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Sarah Lozanova headshot

Ecotourism in Maine: Dive-In Theater Wows Audiences With Sea Creatures

By Sarah Lozanova

Since childhood, Ed Monat was fascinated by the ocean and all things underwater. He now channels this passion to put on a delightful two-hour undersea tour of Frenchman Bay in Midcoast Maine. The Dive-In Theater boat cruise with Diver Ed has an intriguing cast of characters, including Captain Evil and Mini Ed (a small plastic figure of Diver Ed), with guest appearances from sea creatures.

There isn't a dull moment for the 60 passengers during a Dive-In Theater show. After finding a spot to anchor, Diver Ed encourages the children aboard to push him off his own boat. He then communicates with the passengers using audio and video equipment. Diver Ed and his trusty assistant, Mini Ed, explore the creatures on the seafloor in a truly theatrical fashion. The Ed team fills a bag with their finds, including lobster, sand dollars, sea stars, and crabs. Once on the surface, Diver Ed organizes the creatures into tanks and talks about their features and anatomy,

The children aboard remain engaged through the dynamic tour, as Diver Ed squirts them with sea cucumbers and makes lots of butt jokes. The crew puts rubber bands on lobsters' claws and creates an interactive touch tank for the passengers to explore. At the end of the show, the sea creatures are safely returned home.

The underwater world is a second home for Diver Ed, who has been diving since he was 16 and spent over 35,000 hours underwater. His father was a lobster fisherman, and the two of them took their first diving lessons together. Diver Ed went on to study marine ecology at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, was the harbormaster for the town of Bar Harbor for years, and served as a marine ecologist for the Smithsonian.

"I'm fascinated by all things underwater and I like showing parts of the ocean to people who don't usually see it," Diver Ed explained."It's an exciting world!"

This passion motivated Diver Ed to feature a Sea Creature of the Week as harbormaster and to bring touch tanks into local schools. The Dive-In Theater allows Diver Ed to give an even richer experience to his audience that isn't possible on land.

Because Diver Ed spends so much time on the seafloor, he is also aware of changes over time. He has witnessed a decline in anemones, blood stars, and sponges, while lobster seems more prevalent.

Research shows the Gulf of Maine which encompasses Frenchman  is warming at an alarming rate. Some fisherman report that this is causing some species to migrate north in search of colder waters.

For readers that want to learn more about the undersea world, Diver's Ed cruises come highly recommended. It is truly a pleasure to learn from someone who is so passionate about what he does.

Image credits: 1) Captain Evil; 2) Sarah Lozanova

Sarah Lozanova headshot

Sarah Lozanova is an environmental journalist and copywriter and has worked as a consultant to help large corporations become more sustainable. She is the author of Humane Home: Easy Steps for Sustainable & Green Living, and her renewable energy experience includes residential and commercial solar energy installations. She teaches green business classes to graduate students at Unity College and holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School.

Read more stories by Sarah Lozanova