Sailors assigned to the United States Naval Academy and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 12 dove with more than 1,000 fish in the Western Atlantic tank exhibit at the National Aquarium in Baltimore to show off Navy diving assets as part of Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore (MDFWASB), Oct. 4.
This display of fins and bubbles attracted more than 200 visiting students. While leaning on the walls of the 330,000-gallon aquarium, children watched and interacted with the divers using hand signs and also posed for pictures with the Sailors.
In addition to interacting with hundreds of visitors, the Navy divers and EOD technicians got the rare opportunity to intermingle with human-friendly sharks, small southern stingrays, puffer fish and even a curious moray eel named “Felix.”
“Not only is this a really unique opportunity for our Sailors to see wildlife, but also an awesome opportunity for the public to see us as well,” said Senior Chief Navy Diver Jeff Corrie, from Phoenix. “Usually when we’re diving we’re working. Today we get to have fun, check out the animals and really showcase naval diving resources to the public.”
The aquarium’s staff works to incorporate divers into their exhibits multiple times a month. They said they were impressed by the expertise displayed by the Sailors and were pleased by the crowd’s response to the service members.
“For my team, it is distinctive to work with Navy divers, especially as part of Maryland Fleet Week,” said Hollie Bourbon, the aquarium’s dive program director. “This gives us a chance to do something a little different, and I believe the Sailors’ presence has been a great draw for the public. Today, we got to bring these Sailors down into our waters and really bring them into our world.”
Throughout Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore, Oct. 3-9, U.S., Canadian and British navy vessels will be available for embarking visitors in the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Locust Point. Service members will be participating in an array of other activities, including visiting local schools, conducting ship tours, attending receptions and sporting events, participating in community service projects and experiencing Baltimore.
MDFWASB is Baltimore’s celebration of the sea services and provides an opportunity for the citizens of Maryland and the city of Baltimore to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as see firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services.