If diving the USA’s myriad underwater marine sanctuaries is on your bucket list but you have a spouse or partner who isn’t into scuba diving, one potential compromise could be to check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ newest attraction: its Virtual Dive Gallery.
The wonders of 360-degree photography and virtual reality bring these underwater parks right up to the tip of your fingers. NOAA recently launched a virtual dive gallery accessible on any computer or mobile device, complete with immersive 360-degree views of five national marine sanctuaries: American Samoa, Florida Keys, Flower Garden Banks, Gray’s Reef, and Thunder Bay.
According to NOAA:
“Virtual dive experiences provide an exciting opportunity for the National Marine Sanctuary System to share tangible examples of the threats facing the ocean and sanctuary resources so that the public can learn more about these issues. In the coming year, we also plan to use virtual imagery to enhance our educational exhibits and displays at visitor centers, and in our interactions with students in schools and classrooms across the country.”
NOAA plans to add more virtual dives in the future, including “Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale,” “Monterey Bay,” “Stellwagen Bank,” “Channel Islands,” and the Olympic Coast national marine sanctuaries as well as the Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument.
So have your significant other check it out at sanctuaries.noaa.gov/vr/ and who knows, they might like it enough to try the real thing.