There is a new online reality program that I am rapidly becoming addicted to. It is not a survivor type program where people try to out others, or people trying to impress someone of the opposite sex leading to a marriage proposal. It is a diving program, called DiveLive. The program takes you to some of the best dive sites in the Grand Cayman islands. And it does it live, twice a day.
An underwater cameraman accompanies a marine biologist as they explore the dive site. The marine biologist is wearing a full face mask and has a communication link to the surface. On the support boat is another marine biologist watching the monitor showing what the camera is presenting. Together the two marine biologists will have a running commentary of what they are seeing. There is a connection from the dive boat to a shore facility that connects the video and audio feeds to the internet. You can watch them live on facebook, youtube, wildearth.tv and on periscope.
Now here is where the internet technology and their communication set up really shines. If you have a question for the marine biologist, such as what is that fish doing in the grouper’s mouth, the marine biologist can give an explanation of what is a cleaning station. You just need to send your message and #divelive. The support staff forwards the questions to the marine biologist on the surface and they pass the question on to the diver and cameraman. By the way, the cameraman is excellent as well.
On my big screen TV, the dives are very realistic and there have been times where I have found myself reaching to check my gauges. The quality of their broadcast is that good and it is that easy to be drawn into the surroundings. What I really appreciate about the program is the personalities of the presenters. You can tell that the marine biologist really loves their jobs. When they answer questions, they do so with an enthusiasm that is infectious. They also do it with a great balance to the information. They clearly get the topic across without getting too scientific and still doing it in a manner that is not dumbed down to the point of being insulting. A job well done.
The broadcast started at the beginning of June in the Cayman Islands. They are in what they are calling a proof of concept phase after doing a short Kickstarter fundraiser. From what I have seen, they have proven the concept and I am looking forward to more diving days.
Divelive is the brainchild of Graham and Emily Wallington who are the founders of WildEarth. Their purpose with WildEarth is to bring a better understanding of wildlife to those who have not experienced it. They broadcast for six hours a day, 365 days a year on the Internet. What they show is live from Greater Kruger Park (South Africa) and the Maasai Mara (Kenya). It is like being on a safari without the bugs and sun beating down on you. As it is all about nature and live, you never know what you will see. Part of each program allows selected schools to communicate directly with the safari guides. The students ask their questions and the guides give the explanations. There are slots for three schools for each broadcast.
Their press release for the past DiveLive Kickstarter program says this in part:
“WildEarth’s mission is to connect people with nature in a manner that encourages a deeper appreciation for the natural environment and will see the world’s oceans better conserved in the future. Graham Wallington, co-founder of WildEarth, says that “We have large and vibrant YouTube and Facebook communities with over 100,000 subscribers each. These communities are made up of like-minded individuals who are extremely passionate in the way that they engage with us and we have received so much positive feedback over the years about how people’s lives have been impacted by their experience of nature through the lens of virtual tourism we provide.” Wallington also asserts that “many people who are sick or depressed write to us and tell us that they feel better because of their experiences in nature”.
“WildEarth’s mission of exposing people around the world to the wonders of nature extends to the school environment too and everyday students across the globe are included amongst those logging in to ask experts questions about the wildlife they are watching LIVE. “Our school’s programme is something we’re very proud of,” says Emily Wallington, co-founder of WildEarth, “and diveLIVE, like safariLIVE before it, will also give children across the world an opportunity to connect with the natural world and have their questions answered while they experience it. This has a profound impact on the kids, who are the future custodians of the planet.”
“The Kickstarter Campaign gives all ocean-lovers an opportunity to get involved in sharing the marine world with everyone across the globe. “We hope to pool the passion that the entire diving community has for the ocean with our own, and with that of other eco-minded communities, so that diveLIVE has a real chance of inspiring appreciation for the underwater world in the far-flung corners of the planet,” says Graham Wallington, “and we really want people to join us on this mission right from the very beginning to help shape what diveLIVE looks like and get a front row seat on this world-first adventure from the moment we launch.”
I highly suggest that you take a look at some of these broadcast. It is an amazing learning experience to hear these outstanding professionals giving a description of the marine life around them and to hear the questions of other viewers. Replays are found on the YouTube divelive channel. Start tuning in when you need a dive fix but can’t get away for a dive. Work does that to us at times. If you like what you see, spread the word and let them know what you like and maybe dislike about the program. It is still in the beginning stages of the project and I am certain they are learning how to do things differently as they go along. From my view, they are doing a great job and if I can not watch live, I certainly will watch the replays.