Atlanta Shorts: Whale Shark Surfing

Build a 10 million gallon aquarium and they will come. Four whale sharks, four beluga whales, eleven bottle nose dolphins, four manta rays and over 100,000 fish and other sea creatures made their home at the Georgia Aquarium  in downtown Atlanta. Built in 2005, then the largest in the world, the aquarium is a wonder to experience. Although there are many highlights, the show stealers are the whale sharks, known for being the largest sharks and the largest fish in the world, with some growing as large as forty feet in length. Nothing can prepare you (although I am trying) for the impact of seeing these gentle giants glide silently by for the first time. Like a pied piper of the sea they are rarely alone, a trail of colorful schooling fish following along, a continuous parade along the viewing window. The whale sharks are imported from Asia, and if you feel unsettled at the thought of these great beasts living in captivity, you’ll rest a bit easier knowing that they were taken from Taiwan’s annual fishing kill quota, and would have been eaten had they not been purchased by the Aquarium.

 

In Atlanta?  I recommend finding the time to dive into this remarkable underwater experience.

 

Bringing a camera?  Read this informative article “How to Take Great Photos at the Aquarium” by Nikon

68 Comments

    1. Hi Sally, so nice to hear from you. If I could get on a consistent weekly schedule like you have on Lens and Pens, I’d be a better blogger for it! Life does get in the way. Take care, I look forward to catching up!
      Elisa

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    1. Thank you, Michael. I’ve been to the aquarium twice and feel as though I’ve only scratched the surface. I eventually had to put the camera down because of the lighting challenges, but also because I felt I was missing too much! Take care and happy weekend!
      Elisa

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  1. Hi, Elisa. Haven’t seen your blogs recently, and miss your wonderful photography and stories that go with them. Hope all is well, and if you’ve changed platforms, please let me know. If its just “blogger fatigue,” that I understand, too. Best to you and yours. Barney

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    1. Hi Barney! So nice to hear from you. No I haven’t changed platforms and don’t really suffer from “blogger fatigue” – just time management issues. I have been out of the WP world for too long, but what a nice welcome I received when I posted again. That’s why we do it, right? Those heartfelt connections. I hope you and your wife are doing well, and enjoying the fabulous fall weather…although a bit rainy here, in Atlanta!
      Take care,
      Elisa

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      1. We’ll gladly trade you the rain for our parched weather and forest fires.

        At any rate, so glad to hear you’re doing well. Best to you and yours.

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  2. Lovely to have you back, Elisa!
    This is a stunning photo, thank you so much for the link to the tutorial, I have saved it. 🙂
    I don’t think I’ll make it to Atlanta, but if I do, the Aquarium is definitely worth a visit.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Dina

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  3. Looks fantastic! We visited the aquarium when it just opened years ago, and have already been planning on going back to “dive” with the whale sharks. I especially love how the little fish tag along. Wonderful pictures!

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    1. Pam Pam Pam! How nice it is to hear from you! Yes the aquarium is WONDERFUL…and I have a tip. Try to go on the first that Fulton County schools go in session in August, you’ll almost have the place to yourself! Take care…I’m heading over to your blog now,
      Elisa

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    1. Well thank you, glad you liked because that was about the only shot that was half-presentable. Way too dark in there, and so much going on it was difficult to stay behind the camera. Do try and go, but if you do go as early as possible….this time of year is school field trip city! Safe travels, David!

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    1. Thank you! Live feedings? Unruly school children. 🙂
      JK, although I remember reading that if you have your divers certification you can swim around in the tank with them…how cool would that be?!

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      1. Our aquarium is built around a huge tank that was just renovated. There is a walkway that snakes around it. On the first floor is penguin area that really smells!
        To tell the truth, yours, is bigger and better. I’m not sure about the shows, but we have a great seal one, that the kids always love.
        All the best!

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  4. Great to see you back here again Elisa! This is a beautiful photograph and what an experience! I remember walking beneath the shark aquarium at Monterey Bay and being fascinated at being so close to their magnificent underwater world. If I’m ever in Atlanta I’ll definitely look out for this experience 🙂

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  5. Thoughtful of Nikon! You obviously read those instructions well, Elisa. 🙂
    It’s quite amazing to be ‘beneath the sea’ with these creatures, isn’t it? So glad they escaped being eaten.

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  6. Hi Elisa…I’ve been gone too long. Love your photography…definitely see you improving. Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful summer! I’m sad to see summer go, but happy for Autumn’s arrival. ~Sherry

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  7. Whale sharks are sights to behold, even just in an aquarium. I got the chance to see one in the second largest tank at Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa, Japan. I’ve been to the one Monterey Bay Aquarium as well. I was in awe seeing those giants. I hope to see Atlanta’s. I really wish to see all those in the list of large aquariums.
    INCREDIBLE, OUTSTANDING shot!!!

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  8. Hi Elisa. Thanks for the like on my ‘Habitat’ post. Was interested to note your whale shark post from Atlanta. I have lived in Dubai in recent years. We had interesting story of a whale shark in a huge aquarium in the Atlantis (sounds like Atlanta!) Hotel. Anyway, there was too much public outcry about the enforced captivity of such a creature and ‘we’ released him in 2012. Read http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/environment/sammy-the-whale-shark-freed-in-dubai-1.599693

    Take care!
    MB

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    1. Hi there. I just read the article you forwarded from the Gulf News. It’s hard to believe that a hotel would take on such a huge project, the housing of a whale shark. Its nice to know Sammy is living a free and hopefully productive life. Thanks for sending!

      Elisa

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  9. Oh Wow! Elisa what an amazing insight into the aquarium and the clarity and brightness of this image is superb, many thanks for sharing the link. Certainly a place to marvel at part of mother nature that we would not normally see. Best regards, James

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  10. Thank you! It’s a debate that my daughter and I had during our entire visit. The pros and cons of life in captivity….I found myself bouncing from one side to the other. Certainly a longer life…

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