Articles, Blog


September 13, 2019

Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world! The whale shark is the largest fish in the
sea. And it would take an enormous aquarium to hold a whale shark. I’m here at the Georgia
Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world, but they don’t have a whale shark….they
have four! The Georgia Aquarium is one of the worlds
most spectacular. It houses exhibits ranging from coral reefs to kelp forests, salt water
to fresh water, warm water to cold water, and just about everything in between. But there is no doubt that the 6.3 million
gallon Ocean Voyager exhibit is the most impressive part of the Georgia Aquarium. It’s as deep
as a three story building and the main viewing window is larger than a movie theatre screen,
creating a fantastic place to sit and watch the fish go by. I enjoy the bubble window where I can relax
and watch the sharks! There is also a tunnel through the Ocean Voyager
so people can walk underneath the marine life, which includes some of nature’s most magnificent
animals like manta rays and whale sharks. Keeping manta rays and whale sharks in captivity
is difficult. First of all, these are huge animals! Mantas grow larger than a car, and
whale sharks larger than a bus! So they need a lot of space. But they pose another interesting
challenge as well—both are filter feeders. In the wild they strain their planktonic food
by swimming with an open mouth and capturing small animals from the water on their gill
rakers. In an aquarium, there is no plankton. Aquarists
had to train the animals for hand feeding. To learn how they feed the mantas, I make
my way to the top of the Ocean Voyager exhibit, a nearly football field-sized fish tank! There
I meet Chris Coco, the curator of zoological operations. CHRIS: We will be staging here and this is
where we’re going to jump and help us load the ladle. He introduces me to biologists Christy Ihlo
and Kelly Maples, the aquarists who are going to show me how to feed the mantas. JONATHAN: Alright CHRIS: This is Christy and Kelly. JONATHAN: Hi nice to meet you. CHRIS: Jonathan Bird. JONATHAN: I’m Jonathan, nice meeting you. CHRIS: These two are the biologist up that
work the animals everyday. JONATHAN: You guys are lucky. The mantas are fed a combination of krill
and small fish from a ladle. Since the mantas can’t swim in place, they
have to be fed while they swim by gently ladling the food out in front of their mouths. JONATHAN: Wow fantastic. Here we go. Fill
it up? About that much? That’s good. Excellent. After observing a few times, now it’s my
turn to try! JONATHAN: Okay. Then you just trickle it out? CHRIS: “The key is to not dump too soon.
She’s going to stick with you and stick with the ladle so.” JONATHAN: Little more or is that enough? Umm
I am a little nervous! There’s all these people watching I don’t want to mess it
looks so easy, up but I know it’s not KELLY: The one thing we do ask. Though…
The one thing it can be a little difficult when you get a little water when you go try
to keep the ladle out in front of her. She gets kind of moving fast, it is possible to
kind of hit her in the face with the ladle. JONATHAN: How’s that? All right! Whew! Thank
you very much. Thank you so much! That was cool. How many people get to do that? I got
to feed a manta ray! That is so cool! Feeding the whale sharks is even more complicated.
It involves the aquarists using small boats to keep ahead of the moving whale sharks. This is like a precision ballet of whale shark
feeding. These ropes go all the way across the tank and each aquarist has to pull themselves
along in a boat, scooping out the food, staying just ahead of the whale shark, but what’s
really amazing is that each whale shark gets a different diet, so they are only feeding
one particular shark, and the sharks are trained to only follow one particular boat. The best
part of it is nobody bumps into each other, it’s amazingly well orchestrated and I really
can’t imagine how long it took to train the sharks to do this. While I get the bird’s eye view of the feeding
from above, the aquarium visitors get the fish eye view from below in the tunnel with
the sharks feeding directly overhead. If feeding these animals looks a little complicated,
imagine how hard it was to get them here! It all started in Taiwan, where the sharks
are hunted for food. The Georgia Aquarium teamed up with a local fisherman to capture
a live whale shark. Once they had it in a pen, they transferred it to a specially-made
sling. Then it was transferred into a custom tank with life support for an overseas flight.
Finally the shark was flown on a private charter across the Pacific all the way to Atlanta,
where it was driven to the aquarium. It’s quite a journey for a shark! Given how expensive and difficult it is to
get whale sharks all the way to the Georgia Aquarium, the staff isn’t taking any chances
when it comes to their care. The rooms where food is prepared are nearly
