Busan Aquarium

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Korea’s largest aquarium is conveniently located right on Haeundae Beach. The main tank on level two houses sharks and rays and thousands of other fish in 3,000 tons of water. Enjoy an underwater stroll through the concave shark tunnel. If you miss feeding time, feel free to take a swim at no extra charge. Be sure to check out the wild looking Eagle Rays while you are there. 

Address : 1411-4, Jung 1-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, Korea
Tel : 051-740-1700
Web : http://www.busanaquarium.com/eng/index.html
Opening Hours : Mon~Fri 10:00 ~ 21:00/Sat~Sun, Holiday 9:00~21:00
Age Fare Group fare(More than 20)
Adult ?16,000 ?12,000
Student ?13,500 ?9,500
Children ?11,000 ?8,000

 

 

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Hammered Babies in Busan
By Harold Henry
8/19/2010

They are cool looking killers as they surround you in the shark tunnel. Yet, possibly, the even more interesting story is how they made their way from the net of a Japanese fisherman all the way to Busan. Let’s just say they don’t exactly travel coach.

BUSAN, South Korea – Last December, Busan Aquarium in Haeundae came in contact with Keue Kunihiro, a 73-year-old fisherman living about an hour from Kagoshima, Japan. Kunihiro offered up an interesting proposition: Hammerhead Sharks. Apparently, he was privy to a spot off the Japanese coast where Hammerheads bred and offered the aquarium as many as they could hold.

The aquarium put in for an order for twenty new born sharks and Kunihiro went to collecting the infant killers. After penning them up just off shore and feeding them for a few months, the sharks were ready for what would turn into a 24-hour ride from sea to land to sea and back to land again.

At a going market rate of $7,000 per shark, getting them here alive was a major undertaking put together with the utmost care. Temperature controlled seawater tank trucks with modified anti-vibration holding tanks were pulled up and the sharks were loaded up for the drive across Japan to the ferry in Fukuoka. There, the trucks were loaded on the slow ferry to Busan.

Once here, there was the problem of getting the sharks ready for their new home. The waters off of Kagoshima are on average about two degrees centigrade warmer than the seawater Busan Aquarium pumps into its tanks in Haeundae. While the sharks were still in the trucks outside the aquarium, the staff slowly pumped in Korean coastal water while pumping Japanese water out. After this six-hour process, the baby Hammerheads were ready to be picked up in vinyl sheets and placed in their new tank here in Busan.

According to Y.P. Kim, general manager of Busan Aquarium, which is the largest aquarium in Korea, housing Hammerheads is a tricky business. “Usually, nobody wants to deal with Hammerheads, because of the risks involved.” Being an aggressive shark, who may very well eat their best friend, you can see the problems involved. In captivity, Hammerheads tend to live about six years.

If you have yet to see a live Hammerhead, it is well worth a visit to the aquarium which offers a wealth of sea life from all over the world in a very large multi-level facility under the beach at Haeundae. Unlike Gray Nurse sharks you see at most aquariums around the world, the Hammerheads are constantly moving fast, and the protruding eyes on the sides of their head provide for a visually stunning experience of these natural born killers.

“Busan Aquarium is delighted to have the opportunity to introduce this unique shark species,” says Kim. “As Korea’s leading aquarium, our goal is to continue to showcase the wonders of the ocean through awe-inspiring displays for our customers to enjoy.”

Swimming With Sharks in Haeundae
By Marie Joubert
2/15/2010


Chung Hye-young, (Left) Marie Jobert (Center) and Go Ji-woong take a dive with the sharks at Busan Aquarium

HAEUNDAE, South Korea – I haven’t even seen the movie “Jaws” nor have many of my friends, but you only need to start with the sound track’s pounding, "du-du-du-du," to get a shiver down the spine. Still, I couldn't pass on a chance to swim with these marine monsters. If for nothing else than to send my mother the pictures.

When I arrived at Busan Aquarium in Haeundae I was set up with gear and joined by one of the aquarium interns, Chung Hye-young. She has never actually put a regulator in her mouth so we started out playing around in a smaller pool —joined by three sharks. While Hye-Young re-learned how to breathe, I made sure all my under water-gadgets worked properly.

Any diver knows you can do everything through your regulator under the water, as long as you keep it in your mouth. Even scream. And that’s exactly what happened when I poked my head under the water for the first time in the small tank.

Little Miss Zebra Shark was curious about me and apparently wanted to know who was invading her personal space. Suddenly we were eye to eye. Leaving me —actually the bigger of the two— screaming a trail of bubbles in hip-deep water.

When Hye-Young was all set we took the first steps into the big tank. With each move forward it was seeming more and more like an absolutely stupid thing to do.

Once underwater, the first sight I saw was the alarmed faces of the visitors on the other side of the glass. Waves were exchanged, photos were posed for and hopefully a silent prayer said. It was then that I turned around to see one of the seventeen Grey Nurse Sharks (known as a relatively peaceful animal, unless provoked or hungry, but still, a SHARK!) just ahead.

Within five minutes in the tank, most of the bigger sharks (one around three meters long) came over for a look. Or a bite. Or a scare-off. But they weren't too fond of our bodyguard Go Ji-woong and his air gun and quickly decided we weren't worth the trouble.

The longer you are in the same space with these great souls of the big blue, the more respect and awe you feel. You are overtaken with the utmost fascination. Swimming within reach of these creatures, makes you feel very small and insignificant. The shark has been around for millions of years with nary an equal in its underwater world. And yet, there I was, a potential meal for twenty minutes.

Afterwards, I stepped out of the water feeling as if I had been stirred from a dream. How could I leave a world where all you can hear is your own breathing, feel the water currents pushing and pulling you along and looking at a wonderful, yet strange and powerful fish in the eye, without even feeling remotely afraid? I must have been nuts. Enjoy the pictures, mom.

If you want more information about booking a dive with the sharks at Busan Aquarium, visit www.busanaquarium.com

 

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