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Take a virtual reality dive Saturday

divers over a coral reef

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — This weekend, give the kids a chance to explore the ocean and the national marine sanctuaries through virtual reality. This is definitely a 'cool' way to close out summer break and at the same time, give the little ones a chance to learn more about underwater life and marine science.

Really. What can be better than going on a dive and not getting wet?

This Saturday, August 4th, take part in the "Get Into Your Sanctuary" (GIYS) 2018 where participants can immerse themselves in the water while staying dry.

The event is hosted by the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS), in partnership with Neil's ACE Home Center, Forsgren's, Carl’s Jr, Blue Sky Pacific Group Inc., and Cost U Less.

Everyone is invited to 'dive' in at:

  • Neil's ACE Home Center  - 8a.m. - 10a.m.
  • Laufou Shopping Center  (Carl’s Jr. event room) - 11a.m. - 1p.m.
  • Cost U Less - 2p.m. - 4p.m.

While the GIYS is an annual program for NMSAS, this is the first time virtual diving is being offered. The goal, according to NMSAS's Iosefa Siatu'u, is to raise awareness about the importance of corals and the ocean to our livelihood.

"We want to give people the chance to see our local sanctuary and protected areas, as well as other national marine sanctuaries around the world," Siatu'u explained, adding that participants will get the opportunity to see underwater areas at Fagatele Bay and also Ta'u, Manu'a, including the world famous Big Momma coral, which is part of the Valley of Giants, featuring quite possibly the largest coral colony in the world.

According to Siatu'u, there will be 15 goggles available, with 15 on stand by. Depending on the number of people waiting in line, each dive can range between 30 minutes to an hour. One person will be in charge of the main tablet, which controls all the goggles.

In addition to the virtual reality dive, there is a Get Into Your Sanctuary photo contest and the deadline is August 15th. Submissions should be sent to <> and photos should be a minimum of 1200 pixels wide. Entries should fall under one of the following three categories:

  • Sanctuary views
  • Sanctuary life
  • Sanctuary portraits

The winning photo will be published in the "Earth is Blue" magazine.

For more information on the programs being offered by the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, contact Iosefa Siatu'u at 633-6500.