Marine scientists, educators, divers, ROV operators and even a cartoon-drawing pirate got together at the Galway Atlantaquaria on Sunday June 7th to celebrate United Nations World Oceans Day by raising awareness of the role of the oceans in climate change while giving families a fun day out in the fascinating world of the underwater.
Accompanying the event, a 24-hour sponsored SCUBA dive took place in the main ocean tank of the Atlantaquaria from 12 noon on Saturday to 12 noon on Sunday by divers from NUI Galway and Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology Sub-Aqua clubs. All proceeds went to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and a live feed of the divers was available throughout the underwater marathon on the Atlantaquaria’s website, where viewers could make donations online.
Items on display, in addition to the breathtaking collection of live marine animals already in the Atlantaquaria included a Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle (ROV). This machine not only gave live television footage of those living inside the Atlantaquaria’s main ocean tank, but could also look out through the reinforced glass walls to the outside, giving a fish’s eye view of those looking in.
A working model of Galway Bay, showing the flow of water and wind, was provided by NUI Galway, along with some of the dramatic television footage of deep water corals recently taken 800 metres below the surface off the Porcupine Bank.
And for the younger visitors there was a demonstration of “Mad Scientist” experiments, including how to make a “whirlpool in a bottle” by Dr Noreen Burke of the Galway Explorers outreach programme, a play area full of crayons, cardboard and glitter presided over by Dr Susan “Swashbuckling Sue” Steele of BIM along with stories for younger children read aloud.
The Marine Institute supplied face-painting from Cushla Dromgool Regan and cartoon drawing classes from Dr John Joyce in disguise as “Captain Black John”.
Galway Atlantaquaria and the Marine Institute would in turn like to thank everyone who made the day possible, including all our sponsors and exhibitors.
Photo: Susan Steele of BIM and "crew".
Looking forward to World Ocean Day 2010!