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Thread: Submarine tourism

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Submarine tourism

    There is an interesting way to see the oceans that has emerged: submarine tourism.

    I don't mean visiting old submarines. I have visited two US WWII ones, one in Philadelphia and one in San Francisco. They were cramped, and they remind me of the joke that to a sardine, a submarine is a can of people.

    I mean submarines for tourist expeditions. They seem like a good way of seeing what's in the oceans, since one can't see much from the surface. Dolphins and whales are a sight to see from the surface, because they have to come up to the surface to breathe. But one can't see coral reefs from the surface, except if they extend dangerously close to the surface.

    Note on terminology: a submersible is a small submarine, especially one that is supported by another vessel instead of being autonomous.

    Tourist submarines typically have big portholes, so their passengers can have a good view. Landforms, sea life, shipwrecks, ...

    I've found tourist-submarine operations in several places: Catalina Island (CA,US), Hawaii, the Caribbean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Canary Islands, the Red Sea, Mauritius, Maldives, Bali, Australia, Guam, ...

    I found that some of these tours' "submarines" are semi-submarines, meaning that they only partially submerge.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Most submarine tourism stays well within the photic or euphotic zone, the well-illuminated part of the ocean, above 200 meters depth. Below that is the dysphotic or twilight zone, which gets some sunlight, but much, and below 1000 meters depth is the aphotic or midnight zone.

    Some submarine tourism goes far down into the dysphotic zone, but some tour operators are planning to get tourist subs that can go all the way down to the ocean floor, with an average depth of 3,700 meters. They can then offer tours of certain famous shipwrecks and also of hydrothermal vents.

    If one wants bragging rights from dive depth, one can turn to oceanic trenches, and the champion of these is the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, at 11,000 meters.


    That offers a challenge: to climb to the top of Mt. Everest and to visit the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

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    I've been on the one at Catalina Island. It is more accurately called a 'glass bottom boat' ride. It (and most commercial tourist rides) are not submersible at all, but custom built boats with a deep hull that has a lot of portals for viewing underwater.

    I prefer to SCUBA.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Some more semisubs:
    The Reef Dancer - Maui Semi Submarine Reef Tours | Lahaina, Maui - "Maui Glass Bottom Boat"
    SUBSEE EXPLORER - at Cancun, Mexico

    Cabo Submarine - Cabo expeditions
    Cabo San Lucas is on the S end of Baja California.

    Semi Submarine Excursion - Sharm El Sheikh
    Sharm el Sheikh is on the S end of the Sinai Peninsula, where the Gulf of Aqaba meets the Red Sea.

    MARSA ALAM SEMI SUBMARINE EXCURSION - MarsaAlam.com
    Marsa Alam is on the W coast of the Red Sea, some 175 mi / 280 km S of Hurghada.


    Some more full subs:
    Maui Activities & Tours for Kids & Family | Atlantis Submarines | Atlantis Submarine Adventures Hawaii | Majestic by Atlantis Cruises
    Book Waikiki Family Activities | Atlantis Submarines | Atlantis Submarine Adventures Hawaii | Majestic by Atlantis Cruises
    Big Island Kona Activities for Kids & Family | Atlantis Submarines | Atlantis Submarine Adventures Hawaii | Majestic by Atlantis Cruises
    Cozumel Submarine Expedition | Atlantis Submarines Cozumel Mexico
    Exciting Underwater Submarine Tours - Atlantis Submarines Barbados
    Atlantis Submarines - Guam
    These submarines go 100 ft / 30 m down. This is well within the illuminated part of the ocean, though everything looks blue.

    Waikiki is south of Honolulu on Oahu, and Kona is on the west shore of the Big Island, as it's called locally. Cozumel is on a small island a little off of NE Yucatan Peninsula a little SE of Cancun. Guam is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Barbados is one of the small islands in the eastern Caribbean.

    Sindbad Submarine trip in Hurghada | Hurghada Day Tours
    Depth: 72 ft / 22 m
    Hurghada is a little south of the Gulf of Suez on the NW end of the Red Sea.

    Also this oddity:
    Breathing Observation Bubble in Cancun - My Experience Tours A sort of underwater scooter with a spacesuit-like helmet.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Semi-Submarine Seychelles | Mahe Island Excursions | SemiSub Seychelles

    The Seychelles are some small islands about 750 mi / 1200 km from East Africa and Madagascar.

