Search and Social
Georgia Aquarium Blog

Georgia Aquarium provides an entertaining, engaging and educational experience inspiring stewardship in conservation, research and the appreciation for the animal world. Visit us at www.georgiaaquarium.org.




Contact Questions or comments? Send us an email, and let us know about it. Click here to contact us.

Tuesday
Aug162016

Rebreather Dive Program: What To Expect


Rebreather Dive Program: What To Expect

August 17, 2016

Written by: Sophie Gaze
Dive Immersion Senior Divemaster

Our Dive Immersion Program began operation in 2008 and we have facilitated more than 40,000 divers and snorkelers of all abilities in experiencing Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager habitat. At the conclusion of each dive, our staff has distributed surveys to our open circuit divers. Some of the most common suggestions for improvement over the years were to provide underwater photos in addition to the video and extend the bottom time. Enter: Rebreathers. The Closed Circuit Rebreather Program allows guests to deepen their experience and extend their bottom time in a try rebreather dive experience. Now guests can enjoy our majestic whale sharks, manta rays, and other exotic species while donning some of the newest and most innovative rebreather equipment to date: The Poseidon SE7EN.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul152016

10 Days of Immersion, A Lifetime of Knowledge


10 Days of Immersion, A Lifetime of Knowledge

July 15, 2016

Written by: Sophie Gaze
Dive Immersion Senior Divemaster

"They freedive because it’s the most direct and intimate way to connect with the ocean… beneath the surface, the body bears only a passing resemblance to its terrestrial form and function. The ocean changes us physically, and psychically.

In a world of seven billion people, where every inch of land has been mapped, much of it developed, and too much of it destroyed, the sea remains the final unseen, untouched, and undiscovered wilderness, the planet’s last great frontier. There are no mobile phones down there, no e-mails, no tweeting, no twerking, no car keys to lose, no terrorist threats, no birthdays to forget, no penalties for late credit card payments, and no dog poop to step in before a job interview. All the stress, noise, and distractions of life are left at the surface. The ocean is the last truly quiet place on Earth.”

James Nestor, Deep

My alarm goes off at six in the morning, and I rub my bleary eyes, wondering where I am and why it feels so early. Remembering I’m in Florida, I roll out of bed and brush my teeth, letting my brain slowly take its time to wake up. I robotically pop a Mucinexâ in my mouth and take a big drink of water. I put my thumb and forefinger on my nose to plug it and force air into my Eustachian tubes. I feel a familiar ‘pop’ and smile to myself. Today is Day 1/10 of my Performance Freediving International Instructor Course and I’m going to need my sinuses to be in good shape.

I was one of three instructor candidates in the 10 day course.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar172016

Rebreather Training: Field Dives


Rebreather Training: Field Dives

March 17, 2016

Written by: Sophie Gaze
Dive Immersion Senior Divemaster

The finale of our rebreather training took place beyond the walls of Aquarium in the frigid bodies of water around north Atlanta. The Ocean Voyager exhibit was an excellent place for us to do our first rebreather dives after the pool, but it was time for us to descend deeper than 30 feet, which required us to log some dives outside the Aquarium. We all had mixed feelings about this considering the training happened to be scheduled in the dead of winter: January and February. Ultimately, it was our duty to put the needs of our program over the desire to stay warm, so our adventure began!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar082016

Rebreather Training: Ocean Voyager


Rebreather Training: Ocean Voyager

March 8, 2016

Written by: Sophie Gaze
Dive Immersion Senior Divemaster

After lots of fun in the pool with absolutely no bubbles, the next step in our training was to practice with the rebreathers in deeper water. Fortunately, we have Atlanta’s very own ocean right here in our office, so we donned our Poseidon Se7en’s and entered Ocean Voyager Built by The Home Depot.

This was an experience we had all been looking forward to immensely. After all, this was going to be our permanent dive site in this new gear, and we couldn’t wait to see how the animals reacted to our stealthy silence! These dives were a lot of fun and hardly felt like work at all. We practiced our skills and our buoyancy and then were able to just swim around, enjoying the company of thousands of fishy coworkers. As if Ocean Voyager was not peaceful enough already on open circuit SCUBA, the rebreathers added an entirely new element to our downtown paradise.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar042016

Rebreather Training: Confined Water


Rebreather Training: Confined Water

March 4, 2016

Written by: Sophie Gaze
Dive Immersion Senior Divemaster

The next phase of our rebreather training took place in the safety of a pool at Cobb Aquatic Center. We loaded up the Georgia Aquarium van and eagerly made our way up north to the facility. The time had come for us to finally get our heads under water with this new equipment on our backs!

