MANTEO, N.C. – A group of veterans got the opportunity on March 9 to dive with sharks at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.
Veterans that came got to dive for about 45 minutes, and posed for pictures, while exploring the underwater habitat at the N.C. Aquarium.
During the dive they got an up close look at a variety of sharks that are kept there.
“This is my first time diving in an aquarium, and I’ve wanted to do that for a long time,” said Shandi Black after the dive. “It was really cool to get up close with the sharks.”
The group is part of the program Project SOAR, which organizes recreational outings for veterans.
The program that is based out of Wilmington, North Carolina, coordinates adaptive recreational activities like scuba diving, kayaking and surfing for veterans living with service-connected injuries or illnesses, according to the N.C. Aquarium.
“Diving has been one of our most popular sports,” she said. “There is a peace that comes with diving that you can’t find anywhere else,” said Project SOAR coordinator Kayla Jakubczak.
N.C. Aquarium workers, like NCARI Dive Safety Officer Shawn Harper, expressed how happy they were to be apart of this opportunity, and how great of an experience it was.
“It’s a pleasure to have groups like this come and dive with us,” said Harper, who dove alongside the veterans and showed them some of the curiosities found in the aquarium. “It’s great to be able to share this experience with them.”