as clean as operating rooms. And the water quality is constantly monitored.
I spend some time down in the pump room with John Masson, the assistant manager of life
support. JONATHAN: John, this place is huge. Tell me
about these pumps. JOHN: Well, here at the Georgia Aquarium we
have about thirty six 15HP pumps on this side of room, thirty four 25hp pumps on the other
side. Which means we pump about 140 thousand gallons a minute through this room, which
is enough to turn over 6.3 million gallons in under an hour. JONATHAN: So you can pump the entire exhibit’s
6.3 millions gallons in 1 hour? JOHN: Yeah we actually can. It equivalent
of one of these pump can actually fill a swimming pool in about 15 minutes. Which is about 30,000
gallons, so each about 2,000 gallons per minute. JONATHAN: WOW!! That’s a lot of water JOHN: It’s a lot of water. JONATHAN: I notice there are no leaks. JOHN: We try to minimize all our leaks at
least. Yes. JONATHAN: Good plumbing! JOHN: Yeah. It’s nice. Now you might be wondering, if you’re in
Atlanta Georgia and you want to have 6.3 million gallons of ocean water, what do you do? Well,
Instant Ocean…gigantic bags of powdered sea salt and minerals—mix it with fresh
water and you have got ocean! And I’m about ready to try diving in this
inland ocean, so I head upstairs for my briefing with divemaster Devon Fleming. DEVON: Alright so basically once we get down
here we’ll get you guys get set up in the locker room. We’re going to throw in the
dock and move your gear down there. It’s also basically valet diving. So once we get
done with the briefing, you guys are going to get changed and head down to the dock.
Put your fins, mask, and gloves on. We get your gear put on for you guys and ask then
you guys to do a forward roll into water once your divemaster clears you to go. While I go and get my gear on, they put the
dock into the water. They don’t leave it in all the time because the animals might
injure themselves on it. Now, the moment I have been waiting for all
day! JONATHAN: Oh look they give me sign so I won’t
mistake my gear for anyone else’s. You know what’s interesting about this is they don’t
want to get any containments into the exhibits, so they don’t want us to even use our own
dive gear. We have to use wetsuits from the aquarium. A BC, regulator everything. They
where real nice though and let me use my own fins, but first we had to put them into disinfectant
so they are now extremely clean. Yeah they won’t hurt you at all. JONATHAN: Can I go in now? OFF CAMERA VOICE: Yes you may. Okay, let’s go check it out. There’s a
whale shark right under me!! That’s pretty cool! Before I even have my camera, a whale shark
swims silently right below the dock. It’s hard to believe I’m in a giant fish tank
to the World’s Largest Aquarium. Enjoy your dive and tour with Devon and five or six thousand
of your favorite friends. On the bottom, a Great Hammerhead comes over
to check me out! I follow Devon down towards the deep end of
the exhibit, and Tallulah the manta ray swims over to say hello. Soon I pass over the tunnel with lots of people
inside. They are looking up at me and I can’t help but think how lucky I am to be able to
do this dive. I wave to the kids and keep moving with Devon to the deep part of the
exhibit. A whale shark, with a school of jacks keeping
him company swims over me. The whale sharks move around the huge tank in circles and figure
eights. They are used to the divers and don’t mind us at all. There is so much marine life in this exhibit
that sometimes I forget I’m doing a dive in an aquarium. My camera moves from whale
shark, to Great Hammerhead. Then on to Nandi, the other manta ray, doing barrel rolls. Then
back to another hammerhead. Through the enormous viewing window, the crowd
watches the action—a sand tiger shark passing right in front of the glass. The experience is almost overwhelming. It
would take quite a few dives to get used to this! I just can’t believe my eyes—there are
so many fish! On the bottom, a sawfish catches my attention.
This is a kind of ray with a saw-like nose for hunting prey. I have never even seen one
of these in the wild but they have nearly a dozen of them in this exhibit. One of Aquarium staff divers peacefully enjoys
a sand tiger shark lazily drifting by. In spite of their fierce-looking teeth, these
sharks are no threat to people. They eat smaller prey. Soon my dive nears the end. On our way back to the shallow end of the
exhibit, I pass once again over the tunnel with the people looking up. And Tallulah buzzes
by again as if to bid me farewell. Devon gives me the signal to head to the surface.
It was such a short dive…I don’t know if I can bring myself to getting out of the
water. I have never been on a dive with so many species
of fish. I don’t even know where to point my camera. I’ve got to go back in. Maybe they won’t notice if I stay just a
little while longer. This is one dive I just don’t want to end.


