Come chat with a diver

There's a teensy bit of graffiti hidden away in the Giant Ocean Tank. And the only way you might be able to see it (besides being a diver in the big tank, of course) is to attend the daily diver presentations at 2:30 p.m.

Visitors can listen to divers speaking underwater while giant high definition video screens (not seen in this picture)
relay scenes from deep within the Giant Ocean Tank

A new diver communication system was one of the high-tech additions during the renovations to this central exhibit. Divers fly a hand-held camera deep underwater, feeding live video to the top of the tank, while wearing a special mask that lets them hear questions from visitors at the top and respond to them—from 23 feet underwater! Not only can visitors find themselves in the middle of feedings or schools of fish, they can ask the divers about their favorite fish, explore those secret nooks that aren’t visible from the windows and even see what visitors look like on the other side of the glass.

Dan models the gear that makes all this possible

The divers speaking underwater require hours of specialized training and some fancy scuba gear. Here are the tools of the trade for divers and educators sharing the insider perspective of the Giant Ocean Tank.

Divers breath and speak through a full-face mask with a microphone.
Without a regulator in their mouth, divers can easily speak.

A vibrating disc near the diver’s ear lets them hear the educator at the top of the tank. Since sound travels easily underwater, divers swimming nearby can eavesdrop.

The hand-held camera is shiny and sleek, about the size of a can of soup. Some of the fish are very curious about it, so they often have cameos.

A long cable connects the camera, earpiece and microphone to the broadcast systems. That’s because water is too dense for WiFi—imagine, no WiFi!

These interactive talks provide: exciting visuals that you can’t get anywhere else, plus an insider’s perspective on the animals and ecology of Caribbean reefs. So if you want to dive deeper and learn more about the Giant Ocean Tank and its residents, check the daily schedule of presentations during your next visit and make sure you’re at the top of the tank for these interactive diver talks.

Bet you never knew there was graffiti inside the Giant Ocean Tank

Oh yeah, and about that graffiti... At the very bottom of the exhibit, in the dark tunnel that cuts through the reef, you'll find the signature of the artists who created this coral reef. Peter Brady tagged the reef the first time in 1984, when the reef was first made. He signed it again last year when the Giant Ocean Tank was completely renovated. Ask your friendly scuba diver with the camera to show it to you during the next diver talk from inside the tank!


A greener green sea turtle

We are sure that most of you have heard of Farm to Table, but how about Farm to TURTLE?

Farmer Erica

This week at the Giant Ocean Tank we had some special visitors. Erica and Dave from Rustic Root Farms in Farmington, ME, brought some of their organically-grown produce down for our favorite vegetable-eating green sea turtle to sample! (That would be Myrtle, of course.)

Along with about twenty Aquarium employees, Myrtle receives a weekly delivery of produce from the farm. They are all members of a CSA, which is short for Community-Supported Agriculture. Being a CSA member is a bit like being a shareholder in a business, except that you get to eat your weekly return! What was on the menu this week?  A tasty salad of zucchini, cucumber, red beets, bok choy, romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and beet greens.


We knew she’d love the romaine lettuce – it’s a regular staple in her diet here – and were pretty sure she’d like the red leaf too, but everything else was a bit of a mystery for us!  And even we were surprised by some of what the Brussels sprout-loving reptile liked and didn’t like.

Feeding Myrtle at the top of the Giant Ocean Tank 

Myrtle turned her beak up at the beet greens, and would only eat the zucchini and cucumber when stuffed inside a squid! The bok choy was hit or miss. But perhaps the biggest surprise of all? It was Myrtle diving down into the water to chase down the red beets! She gobbled them right down while beet juice squirted all around!

Myrtle on a beet pursuit

Erica and Dave (who is also the Manager of Visitor Experience here at the Aquarium) wanted to bring their vegetables to the Aquarium to show people that you can live blue by eating green (or more specifically, by eating your greens). Here are 10 ways you can make a difference for our blue planet.

Getting your produce locally means that food hasn’t had to travel lots of miles to your plate and is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. So be like Myrtle and buy local and sustainable – and support your neighborhood farmers!