
We walked onwards through the museum till we got to a room that had a large round table with little circles surrounding it. Elisha went up to it and put his hand over the smaller circle nearest to him. A light showed where his hand was and noise blasted out of the speakers surrounding the table. He pulled his hand back and it ended. He put it over another circle and a different noise was produced. Then he put two hands over two circles and his head above yet another. I laughed and went to the other side and enjoyed it with him, adding a guitar and someone singing. It was quite the fun thing to do, playing with this large, strange musical instrument.
A boom rang out as we entered yet another room and made our way through it. On a screen, there was a video of what goes on in the earth’s core. Sound waves rang out from the speakers at the same moment that some mountain exploded into fire and molten rock. To my right were three stones encased in metal bars. A sign next to one of them read ‘granite rock’ and next to the other one, it read ‘bed-rock’ and on the last (but not least!) one, a sign read ‘rock from the core, got from an exploded volcano.’ Elisha went up to it saying, “watch me lift it!” and tried. After a few minutes of working on getting a good hand hold on it he finally lifted it till it touched the top of the bars. “Hold it there! I’ll get a photo!” I said and quickly snapped a few shots, one of which is above. He let it go with a bang and then stepped away.
We walked slowly back up to the entrance and when we got there we saw that our family was ready to go. We got our stuff put away, such as mom and dads computers, and then joined them on their way out the door and back to the camper. For the second time this week our feet left the ground of the sun baked concrete that surrounded the museum and got back into the camper. The engine roared to life just as it had died a few hours ago, with the turn of the key in dad’s hand, and we drove off into the lands beyond the city.
Gabriel Miller is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program
All photos courtesy and copyright Gabriel Miller