  • Reply Gillian Laidlaw November 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm


  • Reply Katarina Lithgow November 18, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    this seems cruel to keep whale sharks in a tank, no matter how big, making them depend on humans to feed them

  • Reply Ttofuu Plays November 20, 2016 at 12:57 am

    Keep up the good work!

  • Reply i am tree December 1, 2016 at 8:06 am

    WOW! such beautiful fish! the fish look very happy to have all of that room. aha

  • Reply Marichelle Austria elardo December 2, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Omg amazinggggg

  • Reply Zombie boy 24 December 2, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    You are awesome

  • Reply Alfie Wilson January 12, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    go to the deep in hull

  • Reply Michael Teale January 14, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Wow what a aquarium?Awsome or what?Man, feeding those whale sharks and manta rays must take some doing?CHEMICHAEL.M.ALIEN.T.EELS SNIDE SQUALLISS?

  • Reply Qui Nguyen January 23, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Whale shark- hello again
    Jonathan-he hustled pass me lol

  • Reply hermeslara January 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I never seen a whale shark only sharks

  • Reply Shelley Wright January 29, 2017 at 11:43 am

    My name is Georgia๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ช

  • Reply Urick Lucas February 2, 2017 at 1:51 am

    imagine if this aquarium had whales in their exhibits

  • Reply OZWW2 Bricks February 4, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Why would they capture a whale shark and I love you work keep it up

  • Reply STxR Wolf February 14, 2017 at 7:57 am

    people gotta stop taking sharks or anything that is a shark only if they are endangered but still you can only two whale sharks but in captivity they don't have there real food plus large sharks like a great white shark or a basking shark or even the north pacific sleeper shark or even the largest shark of them all or but it's not alone its the 2nd biggest shark the Brazil coast guard was saving some people on the water 2 or 3 but the camera seen a shark that had to be larger than the whale shark so the shark was on the camera was a megaldon the world's biggest shark of them all well it has a bit of a theart the black demon shark that said to be grown up to 380 or 120 or 80 or 70 or 60 or 69 feet long and at least up to 1,000 or 2,000 inches so yea I'm just saying that sharks in captivity won't survive long they at least can survive at least up to 20 or 30 years but they can sometimes survive up to 2 or 3 years and they sometimes even freaking survive for only 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 even up to 1 month that's just surprising to all of us

  • Reply Cetlical February 22, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    360p squad

  • Reply cosmicpeachris March 11, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    omg…my friend went there

  • Reply marygracedesuyo March 14, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I touched the fin of a wild whale shark

  • Reply Cherry the Pram March 20, 2017 at 5:05 am

    I went here before a long time ago and I forgot what I saw except for seeing I think were penguins. I'm sad that I forgot ๐Ÿ™

  • Reply Magik_Chocobo March 23, 2017 at 4:52 am

    how are they going to flush a whale shark when it dies? also the whale sharks are probably dead by now

  • Reply Atomsmasher927 April 11, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    I live in Georgia but I have never been here

  • Reply Luke Sohnly April 14, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    That's so sad they like whalenapped that whale shark :(((

  • Reply Typical Fan April 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Great video! As always.

  • Reply Christoforos Lapathiotis April 23, 2017 at 12:17 pm


  • Reply Tobias Krรคmer April 24, 2017 at 9:40 am

    It is amazing and impressive but actually also cruel.
    There should be a limit on putting animals into cages. Whales, polar bears, african elefants etc. do not belong to such a limited space.

  • Reply Dominoโ€™s Delivery Man69 April 26, 2017 at 12:32 am

    is it just me or is the kid in 1:52 saying 'giant mantaray!' probably gonna have some very bad problems with mantarays

  • Reply Mz Kuriyama April 26, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Glad you had an awesome experience ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿณ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿฌ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿก๐Ÿฆˆ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿš๐Ÿฆ€๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿฆ‘

  • Reply Shirley Lata April 27, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Blue World ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  • Reply Heather Kelly May 1, 2017 at 10:28 pm


  • Reply donkey king May 5, 2017 at 12:06 am

    thank you for making this video

  • Reply Seras Victoria May 24, 2017 at 6:45 am

    This aquarium is one of my all time favorites! !!! whale sharks are my favorite! !!!

