Merman Chris makes friends under the sea at Miami Seaquarium

In “The Little Mermaid,” Sebastian sang about how much better life was “Under the Sea.” He might be onto something, especially the part where he says, “Up on the shore, they work all day. Out in the sun, they slave away.”

The Miami Seaquarium knows this, and they want you to be one with their sea life. I’m going on a sea trek in this week’s Keeping Up With Chris.

Chris Van Vliet: “You can already see our friends there. They are getting ready to say hello to us. Hey, guys.”

Miami Seaquarium wants you to get up close and personal with their animals. This is the Sea Trek Reef Encounter. No experience? No problem!

Chris Van Vliet: “So I won’t have a regulator in my mouth or anything. I’ll just have the helmet on, and I’ll be able to breathe naturally?”

Shannon Phillips, Sea Trek coordinator: “Yup. The helmet’s going to rest on your shoulders. There’s a lens in the front, so you will be able to see everything. You’ll be able to breathe normally just like you’re out here. Your head’s going to stay dry the entire time.”

Chris Van Vliet: “So my hair will look OK when we’re in there.”

Shannon Phillips: “Oh, your hair’s going to look great.”

Sea Trek lasts for 25 minutes and costs $100, which includes your park admission.

Chris Van Vliet: “Is there anything in there that I shouldn’t touch?”

Shannon Phillips: “No. You’re allowed to touch everything. The only rule is you have to be gentle with the animals, and they will be gentle with you in return.”

Before we go in, we have to gear up.

Shannon Phillips: “Very important with this. Zipper goes in the back.”

Chris Van Vliet: “OK. Like a dress.”

Chris Van Vliet: “That’s going to be tight!”

*Chris changes clothes*

Chris Van Vliet: “They say dress for the job you want, and my friends, I am dressed like a sea trekker.”

Chris Van Vliet: “What do you think our water temperature is today?”

Shannon Phillips: “Today, it’s about 80 degrees, so it’s going to be a little chilly when we get in, but it’s going to feel great once we’re down there.”

Chris Van Vliet: “I like that 80 is considered chilly.”

*Chris gets in the water*

Shannon Phillips: “Alright, so all the way down to my shoulders.”

Shannon Phillips: “I’m with you the whole time. If you feel anything touch the back of your leg like that, it’s not a shark. It’s just me. Please don’t kick me.”

Shannon Phillips: “Are you ready?”

Chris Van Vliet: “Let’s do it!”

Shannon Phillips: “Are you excited?”

Chris Van Vliet: “Yeah!”

Shannon Phillips: “Alright! Give me a big OK.”

Chris Van Vliet: “A big OK. Alright!”

If you can’t tell by the look on my face, I am loving every second of this

I hung out with reef fish, got mobbed by stingrays, hugged a moray eel — don’t try that in the wild, by the way — and even petted and fed a Goliath grouper. Who’s a good boy?!

Chris Van Vliet: “Haha. How cool is that? Wow!”

Chris Van Vliet: “You know who I feel like after this? I feel like Aquaman because I was friends with all of the fishes. Every single one of them!”

People always ask me, “Chris, what are you going to do next for Keeping Up With Chris?” Well, how about you tell me? The crazier, the better! Email me: KeepingUpWithChris@wsvn.com.

FOR MORE INFO: 

Miami Seaquarium Sea Trek Encounter
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149
305-361-5705
https://www.miamiseaquarium.com/things-to-do/experiences/sea-trek-reef-encounter

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