|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!!
|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!
As 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
|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!