Sunday, February 14, 2010

JBBW films at the Georgia Aquarium!

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the world! Their Ocean Voyager exhibit contains 6.3 million gallons of water, and since they are 400 miles from the ocean, all that seawater had to be made from fresh water! We wanted to do a segment on this amazing place since they are one of the few aquaria in the world that are large enough for a whale shark. In fact, they have four whale sharks! The largest one, a female named Trixy, is 23 feet long and growing!

Tim Geers, Bill Murphy (on his first assignment with the Blue World team) and I headed down to Atlanta on Thursday night with a plan to spend the whole day Friday filming at the aquarium. The PR department had arranged for us to meet many of the staff members responsible for everything from animal care to exhibit maintenance. We also would have the chance to participate in the feeding of the animals and do a dive in the Ocean Voyager exhibit!

We arrived and unloaded our gear from the car. Soon we were down in the basement, getting a tour of the pump room, where they have enough massive pumps to turn over the 6.3 million gallons once every hour! Next we went up to the top of the ocean voyager to watch the feeding of the whale sharks. I got the chance to feed the mantas, which was a little tricky because they can't stop swimming to feed. You have to walk along the edge of the tank and dole out the food right in front of the swimming manta's mouth.

Next we got to dive the exhibit and this thing is so big, you can forget you are in an aquarium. They have more species of fish than you would typically see on a dive. They have whale sharks, Great Hammerheads, Sand Tiger sharks, Sandbar sharks, Zebra sharks, blacktip reef sharks, nurse sharks and Wobbegong sharks, just to name a few! There is so much marine life in the tank that it's hard to know where to point the camera. I can hardly wait to start editing this segment because it's so visually stunning. Diving in this exhibit is not just reserved for "special" people doing television segments. If you are a certified diver and have $325, you can do it too. Just call them up and make a reservation. Is it worth $325? Umm....YES!!

After a long day of shooting, we started taking our gear out to the car and it was snowing like crazy! All of Atlanta had to shut down!! We were afraid our flight would be cancelled the next day, but they managed to get the airport up and running by Saturday and we made it home on time.

Diving in the Georgia Aquarium was an incredible experience and the segment (to appear in season 3) will be pretty cool!! If you get the chance to visit this aquarium, do it!!!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Check out our new EXTRAS section!

The Jonathan Bird's Blue World website now has a new EXTRAS section! This will be used for bloopers, interviews and other video segments that are not part of the actual program. We are launching a new series of short videos in this section called "Tools of the Trade" to highlight the equipment used for scuba diving and underwater photography. So check it out!!