  • Reply 10 Days May 27, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    Your channel is amazing but I feel very sorry to see these puppet fishes, indeed these guys swim across the world, even if they are well fed, better to see them in the wild! At least, this huge aquarium can teach people of their beauty, but better leave your zone of confort and go to see them in them wild world!

  • Reply Oliver Bundgaard Terp May 29, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Is it rare too see male whale Sharks

  • Reply Geraldus Flabian June 13, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Why don't you work with birds instead?

  • Reply 3crazy Kids June 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I've been there before I love that place

  • Reply Robert Rose June 29, 2017 at 1:14 am


  • Reply Bettina Los ElbKetawas July 1, 2017 at 5:55 am


  • Reply Jakcie 1w July 8, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Amazing ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿคžโฃ

  • Reply Cerato July 28, 2017 at 3:56 am

    When I went to GA they didn't have hammerhead sharks

  • Reply Kimber Lee August 26, 2017 at 4:32 pm


  • Reply Nature Dude September 5, 2017 at 12:54 am

    so need to visit

  • Reply Daniel Rexford September 11, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    i was just there a day or two ago

  • Reply Kristinn Svanur September 23, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    You can't see much of those cool animals

  • Reply Lucy's life in the baby alive world October 2, 2017 at 1:36 am

    I thought Kelli maple was 15

  • Reply Shannon Carrier October 12, 2017 at 10:15 am

    did you make any t-shirts for your chanel blueworldtv

  • Reply XFERD October 15, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    didn't know about this dive…holy smokes!! coming here after i do DISNEY DIVE QUEST!!

  • Reply Citric Gaming83 October 15, 2017 at 9:28 pm


  • Reply logan arkels October 15, 2017 at 9:57 pm


  • Reply ChangWarrioe Changsta November 15, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Why no Great White Shark

  • Reply BoxOfTissues seussiTfOxoB November 21, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Meanwhile at home

  • Reply Smokey Bear November 28, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    That is awesome!

  • Reply Zidan Lintang_45 December 2, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Too bad that im terrified of deep water.๐Ÿ˜‘๐Ÿ˜‘๐Ÿ˜‘๐Ÿ˜‘

  • Reply Enrico Heymann December 2, 2017 at 9:35 am


  • Reply Kaj Suwanvalaikorn December 9, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Is that a shark Ray Johnathan why don't you talk about it.I'm only 8years old and I will take my scuba test when I am nine because your my
    Idol and be sure to visit my home country Thailand.

  • Reply Isaac St. Louis December 24, 2017 at 3:50 am


  • Reply Bouncemore January 1, 2018 at 5:25 am

    I recently went to the aquarium, they don't have great hammerheads anymore. ๐Ÿ™

  • Reply Charles Bingham January 1, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Manta are one of the smartest fish in ocean they go right up to divers

  • Reply Erika Cruz January 17, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Just went today

  • Reply It's Fucking Dotarded January 21, 2018 at 3:02 am

    always captivating for entertainment. sad human beings.

  • Reply Manlio Castillo February 2, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    The Pathfinders Shark Honor brought me here ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply don't watch this channel !!! February 10, 2018 at 1:01 am

    The biggest shark is actually the Megalodon not the whale shark but you might not know the whale shark the biggest shark alive such a Megalodon still real biggest

  • Reply don't watch this channel !!! February 10, 2018 at 1:01 am

    How do you know if you know about the benefit of yourself with yourself because of his need to laugh as Americans we need

  • Reply don't watch this channel !!! February 10, 2018 at 1:02 am

    Thanks again for the Titanic underwater and want me there at like and love to get together with the kids for building time to get together with you and I hope your family had and it will take to you as I was not the one I sent is for you and yes you are correct that the one I sent is for a bit but I'm sure we could get together with me I will update and the kids and want and

  • Reply The Blue BlobFish February 15, 2018 at 1:37 am

    Those fish are safer in there than in the real ocean

  • Reply Coconut&Squid February 15, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Ups worker: UPS what are we shipping today? Georgia Aquarium: Whale Shark. Ups worker: Ya we get that a lot.

