Guy Harvey Magazine

FALL 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 79 of 83

80 | HOOKED ON ROLLER COASTERS For the past 25 years, Fred D. Garth's articles have appeared in numerous books, magazines and newspapers around the world. Read his blog at: FRED GARTH LAST CAST Every 10 years or so I scream like a little girl. That's because someone talks me into riding a roller coaster. I guess, after a full decade, I forget all my fears. It's not that I'm scared of going fast. And I'm not scared of heights. I think what bothers me the most is not knowing why I'm afraid. Am I irrational in my paranoia? Perhaps, considering more people are injured by tissue paper each year than roller coasters. This past summer, my old vocal chords somehow emitted the high-pitched screech of a baby dolphin, as I rode Mako at SeaWorld. It was all in the line of duty, which normally means I'm fishing or scuba diving or generally having a pleasant outdoor experience. Not this time. Dr. Harvey had painted the supa- cool Mako mural next to the ride and we were there to show our support for SeaWorld's commitment to donate a portion of their revenues to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. I traded my panic for a good cause. So, as we clicked vertically toward the top of the first sheer drop-off, I began to pray that I would see my wife, kids and kitty cats again. We achieved weightlessness as the shark-themed scream machine barreled downward. We went up and back down a total of nine times and experienced weightlessness each time. By the end, I was hitting notes that Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey only dreamed of. I did not have to change my underwear. That's an accomplishment I plan to put on my résumé. After the Mako adventure, they talked about going to ride Kraken, SeaWorld's first coaster, but one that now has been renovated to include a virtual reality experience. I mumbled a few choice words, searched the area for a tiki bar and flatly refused to freak myself out again, even in the name of marine conservation. I left the door open for 2027. If you thought that SeaWorld was only a Shamu splash show, then you, like me, were sorely uninformed. I didn't realize that the park is partly about scaring the bejeezus out of people but mostly about marine education through entertainment. The messaging, especially about sharks, is impressive. Once you enter the Mako realm, at every turn there are signs telling people not to eat shark fin soup or that 100,000 sharks are killed annually, mostly to make shark fin soup. The signs help to educate millions of visitors about threats to the marine environment. It made me realize the company's deep commitment and history of protecting and preserving nature. Their Turtle Trek exhibit is populated with sea turtles that were rescued from the wild—everything from net entanglements to shark bites. One of the turtles is missing a flipper that a shark had for a snack. They're also heavily involved in trying to solve the plastics in the oceans issue, and you won't find a plastic straw in the park. In fact, the only straws in the whole park are in the restaurants and they're made of recyclable paper. Sure, we all know that SeaWorld got massive backlash when the Blackfish documentary reigned If you thought that SeaWorld was only a Shamu splash show, then you, like me, were sorely uninformed.

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