The pool was truly like a playground for us. In any type of dive training, there is a great educational benefit to training in a pool. In this case, it allowed us to gain confidence handling the equipment, running through the tests and practicing our buoyancy in the water. There, we also had a false sense of security training in the shallow, crystal clear water of Cobb Aquatic Center – something we knew we should not get used to, given that the rest of our training would be the murky, spooky waters of Lake Lanier or the absolutely frigid Dive Georgia Quarry.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar012016

Rebreather Dive Program at Georgia Aquarium: Team Training 


Rebreather Training: Classroom

March 2, 2016

Written by: Sophie Gaze
Dive Immersion Senior Divemaster

2016 is going to be an epic year in the Dive Immersion Department! At the DEMA (Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association) convention in November of last year, we announced the inception of the Closed-Circuit Rebreather Dive Program at Georgia Aquarium. Our most common suggestion for improvement from our guests is to extend the bottom time of our dive. To remedy this, we are going to be offering a 1.5-hour dive in Ocean Voyager Built by The Home Depot on a Poseidon SE7EN rebreather.

Now, I know you might be thinking, “what on earth is a rebreather?” Well, let me explain… Currently at Georgia Aquarium, the Dive Immersion Program uses an open circuit SCUBA system. This means that the diver has a tank of compressed air with a regulator that delivers the air from the tank through the mouth to the lungs. The air in the tank contains approximately 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen (plus some argon and other nonessential gasses) the same as the air at the surface. Upon exhaling, we respire about 79% nitrogen, 16% oxygen and 5% carbon dioxide. This combination of gasses is expelled from our regulator in the form of bubbles.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan042016

Scuba Diving with Tank


January 4, 2016
Scuba Diving with Tank the Turtle

Written by: Sophie Gaze
Dive Immersion Senior Divemaster

I have been working here for four years now, and can’t think of many things that have gotten our Dive Immersion staff buzzing quite as much as Tank the green sea turtle’s introduction into Ocean Voyager Built by The Home Depot. It’s not every day you’re told that, in addition to whale sharks and manta rays, your job description will now include diving with a 400+ pound green sea turtle!

Before moving into the Ocean Voyager habitat, Tank was off-exhibit in the holding pool. We were able to watch the aquarists train him to feed from a dedicated location, and every day we grew more and more excited to get in the water with him. The dive team eagerly waited for the day the Zoological Operations team introduced Tank to the main exhibit, and on Tuesday, November 24 it happened!

Our first look at Tank in Ocean Voyager!

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec062015

The Most Fantastic Holiday Gift


December 11, 2015

The Most Fantastic Holiday Gift

Written by: Sophie Gaze
Dive Immersion Senior Divemaster

What do my two best friends from high school, my parents, my aunt and uncle, my boyfriend’s little brother, my college roommates and my brother all have in common? Well, nothing really, except that they have all participated in Georgia Aquarium’s Journey with Gentle Giants! Gifting a dive or swim in Ocean Voyager Built by The Home Depot is the ULTIMATE present!

 The holiday shopping season is upon us, and it can be difficult to find a creative, awesome present. Some people are just so hard to shop for! I know I am biased because it’s what I do every day, but I promise that swimming or diving at Georgia Aquarium is an experience you will never forget!

Unwrapping a dive or swim is sure to bring a smile!

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov302015

Thankful For This Job


November 30, 2015

Thankful For This Job

Written by: Sophie Gaze
Dive Immersion Senior Divemaster

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple Inc.

Whenever I am off-site in my Georgia Aquarium uniform, I always get asked something along the lines of, “You work at the Aquarium? Cool! What do you do there?”

I always smile at this question because I secretly enjoy the wow-factor of my response, “I’m a SCUBA diver. I swim with the sharks.”

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones, eat delicious carbohydrate-filled meals, and watch football – lots of football – but I also really enjoy the part where you actually give thanks. With all the tragedy around the world making headlines, I feel more conscious than ever this year about the importance of giving thanks over this holiday season.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov192015

Georgia Aquarium Goes To DEMA


November 19, 2015

Georgia Aquarium Goes To DEMA

Written by: Sophie Gaze
Dive Immersion Senior Divemaster

Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents would occasionally treat you to a trip to the candy store? There was an overwhelming confusion over where to look, what treats to take home, and you could almost feel the sugar rush before you even took your first bite! I remember this feeling well; it felt like total sensory overload. Well, that’s what the DEMA show is to SCUBA divers, and this year I had the opportunity to attend my first show in Orlando earlier this month. It is a privilege to represent Georgia Aquarium at DEMA, so when I heard that there was a last-minute ticket available, it was difficult to contain my excitement! 

DEMA, or the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association, holds an annual trade-only event in either Las Vegas or Orlando. The organization is dedicated to promoting the growth of scuba diving and other water-related activities in the business. The annual DEMA show allows vendors and exhibitors to network with each other, communicate important information related to the industry and reveal new equipment or programs. It is definitely a scuba diver’s candy store!

Click to read more ...