Letters from the Rain Forest:

28 February 1994, 9:50 PM

Day One: Our first live broadcast of five shows...three snakes, a rainstorm and a trial by fire

Well, the day finally arrived. The exhaustion of the past few days was replaced by the excitement of anticipation of finally realizing the dream that so many people have shared over these many long, hard months. However, Mother Nature had one last surprise to throw our way. Just 40 minutes before we were scheduled to go on the air live to twenty-something PIN sites, the skys opened and made us all realize why this place is called a Rain Forest. In addition to the many minor problems that this caused, our entire electrical system which runs off several generators scattered throughout the forest had to be rebuilt from scratch. One of the cameramen took quite a jolt of electricity but thankfully, aside from some numbness and newly curled hair, he is fine. I took a hit myself yesterday which knocked me across the computer platform when I was setting up the system for a day in the jungle. With an effort that was just incredible to watch, the engineers here worked miracles and we made it to broadcast on time. By the third show, we were all beginning to get a bit more relaxed and even began to have some fun. For me, a novice to the world of live television, the behind the scenes activities were almost as interesting as those taking place in front of the camera. At one point during a rehearsal, Jeff Corwin, our resident lover of snakes, bugs and generally every creepy, crawly thing that exists, was next to me during his segment holding a five foot boa constrictor. The word came over the headphones that he needed to get to his other position and get ready for a roll in. Not having time to put the snake back in its carry bag, I offered to hold the snake while he did his thing. So there I sat, in the jungle, in front of a state of the art computer workstation, entertaining a snake while its master was speaking into a tv camera. I hope all of you who had the chance to see todays broadcasts will excuse whatever miscues or mistakes you may have been subjected to. We promise to get better as the days go on and hope that by the end of the two weeks of this expedition, you will have had an opportunity to share in the joy, wonder and mystery that we are experiencing each day we are here.

Some highlights from our first day

Why they call this place a Rain Forest

Singing in the Rain....well almost The patter of rain on the roof Waiting till it ends

The opening shot: Its really spectacular on screen

Tom Zane filming the shot amongst the piranhas:under the water Tom Zane filming the shot amongst the piranhas:from above Tom Zane filming the shot amongst the piranhas:up to Bob Jason in its element Coming out of the water The reason for it all

Clips from the first shows

Bob giving the introduction the JASON V The Cayes of Belize The Blue Creek control room...the only AC within miles Tom and Brady outside cave Me and Richard doing our thing Jerry making a point at 30 feet Bob and Meg and the nastiest thorn tree in the world Tom dropping in on the action Jeff and his friendly, venomous snake The Earth, Rainforests, Coral Reefs and Karst Limestone Globes One of the student argonauts being really demonstrative One of the cameramen at South Water Caye On the way the the coral bleaching experiment What a Day!

Some of the animals who are letting us share their world

Our Mascot Bats in the Blue Creek Cave My friend the Boa Night of the Iguana A little lizard The really cute, but nasty parrot snake The lovable little piranha fish...wonderful bathing partners Brain Coral More reef coral A little salamander

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Gene Carl Feldman (gene@seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov) (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (todd@jason.org)