Home » Marine Life Encounter Cruise, Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, CT, USA

Marine Life Encounter Cruise, Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, CT, USA

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - Captain Sam & Debra C. Argen - photo by Luxury Experience
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The Adventure KidsTM aka Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta had another exciting adventure, this time during The Maritime Aquarium Marine Life Encounter Cruise out of Norwalk, Connecticut. We boarded their research-vessel, R/V Spirit of the SoundTM on a beautiful, sunny Saturday to go exploring on Long Island Sound. During the 2.5-hour educational cruise, we had several fabulous encounters with marine life. If you have ever wondered what creatures might live in Long Island Sound, the cruise will provide many answers. As with Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates, when you go searching in Long Island Sound, you never know what you will find, and that is what makes it an adventure!


Captain Sam discussing the route with Debra C. Argen
The Maritime Life Encounter Cruise

On Saturday, July 9, 2022, The Adventure Kids took part in an adventure of the aquatic kind, cruising on the Long Island Sound with The Maritime Aquarium on their Marine Life Encounter Cruise. We boarded their research-vessel, R/V Spirit of the SoundTM, a stunning 64-foot all-aluminum catamaran launched in 2015 as "the first research vessel in North America with hybrid-electric propulsion and runs silently on electric power." In addition, the Maritime Aquarium estimates a 40% fuel savings from using the hybrid-electric propulsion system.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - Map of Long Isnand Sound - photo by Luxury Experience
Map of Long Island Sound, our cruise destination

The day was bright and sunny and perfect to enjoy the breathtaking views of the storied Connecticut shoreline and the New York skyline in the distance, as we waited for the knowledgeable crew to bring up a plankton trawl. This type of trawl provided us with the opportunity to look at tiny, microscopic creatures and plankton. When Holly and Jackie, two of the knowledgeable education crew members, put water samples on a slide under the microscope, it was amazing to see what was in the water. Among the many interesting things were baby snails, baby crabs, and a baby horseshoe crab.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - under the microscope - photo by Luxury Experience
Under the Microscope

The next encounter was via a biodredge, which brought up all types of mollusks. It was fun to watch the joy and excitement on the faces of the children as well as the adults digging their fingers in the silt-like mud to sort through the findings. There were snails, oyster, clams, as well as sponges which had encased some of the oyster shells.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - biodredge - photo by Luxury Experience
Biodredge – time to have fun

Holly and Jackie also showed us clam shells bearing the result of sulfur boring sponges which prick holes in the shells and bore into them to eat the meat. You can tell this by a brittle shell that you can easily break in your hand, and the outside of the shell will have pinholes. Once the shell is broken in half, you will see the yellowish sponge sandwiched between the out and inner shell, thus making the shell brittle.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - Sulfur boring sponge - photo by Luxury Experience
Sulfur boring sponge on clam shell

When the crew, with assistance from the passengers, brought up the trawl net, we all waited with our excitement building to discover its contents. Among the haul there were Sea Robins, a bottom-dwelling fish with distinctive fan-shaped pectoral fins, a Clearnose Skate, Porgy with their iridescent bodies and distinctive forked tail, which makes them fast swimmers, Summer Flounder, and Window-Pane Flounder with their distinctive spots. Large Horseshoe Crabs, Hermit Crabs, Blue Crabs, and Spider Crabs, and so much more.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - The Trawl Net Catch - photo by Luxury Experience
The trawl net catch

One of the many interesting facts we learned during the trip is that horseshoe crabs have blue blood because of its copper-based respiratory pigment and are important in the medical field as their blood has been used to manufacture vaccines, including the COOVID vaccine, as well as medicines and vitamins. They can live up to 20 years, and mate on full moon nights at high tide. While they are called "crabs" they actually belong to the family Limulidae, and are related to arachnids (spiders, scorpions). They are an ancient species as fossils date them back to 480 million years ago.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - Flounder - photo by Luxury Experience
Flounder found in the trawl net catch

As scuba divers we always love learning more about the sea and its many creatures from the microscopic to the enormous and the Marine Life Encounter Cruise at The Maritime Aquarium was enlightening, engaging, and most importantly, fun for all age groups, judging by the happy faces of the passengers. We cannot wait to return for another cruise and see what the crew will discover.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - Horseshoe Crab - photo by Luxury Experience
Horseshoe Crab

To better appreciate what we might see on the marine life encounter cruise, we visited The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk before taking the cruise, as did many of the other passengers. The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is world-class, and in addition to its many fascinating exhibits, they also have a 4-D theatre, and offer a variety of cruises, so you can easily spend a full day there.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - Whelk - photo by Luxury Experience

Until next time, keep enjoying the adventure!

Marine Life Encounter Cruises and More

In addition to the Marine Life Encounter Cruise, The Maritime Aquarium offers the following cruises: Seal-Spotting & Birding, TGIF, Sunset, Norwalk Islands cruises, and more. Please visit their website for further information: https://www.maritimeaquarium.org/cruise-schedule or call them at +1-203-852-0700 extension 2206.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - Crew Member Holly with Searobin - photo by Luxury Experience
Holly showing everyone a Sea Robin

Know Before You Go – Cruise Information

Passengers must be over 42 inches tall and if under 18 accompanied by an adult.

Cruise Pricing: $36.00 per person for all ages.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - Sea Robin - photo by Luxury Experience
Come visit me , or a close sea friend of mine
See you on the next Maritime Life Encounter Cruise

Valuable Information Before You Go

The aquarium is easily accessible by car, train, bus, or boat. There are several conveniently located parking garages. Visitors can travel on Metro-North. The trip by train via Grand Central Station to the South Norwalk train station is approximately 1-hour. Visit the Metro-North website for information on trains and discount Metro-North Packages. Want to make the trip by your boat? Call +1-203-854-7806 to request fees to tie up at the Norwalk Visitors Dock.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - Debra C. Argen - photo by Luxury Experience
Adventure Kid Debra C. Argen at the helm

Do allow yourself a minimum of 2-hours (we spent 2.5-hours there) to fully experience and appreciate all that the Aquarium has to offer. The Aquarium is conveniently located in SoNo (South Norwalk) near many restaurants and shops, so it is a perfect day trip.

Maritime Life Encounter Cruise - Edward F. Nesta & Debra C. Argen - photo by Luxury Experience
Fun time on the Maritime Life Encounter Cruise

Aquarium Admission: Adults (Ages 13 – 64): $29.95, Children (Ages 3-12): $20.95, Seniors (Age 65+): $25.95.

For additional information on The Maritime Aquarium please visit their website: www.maritimeaquarium.org or call them at +1-203-852-0700.

You might also like to read about our experience at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in the Destinations section.

The Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk, CT, USA

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Connecticut
10 North Water Street
Norwalk, Connecticut 06854
United States
Telephone: +1-203-852-0700
Website: www.maritimeaquarium.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maritime.aquarium
Instagram: @maritimeaquarium
Twitter: @marimeaqua

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