I am a very lucky Santa because I get to interact with the children from a shark tank at the Newport Aquarium along with my elf (also my safety).
Scuba Santa is fully dressed sitting on his magical sleigh complete with sea horses. Meanwhile, 22 large sharks, stingrays and other fish pass by as I talk with the kids about Christmas.
Am I scared? Not really. The sharks are well fed, and they’re not necessarily looking for a meal. The only animal that gives me some problems is the 200 pound sea turtle. His name is Denver, and he likes for me to pet him. If he thinks he’s not getting enough attention, he’ll try to take my mask off.
Most of the year, I’m a volunteer diver, but during this season they pay us a little.
Wonder what it is worth to strap on 80 pounds, don a Santa suit and jump in a shark tank? About $20 an hour. I work at the aquarium on weekends, but my regular full-time job is as a marketing manager at a nearby network engineering company.
The neatest thing is when I get to see the children’s eyes, which are as big as saucers. The smiles on their faces are priceless.
NEXT: This Mrs. Claus keeps 7 Santas in line