As humans we’re not really equipped to spend much time underwater, but people are finding ever-increasing amounts of things to do beneath the surface. You might never get to be a dolphin or mermaid, or even Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo, but that doesn’t stop you doing some of the more spectacular, thrilling, or most insane things now available to take part in while submerged. Here, then, are ten things – from romantic to electrifying to utterly absurd – you can do while underwater.
Burning up the dancefloor, scoffing disco biscuits, throwing shapes with your mates while the latest banger clanks from the sound system – all to be done on dry land, yes? Well actually, no – Subsix, the world’s first underwater nightclub opened in the Maldives, and is situated six metres below the surface so the local marine life can watch while you cut some rug. Also, there’s this TV ad that kind of makes me wish the club it shows it really existed. Something for the Go Freediving Summer Party, perhaps?
Increasingly popular, with lots of resorts offering various packages for your underwater nuptials, this is still a relatively unique way to say I Do and therefore remains pretty funky. And if you thought your wedding photos would look jaw-dropping with the glittering Indian Ocean as a backdrop, imagine them with you beneath the surface of that ocean and amongst the coral reefs…
Go to a Concert
Want to see Paul McCarpney and Ringo Starfish play live? Then head to the Florida Keys, where its annual Underwater Music Festival has been running for the best part of three decades. Located at Looe Key Reef, you can wave your hands in the ‘air’ to music while submerged, stage ‘dive’ while the show plays around you, or just chill out on one of the party boats on the surface.
Yes, you can grab a bite to eat while submerged, and usually in some of the world’s most exotic locations – think the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant on Rangali Island in the Maldives, or ‘the oyster shell’ Al Mahara in Dubai – but Norway is now getting in on the act with ‘Under’, a new sunken eatery on the country’s southern coast, due to open in 2019. Or if you fancy something a little more intimate, The Pearl restaurant is a small pod that lies at the bottom of the NEMO33 dive centre in Brussels, where two of you can scuba down five metres and dine on lobster salad and champagne in peace and quiet. It beats grabbing a burger before you go under the waters of a freezing Scottish Loch…
Ride a Bike
Aqua Cycling has been a bit of a thing in Europe for a few years but its popularity is growing, especially in America. It’s a simple concept: strap on your scuba kit, climb on a specially-designed bike (denser than normal, to keep it on the bottom of the pool or ocean) and pedal. Keeping going isn’t so simple, however – this is a fun pastime but also a proper workout, with even seasoned dry land cyclists feeling the burn after an underwater race…
After a long day’s diving a lot of people like to get a good night’s sleep – but what if you never had to leave the water to get some shuteye? If you’re ever in the States, the only underwater hotel in the country is in the Florida Keys: Jules’ Undersea Lodge, named after – you’ve guessed it – Jules Verne, author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Farther afield there’s the stunning Underwater Room on the Manta Resort, on the island of Pemba just off the east African coastline.
Water births are nothing new, and many couples opt for birthing pools at home or in a birth centre or hospital. But the sheer scale of choice now available to prospective parents is mind-blowing, so even if you want dolphins to help out as midwives – yes, really – it can be arranged. And culturally, some countries are firm believers in their women giving birth while underwater – Russia, for example, sees lots of babies delivered in summer ‘birth camps’ in the warm lagoons of the Black Sea.
Go to a Museum
Nearly three years in the making and containing 12 installations and over 300 life-size human figures, Museo Atlántico sits off Playa Blanca in Lanzarote, 14 metres below the surface, and is artist Jason deCaires Taylor’s latest stunning underwater sculpture museum. Or if you fancy examining some masterworks in Mexico, head for the MUSA (Underwater Museum of Art) in Cancun, where numerous lifelike sculptures sit frozen in time, with the reef growing on and around them.
Jump on a Pogo Stick
Who hasn’t wanted to jump on a pogo stick while 6 metres underwater? Luckily for us, there’s the world’s first underwater pogo stick, the Sub Jumpa. Whether you’re in a pool or deep below the surface of the ocean, with this neat gizmo you can bounce, spin, fall over and generally laugh at yourself with a tank strapped to your back. World record jumping distances have been set on the thing, would you believe…
It comes to us all eventually, so why not go out differently and do it underwater? The biggest artificial reef in the world can be found in Key Biscayne, off the coast of Florida: the Neptune Memorial Reef is man-made and designed as a recreation of the ancient city of Atlantis, and is referred to as a ‘cremation memorial’ location where people can have their remains become part of the site itself or scattered underwater. Initially half an acre, the site is growing in size to a planned 16 acres and can accommodate an estimated 125,000 remains.
And there you have it – ten things you can do underwater. The list is by no means exhaustive, so if you fancy trying Mermaid Camp, swimming with pigs, strutting down a catwalk as you model, or even pumpkin carving while submerged, the underwater world is, as they say, your oyster…
Find out more about free diving at www.gofreediving.co.uk
Jeff chats to… Breathwork Practitioner Hannah Goodman (Watch Video)
Swimming and snorkelling with Manatees
We love manatees. And November is traditionally Manatee Awareness Month – a time to celebrate this iconic marine mammal and create awareness of the challenges they face. In this post, our friends at Effortless Outdoors share the manatee love and also some info on many of the best destinations to swim and snorkel with them around the world…
Manatees are really gentle, delightful sea creatures and getting a chance to see them up close should be on the bucket list of anyone who enjoys diving and snorkelling. They’re big beasts (typically weighing around half a ton) and they tend to move really slowly, making them ideal for underwater viewing.
They spend around 6-7 hours a day grazing, eating up to 15% of their body weight every single day. They use their front flippers for feeding; first using them to crawl along the ground, then for digging out plants and finally for scooping the vegetation into their mouths. It’s a pretty unique and involved way of feeding and very charming to watch.
These awesome creatures can live up to sixty years. They are highly intelligent, capable of understanding discrimination tasks and associated items with one another. They have good long-term memory and have often been compared to dolphins concerning their capacity to learn tasks and develop mentally.
Populations of manatees are fairly low. Although they have no natural predators, they are threatened by human activities (they are often killed by ship accidents, as well as red tide and the accidental ingestion of fishing materials). The West Africa and Amazonian manatees are very rare. And scientists estimate there are about 13,000 West Indian manatees with their status modulating between ‘endangered’ and ‘threatened’.
West Indian manatees range up and down the east coast of the Americas (as far south as Brazil and as far north as Virginia) with many of the best viewing spots being well-served for those wanting a manatee experience.
Check out this post about the best places to swim and snorkel with manatees.
Want to read more about manatees? Check out Nick and Caroline’s magical manatee encounters in Crystal River, Florida in the latest Autumn 2019 issue of Dive Travel Adventures HERE!
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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.More Less
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