There is a very special place in the ocean –a beautiful, far-away location that audiences can discover and explore together when Journey to the South Pacific 3D hits the giant screen at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater beginning Friday, March 7.
“It’s the epicenter of marine life in the world,” said Tennessee Aquarium senior aquarist Rob Mottice. “The water is very pristine and the reefs are incredible. It’s really unlike anywhere else on Earth.”
Thanks to just the right blend of underwater features and ocean currents, the bright blue waters of the Coral Triangle contain 40 percent of the world’s fish species and 75 percent of all known coral species. Six of the world’s seven sea turtle species, including the massive Leatherback Sea Turtle, also live alongside Bryde’s Whales, Whale Sharks and Manta Rays in this rich environment.
Mr. Mottice has been on several diving trips to five distinct locations within the famed Coral Triangle, exploring all of the “must-dive” locations such as the Great Barrier Reef, Palau Islands and the Coral Sea. So he’s especially interested in Journey to the South Pacific 3D, which features the ONE place at the top of his SCUBA diving bucket list: Papua.
Four camera teams traveled more than 65 hours with 25,000 pounds of IMAX 3D gear to reach Papua. They captured dazzling underwater scenes and met a 13-year-old islander named Jawi who became central to this story. “The film is a celebration of a unique island culture that has developed a special relationship with its ocean environment,” said Academy Award-winning actress Cate Blanchett, the film’s narrator. “The photography is spectacular. It’s as if we are swimming alongside Manta Rays and all the other creatures of the reefs.”
Jawi and other island children embark on their own journey of discovery aboard the Kalabia, a small ship that serves as a floating classroom. They explore their own backyard to discover the natural treasures that provide livelihoods and are considered by many ocean conservation groups as vital to the health of the entire planet. “It’s a photographic gem of a place and with the story of Jawi and the Kalabia, we had an equally alluring gem of a story about protecting the ocean in action,” said Shaun MacGillivray, the film’s producer.
Mr. Mottice was wowed by Journey to the South Pacific 3D, saying the virtual plunge into swirling masses of sardines, sea turtles and whale sharks was the next best thing to actually diving in the Coral Triangle. “The footage is incredible and really gives you the sensation of being surrounded by fish,” said Mr. Mottice. “You also get a great feel for the people of Papua. They are very conscience of their natural treasures and are working hard to preserve them. But, I think it all hinges on education. There is a need to teach young people about maintaining and protecting the world’s biodiversity hotspots – whether it’s a reef in the Coral Triangle or a mountain stream in Tennessee.”
Journey to the South Pacific 3D launches at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX on Friday, March 7. Go to www.tnaqua.org/IMAX for showtimes and to purchase tickets online.
- Photo2 by IMAX Corp and MacGillivray Freeman Films