“Good Morning America” co-host Ginger Zee made history on Monday with an underwater Facebook Live shot in virtual reality, surrounded by sharks in the Bahamas. Also ABC News chief meteorologist, Zee told TheWrap that she wasn’t scared of the wild predators.
“I learned that as long as we take all the precautions and respect the sharks they will respect us,” Zee said Monday. “That said, when I was down there I definitely had a few moments where they were coming straight at me to check me out, their eyes looking me up and down and my heart was beating a bit more rapidly than usual.”
Zee said the scuba diving was actually more concerning than the sharks, because of sinus problems that occurred on a practice run. While live, on-air, she encountered a large population of pregnant sharks, since it is mating season, and the “GMA” co-host was able to keep her cool.
“We had done a rehearsal dive on Saturday and my sinuses were a mess and it was painful. I took it easy Sunday and took a few steam room visits plus Sudafed and today was so much better,” she said. “So as soon as I started equalizing pressure and my ear didn’t hurt I was able to go into my typical calm TV mode.”
The dive, which was live streamed on GMA’s Facebook page throughout the two-hour broadcast and shot with an underwater 360-degree virtual reality camera, gave viewers an unprecedented look at the sharks, coral reef and other marine life of the Bahamas. At one point, over 500,000 people were watching the livestream.
“We were thrilled to give GMA viewers this live virtual reality underwater experience. It’s an amazing opportunity to make our audience feel immersed in the broadcast with a 360 degree view,” senior executive producer Michael Corn told TheWrap.
“GMA” has sent Zee on a variety of dangerous adventures that most people would be petrified of, from Parahawking in Nepal to driving on a NSACAR track, but producers always make sure she takes proper safety precautions.
“Sharks are sharks so they can easily mistake your hand for a fish. They don’t like the taste of humans so it would be a quick bite then they’d realize but that could do a lot of damage of course. That’s why I kept my hands tucked next to my body and did not use gestures when describing anything,” Zee said.
It’s a good thing Zee listened to the experts, because she came face to face with one particular shark who is called “The Joker” by locals because its jaw was severely injured by a fisherman at some point.
“She is a dominant female, huge shark, but she’s a survivor. You could see her presence was felt and respected by the other sharks and the experts with us,” Zee said.
Swim with sharks LIVE in 360º virtual reality on @Facebook!
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 22, 2017
Check out the video above.