    More full submarines:
    Submarine Underwater Trip - Mauritius Attractions
    Depth: 115 ft / 35 m
    Whale Submarine - at the Maldives
    Depth: 150 ft / 45 m
    Great Barrier Reef Mini-Submarine - from Cairns, QLD in NE Australia
    Max Depth: 150 ft / 45 m
    Odyssey Submarine Bali At Amuk Bay - Underwater Sightseeing Tours
    Depth: 115 ft / 35 m
    Boracay underwater submarine tours. - in the Philippines. Not sure if it is still in operation.
    Seogwipo Submarine and Dive 45 Meters Under the Sea with Jeju Seogwipo Submarine - at Jeju Island
    Depth: 150 ft / 45 m

    Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean some 600 mi / 1000 km east of Madagascar, off of SE Africa. The Maldives are some small islands some 500 mi / 800 km SW of S India and Sri Lanka. Bali is in Indonesia. Jeju Island is 100 mi / 160 km S of South Korea


    A bubble-helmet scooter like the one in Cancun:
    Experience the Great Barrier Reef Under Water on Scubadoo! - Great Adventures Cruises | Great Adventures

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Another full sub:
    Submarine excursions in Lanzarote & Tenerife - in the Canary Islands
    Max depth: 200 ft / 60 m

    The Canary Islands are a few hundred mi/km off of NW Africa.

    Triton launches spectacular 24-seat DeepView tourist submarine - with big curved full-length windows. I'm concerned about the safety of those windows.

    These 6 Deep-Sea Sub Tours Offer Unique Views of the Underwater World | HuffPost Life
    mentions
    Home - Blue Safari - Dive activities, subscooter... - in Mauritius. Can't tell whether it is the same sub or a different one that I'd mentioned earlier. Also offers subscooters.


    These tours can go down too deep for sunlight, where the ocean is perpetually dark.

    Roatan Institute of Deepsea Exploration | R.I.D.E: The public's portal to the deep sea since 1998
    Operates from Half Moon Bay, Roatan, Honduras, on an island in the Caribbean Sea about 40 mi / 65 km N of the mainland.
    Can go down as far as 2000 ft / 600 m

    How To Visit the Deep Sea - Scientific American Blog Network
    mentions
    The Ultimate Submarine Diving Experience | Substation CuraƧao - in the Caribbean, some 50 mi / 80 km north of Venezuela
    Can go down as far as 1000 ft / 300 m


    There are also some tours where one can charter a submarine.
    Like
    Submarine Experiences | Discover the deep sea with a submarine
    and
    Submarine Expeditions: Explore the Mysteries of the Deep in a Personal Submarine
    and
    The Mile Low Club: Oliver's Travels Announces Its Most Exclusive Property Yet! - "Lovers Deep", a luxury submarine that one can charter.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Tourists Will Soon Be Able to Visit the Titanic Wreck for $125,000
    noted by
    OceanGate Expedition Will Inspect Deteriorating Wreck of the Titanic

    The company: OceanGate Submarine Expeditions & Adventures

    Its submarines:
    The Cyclops Submarine | OceanGate Submarine Expeditions - 500 m / 1,650 ft
    The Titan Submarine | OceanGate Submarine Expeditions - 4,000 m / 13,200 ft

    Titanic Deep Sea Diving Expedition | OceanGate Submarine Expeditions
    Wreck of the Titanic - 3,800 m / 12,500 ft / 2.37 mi - close to the limit of Titan, the submarine now being sent to explore that wreck.


    With planned expeditions to Croatia and the Coral Sea, both places with lots of shipwrecks.

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    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    There is an interesting way to see the oceans that has emerged: submarine tourism.

    I don't mean visiting old submarines.
    Good lord, no. If we ever saw the ocean anywhere but topside, it was called "a casualty."
    I have visited two US WWII ones, one in Philadelphia and one in San Francisco. They were cramped, and they remind me of the joke that to a sardine, a submarine is a can of people.
    Well, i served on an Ohio class, the Taj Mahal of submarines. They're comfortable once you're used to them.
    Well, comfortable may be a little strong... Tolerable.

    But it's great fun coming back to a Trident after touring something like the Nautilus in Groton. The first nuclear powered sub. The movies never quite get just how cramped those spaces really were, though Das Boot does come close.
    Stephen Fry filmed his '50 States' tour of the US, including a tour of a modern attack sub in Groton.

    Note on terminology: a submersible is a small submarine, especially one that is supported by another vessel instead of being autonomous.
    Interestingly, the first Fleet submarines were classified that way, requiring direct support of a surface vessel for operations.
    This is the distinction between the classification of 'ship' and 'boat.' Ships are capable of independent operations, boats are not.
    To this day, submarines, which can make their own water, air, power, proudly bear the classification of 'boat' though they meet every requirement for a 'ship.'

    But that's the military. Commercially, i suspect that 'submarine' is more like 'low-fat' or 'lite.' Something you can apply any damned way you want and no one can legally take issue, even if it's a theme-park ride that's more of a roller coaster that doesn't submerge, but does stick all its windows under the water for that apparent 'diving' effect.

    For any commercial 'sub' i don't really care if it goes all the way under the water or not. I would want to know what steps will be taken if water comes into the people tank.

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