The Museum was flooded last weekend with visitors who came to dive into our 2nd annual Miami Underwater Festival. Friday night kicked off the event with showings of award-winning French and English underwater films from the 39th Festival Mondial de L’image Sous-Marine, including The Surprise Salmon, narrated by Jeremy Irons. And the film festival continued on Saturday with an evening of marine conservation films sponsored by COSEE Florida and Beneath the Waves Film Festival. Throughout the weekend, lots of special guests came to shed light on fascinating underwater worlds, and the amazing creatures that call water home:
Dr. Ted Caplow of Fish Navy Films showed his film Fish Meat: Choose Your Farm Wisely, and talked about how to support sustainable fish farming (for example, eat the “bottom feeder” species)… Dr. Mike Heithaus of Florida International University talked about all the incredible research they are doing in Shark Bay, one of the world’s most unique ecosystems… Julian Sprung of Two Little Fishies discussed new trends and species in ornamental marine aquaculture (everyone loved seeing all the new blends in hybrid fish coloration)… Dr. Lisa Krimsky of NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office talked about lionfish, which are an invasive species in south Florida (this means they are not native to the region), and the problems they are causing for native species. This was followed by a yummy lionfish taco tasting prepared by Chef Alan McLennan… Expert divers Nick Morrell and Jason Bacon of the Miami-Dade Reef Guard Association shared tips on the best places to dive and the fantastic things you can see there… and Chris Olstad from the Marine Resources Development Foundation connected with the Museum via videoconference from Key Largo, and let visitors here at the Museum remotely operate an underwater vehicle in the ocean!
For those visitors who wanted to really get their hands wet, there were workshops to learn how to set up and maintain an aquarium (and a raffle to win your own new aquarium), activities to learn how things float, interactive story time with Oscar from the Miami-Dade Public Library, displays of fluorescent coral, viewings of WPBT2’s Changing Seas, and an exhibition of underwater photography by the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. If you really wanted to get up close, you could even dissect a squid (if you could stomach it). And of course, when you are showing award-winning French films, the weekend would not be complete without a delicious French breakfast by PAUL, sponsored by the General Consulate of France in Miami and partners.
We are just starting to dry off after our weekend underwater, but we are already looking forward to diving in again next year!