In 1764, the Battery Quarry, located in Southern Fife was opened. Since then, the stone mined from the quarry has been used in the construction of the Forth-Clyde Canal, the docks in Leith, and in the foundations of the Forth Bridge. It was also used all over Europe from Holland to Russia. The quarry was closed in 1924 when flooding by sea water made it no longer economical. In 1990, the quarry the quarry was derelict, flooded and full of debris. Deep Sea World’s founder’s saw this as a great opportunity to bring a diver’s eye view of the marine world to Scotland.
Deep Sea World is far more than an exhibition of marine animals but is also dedicated to the vital illustration and importance of our seas and the conservation of marine life. It's not just about sharks!
Although I'd seen many seals in different parts of Scotland, on the Isle of Skye and even close to Kirkcaldy beach, I confess learning more about these highly intelligent mammals on a visit to Deep Sea World than I ever knew before. During my visit, I saw an occupus move between two tanks through a small tube that seemed tiny and yet the transition was accomplished without any apparent problem. It was fascinating to observe and definitely something close to near impossible at first glance!
The Deep Sea World site is now larger than the old quarry and has enabled the operators to include several major displays that some will find fascinating and verging on the incredible. There are many themes to explore in which Pirhana fish and sharks of movie legend and folklore can be seen and placed in a more realistic context. Among recent arrivals was Godzilla, an alligator snapping turtle with the strongest recorded bite on the planet. Snapping turtles are the largest freshwater turtles in the World and are reputed to live for up to one hundred and fifty years.
Other attractions included the bizarre-looking horned frog. Originally from Africa, they have a huge mouth allegedly capable of eating prey almost their own size and are among the only frogs to have teeth.
The feared black piranha has the potential to sever a human hand in only 2 bites! The goliath tiger fish, a giant freshwater species which can grow up to 1.3 metres in length and has razor-sharp teeth was also be found on display at Deep Sea World. This incredible creature is also known as the 'Devil Fish' and is one of the world's fastest freshwater fish!
In addition, several displays show other fish and amphibian creatures you'd normally prefer to avoid. Deep Sea World is an eye-opener for many people and where the proportion of land versus sea is what keeps our planet alive! It's where the oceans absorb colossal amounts of energy in day time and releases that heat during the night in a regular cycle and permitting life on Earth. Even in deepest parts of the planetary oceans, there is life and where sunlight fails to penetrate. Such knowledge challenges our basic beliefs of what is necessary to maintain life.
In true journalistic style, I've kept the best bit until last. At 112 metres long and holding back a million gallons of water, the underwater tunnel at Deep Sea World is one of the longest underwater tunnels in the World! I'm told that when standing in the underwater tunnel, the curvature of the 6.5cm thick acrylic makes everything appear about 30% smaller than it actually is, so when you see large sharks nearby, just imagine how big they actually are!
The arched shape of the acrylic gives the tunnel the strength to hold back the enormous weight of millions of litres of water. In fact, I'm told the acrylic is the same material used by NASA in space shuttles and each panel of acrylic can withstand the weight of two African elephants! Naturally, the underwater tunnel is the principal highlight of the visit but there is so much more to explore within the facility.
Overall, Deep Sea World offers an affordable family friendly voyage of discovery, fascination and wonder that kids of all ages will undoubtedly love. Access to the site is good and car parking is typically sufficient. As one might expect, the facility is supported by a gift shop and cafe.
Highly recommended by FifeServe!
All photographs bar the last one was provided by courtesay and permission of Deep Sea World via their web site at www.deepseaworld.com
Last photograph is by the author. Text was written by Alandon.