The Two Oceans Aquarium officially launched its new boat, Aquarium 1, today at Cape Town’s North Quay, and Aquarium staff, partners and the media gathered to witness the unveiling.
Dr Patrick Garratt, director of the Two Oceans Aquarium, began the launch by paying tribute to the original Aquarium 1, in service for 16 years: “Back in 1994, I thought we would do well to just get 10 years out of her.”
Garratt thanked partner companies involved in the launch of the new boat, namely Reef Wetsuits, Bright Weights and CAPESTORM.
Recalling the launch of the original boat, Garratt mentioned that the wife of a prominent minister at the time accidentally broke a pole in her effort to smash the traditional bottle of champagne against the side of boat. Today, however, there were no glitches as the Aquarium’s Assistant Technical Manager, Vincent Calder, did the honours. The bottle was wrapped in netting and all of the broken glass will be recycled.
Calder explained that the new GEMINI boat is slightly longer and wider than the original, with additional cover for bad weather. It can hold up to ten people, easily reaches speeds of more than 50km/h, can travel 40 nautical miles out to sea, and features boxes to store fish and kelp.
“We will use it mainly for fishing and diving, and it will be useful for activities like releasing turtles,” he said.
A delicious cake replica of Aquarium 1 was devoured by those who attended the launch.