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May-11-2012 16:00printcomments

Oregon Coast Aquarium Invites Divers to Dive with Sharks

If you've been waiting for a chance to swim with the sharks...here you go!

Oregon Aquarium divers
Visitors take photos of a guest diver inside the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Passages of the Deep exhibit. The next guest dive program will be Sunday, May 27, from 8:00 am to 12:30pm. The program includes a chance to dive with Aquarium sharks and other fishes under the supervision of Aquarium dive guides.

(NEWPORT, Ore.) - The Oregon Coast Aquarium is offering a unique opportunity for divers to participate in a new pilot guest dive program this summer. The first dive is scheduled Sunday, May 27, from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm.

The program includes a chance to dive with Aquarium sharks and other fishes under the supervision of Aquarium dive guides. There will be more dives scheduled during the summer with dates and details available on the Aquarium website. The Guest Dive Experience includes:

  • A dive in 26 foot deep Halibut Flats Exhibit surrounded by rockfish, halibut, skates and sturgeon
  • A dive to the observation ledge of the Open Sea exhibit with dozens of sharks, including Broadnose Sevengill sharks, that are up to 10 feet in length
  • Aquarium Admission Entry Pass
  • A full cylinder of air
  • Weights as needed
  • Fish identification training session
  • A behind the scenes tour of Passages of the Deep
  • A photograph
“The opportunity to immerse our visitors in the exhibits with our animals is absolutely magic,” said Vallorie Hodges, Aquarium Dive Safety Officer and coordinator of the event.

“Few other experiences compare with being in the water with huge halibut, ling cod, bat rays and hundreds of other fish. Seeing sharks from the inside the tunnel is amazing, but having them swim past you just a few feet away is thrilling!”

Hodges said coming face to face with a gentle giant sturgeon is awe-inspiring. Divers will also get a chance to explore the simulated shipwreck in the Halibut Flats exhibit, swim through the kelp and become a part of the Aquarium dive show as visitors in the tunnel watch them and take photos.

“It’s really a very special moment,” said Hodges. “This is the feeling we want our guest divers to have, that each of us can make a difference when we become inspired to cherish and conserve this blue planet. The more connected we become with the marine ecosystem, the more we are compelled to protect it.”

The cost of the program is $139 per person for Aquarium members or $149 for non-members.

To participate in the guest diving program, divers must hold and present at check-in a valid SCUBA Certification card from a recognized agency and have no medical contraindications to SCUBA diving. Participants will need to provide their own dive gear except cylinder and weights.

Additional dive dates will be scheduled over summer, and reservations are required. Private or semi-private sessions may also be scheduled upon request.

For additional program dates, information and reservations, visit www.divetheaquarium.org, email Diana.hollingshead@aquarium.org or call Eugene Skin Divers Supply at (541) 342-3451. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational attraction dedicated to the highest quality aquatic and marine science programs for recreation and education so the public better understands, cherishes, and conserves the world’s natural marine and coastal resources. For more information, visit the Aquarium’s Web site at www.aquarium.org or call (541) 867-FISH.

Photo credit: Oregon Coast Aquarium




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