  • Reply Banana chan February 20, 2018 at 8:36 am

    She can put my gear on me. Jeeeeex

  • Reply Jep's Outdoor Adventures February 26, 2018 at 8:16 pm


  • Reply Jenna Melton March 4, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    I went here a few years ago and swam with the belugas! Such an amazing experience!! I can't wait to go back!!!

  • Reply BA outdoors March 7, 2018 at 2:36 am

    Going this spring break

  • Reply Komik videolar March 11, 2018 at 7:08 pm


  • Reply suga v kookie March 13, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    People who live in ga were u at

  • Reply Hussein Kefel March 18, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Watch recent video of The Dubai Mall Aquarium

  • Reply chanctonbury63 March 25, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    `The aquarists` LOL. Kind of out there with rugbiers and soccers.

  • Reply 2_b_m_x_4_l_i_f_e April 6, 2018 at 3:57 am


  • Reply Michael Radjewski April 7, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Thanks for your viewing

  • Reply Pupper Nickel April 12, 2018 at 1:41 am

    I lived in Georgia my entire life so far and I still think it's so special that I live in the state with the biggest aquarium in the world. I think the drive to the aquarium is about 30-45 minutes for me.

  • Reply J Dizzle April 13, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    I appreciate all the enthusiasm to see these creatures, but this is really cruel. Whale sharks circumnavigate the globe in the wild. These poor guys are doomed to swim in circles their whole lives. It should be stopped.

  • Reply Sandeep Akula April 14, 2018 at 6:50 pm


  • Reply stc202029 Student April 30, 2018 at 4:33 am

    I like whale sharks

  • Reply DaLIVIN Meme May 3, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Here in Cebu, Philippines we have a lot of whale sharks more than 10 I quess.. You can swim with them but you are not allowed to touch them… here in Philippines they live in the ocean not in the aquarium. I recommend you to try it it's amazing you can also swim with the different types of fishes.
    I love this channel, keep it up…๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ˜„

  • Reply MysticFortrex May 8, 2018 at 6:20 am

    If only i was brave as you i could swim with shark

  • Reply SIR BUBZ 4178 May 13, 2018 at 5:16 pm


  • Reply Elijah Vargas May 19, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Y'all complain about this but I'd rather see them in a tank then getting sliced up while alive!!!!

    You tell which one is more depressing.

  • Reply Gordon Keane May 24, 2018 at 2:09 am

    I really do not know what to make of this.
    I understand the whalesharks are rescued, as with the rays, as explained, but, could they not have been put back into the ocean?
    Is a 35 to 40 feet deep pond, deep enough?
    These are really deep sea creatures are they not?
    So, while there are good points about this venture, that is, having saved them, yet with sea animals that huge, in such a setting it also has concerns.
    Perhaps here, they at least get a few years of life they would never otherwise have.
    It is a moral conflict, for sure.

  • Reply PRIYA SINGH May 30, 2018 at 8:50 am

    nice videos

  • Reply Storm Arashi June 25, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    Such a happy and lighthearted production, I love this kind of thing. Subbed for sure.

  • Reply QF MR November 23, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Is that whale shark

  • Reply Thatonedeepseaguy Films December 2, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Dude! I live near Atlanta! And I love that place!

  • Reply anna anna December 31, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Human beings are so cruel.

  • Reply Animal Artist68 Art World January 10, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Sometime next year me and my parent's and I will be driving me down to Atlanta Georgia!!!๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐ŸŒด
    To go to the Georgia Aquarium-World's Largest aquarium in the World!!

  • Reply Super Gab March 13, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Can you come to Australia pease

  • Reply Super Gab March 13, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    That was me๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Anony Mousse April 3, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    I think we're gonna need a bigger ladel.

  • Reply nine63gunner May 25, 2019 at 1:53 am


  • Reply Dylan Spooner June 9, 2019 at 9:59 am

    I wish I could do what you do

  • Reply Quan Tran June 9, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Can you please make a video about sawfish in the wild !

  • Reply siufong fung June 14, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Is Tallulah and Nandi male or female?^_^

  • Reply AlwaysThere x3 June 29, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    Love the man he is really a fish lover.

  • Reply GreatOneProduction July 4, 2019 at 7:32 am

    Im going be there Sunday for my birthday. I can't wait

  • Reply Jane Wilson July 19, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    the blue whale is the biggest animal in the would.

  • Reply Van Le September 8, 2019 at 1:50 am

    Whale sharks are my favourite

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