My name is Oriana. I have been working in the New England Aquarium's Dive Department (which oversees the Giant Ocean Tank) for almost two years now. Every day, I walk in there I think, "When will it be me? When will I be able to explore under the water?" Each day I pined for that opportunity. Now my dreams of diving are within reach.
I, along with nine other students took our first giants strides to becoming a diver into the MIT pool (watch video of our giant strides here). This was our first day of training to get certified. The swim test was, contrary to my belief, not so bad. It was a lot easier than I expected.
Our next event was learning how to snorkel. I am sure many people have had this sensation before, being able to see underwater, maybe even with a snorkel.
Oriana gets that first look underwater.
However, to me it was not only that, but a realization and relief that I've done it! I got accepted to SEA TURTLE and made it past the swim test and with my first underwater breath, I thought, "I did it!" That moment was probably the most rewarding one of the day. After that, we learned how to clear our snorkels and pick up shells at the bottom of the pool.
Oriana having fun during the shell game.
We took a break for lunch (I never appreciated food so much!) and then we put on our wetsuits. All of us of squeezing into our wetsuits was quite a sight. We looked like small undercover spy kids about to go on a mission. Our suits made us positively buoyant in the water, which was quite a sensation. After our first big stride into the water, I anticipated the usual sinking of my body down, however my wetsuit caused me to stay up. We all bobbed in the water together and tried to swim threw hula-hoops at the bottom of the pool. The day progressed with us becoming more and more familiar with our suits and with us learning to control ourselves under the water. At the end, I didn't know if I wanted to keep swimming forever or fall fast asleep and never move again.
I can't wait till next time!
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- I did it!
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Aquarium divers go on several daily dives to care for the animals in the Giant Ocean Tank (GOT) as well as lead expeditions to the Bahamas.