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Atlanta Giants

I was in Atlanta this week on a short business trip. Being an avid scuba diver, I decided to take advantage of the Georgia Aquarium’s whale shark dive program. They have 4 whale sharks in captivity (all rescued) in a 4-million gallon tank that houses something like 2,000 other animals. And that’s just the whale shark tank; this place is huge!

For a pretty hefty price, they’ll let you and some other divers hop in the tank and swim with all the animals. The whale sharks were amazing, but they were too big and too fast to really take in on such a short dive. I found myself staring the most at the large manta rays and various “regular” shark species, including some good size sand tiger sharks.

Just like the actual city of Atlanta, I didn’t end up shooting much in the aquarium. I had the intention of doing both, but timing just didn’t work out.

Below is some stock footage from the DVD of my dive. Unfortunately, something’s buggy with the DVD and I can’t rip the portion of the disk with my footage on it. Oh well. I think this still gives a good idea what we saw.  You’ll probably need a Facebook account to view it.  See below for pics.

Like I said, I didn’t shoot much in the aquarium, but here’s a small selection for you.

A hammerhead shark swims through the whale shark exhibit. A giant manta shows off for the audience at the whale shark tank. A cuttlefish investigates me and my camera. Giant squid carcass The last thing a crab sees. I think this is a moon jelly (fried egg), but I'm not certain. 2 of the 4 namesake inhabitants of the whale shark exhibit During my dive, one of these sand tiger sharks kept swimming right up to us. Jazz night at the aquarium, although it was less jazz and more salsa.

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Casino Point, Catalina Island

Note: if you hear sound, scroll down to the bottom of this post and press pause. Chances are the video is autoplaying when it shouldn’t be. That said….

I, and my friends Ben and Sonja took the Catalina Express over to Avalon Saturday to do some diving at the Casino Point dive park. The morning started out a little cold and overcast, but within a few hours the day turned beautiful. The diving was just as good, with excellent visibility, no current, and decently warm water. Alas, I don’t have many photos to share, but here’s a sample.

Here’s me with the Jacques Cousteau honorary plaque:

Sonja, apparently napping on the bottom:

I found this nudibranch on one of the wrecks. He was around 1 inch long. Not sure what species it was, but it was beautiful in person.

Ben and Sonja work their way through the kelp:

A juvenile garibaldi, with its opalescent spots:

Ben and I after a veeeeeery long day in Catalina:

This video isn’t particulary interesting, but I put it up so that you can see a sample of what diving in the park is like. Lots of kelp and sunshine. I’m holding the camera, and that’s Ben’s rear in the lead. If you want to download the whole video, or just want to open it in its own window, click here.

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