Hawaii by Submarine, and the Kids Loved It

July 29, 2007 by

Best of the Viator Blog, Family & Kids, North America, Places to Go, Travel Advice & Inspiration

Oahu submarine tour
Yes dad, it’s a real submarine

OK – so I’m heading to Waikiki and Oahu with my family (two boys – 8 and 6) and my lovely wife. What to do? Of course we planned on spending time on the beach, heading to the north shore (no waves in June… doh!) and enjoying the multitude of shops and restaurants. But we needed some adventure!

So browsing the Viator products for Honolulu I stumbled upon the Atlantis Submarine. Interesting… I wrongly assumed that submarines were limited to Paul Allen and the world’s major navies. I decide to give it a go.

The big day!

We show up outside our hotel to find an Atlantis Submarine trolley-bus picking up our fellow passengers. They even had our names on the list – very organised. A short trip to the Hilton Village took us to the departure point. We checked in with the office (on the beach) and headed down to the wharf to get ferried out to the submarine on a nice big boat.

I was still kind of thinking that the ‘subs’ may be some kind of glass-bottomed boat or similar, cynic that I am, and was surprised at the announcement over the PA: “Please look off the port side of the vessel and watch for a big bubbling spot on the ocean surface”. Apparently the subs release some air to identify their positions to the mother ship, to ensure they won’t surface in the path of a pleasure, commercial or even navy vessel. Whoa – up it came – a real submarine!!

The dive…

Oahu Submarine Tour 4, Hawaii
Alongside the mother ship

We pulled alongside and a ramp was dropped so we could cross over onto the sub and down through the watertight hatches. Down below it was quite spacious and bright (no Hunt for Red October here).

Everyone got a padded seat across from a nice big porthole. We all got settled, sealed the hatches and quickly started submerging – cool!

Oahu Submarine Tour 3, HawaiiAs we descended, we could start seeing fish and even sea turtles. We toured around the bottom ranging from 90 to 130 feet or so, and got to see several shipwrecks, a couple airplanes and a University of Hawaii underwater pyramid structure (dunno what that was about, but it looked cool).

We cruised around for quite some time and the guide was both entertaining and knowledgeable about the sub, surroundings, wildlife, etc. Once we viewed the seven or eight sites, we announced our impending surfacing with a release of bubbles, then a quick ascent. Interestingly as we ascended, we got color vision back again, red stopped being black and the blue hue of the deep receded.

Back on top

Oahu Submarine Tour 2, Hawaii
A very happy submariner

Once we surfaced, the mothership came alongside once again, and we cracked open the hatches, marched up the ramp and enjoyed the scenic boat ride past Waikiki back to the wharf.

We were whisked back to our hotels and free to enjoy the rest of the day.

It was a lot of fun, didn’t take too much time and the kids loved it. I can now claim to be a submariner. A great adventure!

Jeff Lewis

Editor’s Note: You can browse more of Jeff’s holiday snaps on the Viator Flickr Site: Atlantis Submarine Tour in Oahu, hanging out with the kids in Waikiki, and the Waikiki Fun Cruise.

Planning a trip? Browse all of Viator’s Oahu tours, things to do in Hawaii, Maui attractions and tours of the Big Island of Hawaii. Aloha, mate!

3 Responses to “Hawaii by Submarine, and the Kids Loved It”

  1. Pierre Says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Sounds like a great adventure. When i first read your blog post title, i imagined a submarine ride like the one in Disney… Plastic fish and all ! I too, didn`t realise that taking a real submarine ride could be possible for ordinary folks.

    Loved your post… Thanks…

  2. Bill Bonser Says:

    Hello Jeff
    Could you give me advice about Hawaii vacation?
    We are a family of 3 and are planning to spend 6 nights in Hawaii in May, and I am completely confused. We would like to stay in a place to surfing, may be some golf and also be able to go out at night. We would be coming from UK. And have a time share with marriott club and there are quite a few options to choose from… Any leads would be great. 🙂