As divers, our bucket list items generally revolve around seeing elusive marine life or beautiful reefs. But did you know there are a number of other things you can see and do below the sea? Check out 10 unique dive experiences to add to your bucket list:
1. Experience underwater art
Bored of walking around traditional art galleries? Then it’s time to head below the surface and see some of the world’s most famous underwater sculpture parks: MUSA in Mexico, Nest in Indonesia and Molinere in the West Indies (just to name a few). Underwater sculpture parks are a fun way to see art and pose for that perfect underwater picture, while also offering some relief to natural reefs to allow them to regenerate.
Suitable for: Snorkellers or divers (most sculptures sit between 3-8m) depending on the park.
Located: Located in various places throughout the world. The ones mentioned in this article include:
- MUSA Underwater Museum, Cancun, Mexico,
- Nest at Bask, Gili Meno, Indonesia,
- Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park, Grenada, West Indies.
2. Explore an underwater train
Most divers have dived at least one ship or plane wreck, but did you know you can also dive through a submerged train? While there are a few train related dive sites in the world, the most famous is called the “Train Wreck” at Koh Waen in Thailand. The train was purposely sunk in 2015 to create an artificial reef.
Suitable for: Open water divers and above. Max depth is 18m.
Located: Koh Waen in Thailand near Koh Lanta.
3. Sleep Underwater
You can sleep in luxury in a number of underwater hotels in places such as the Maldives and Fiji. But if you are looking for an underwater hotel that has that extra thrill factor, check out Jules Undersea Lodge. To get to your sleeping quarters you need to scuba dive down to the bottom of the lagoon and make your way into the hotel room through a manhole at the bottom. While it is not a 5 star hotel, the lodge has everything you need: beds, a hot shower, a kitchen and movies. The lodge also has plenty of windows so you can see the surrounding sea life. And as an added bonus you can even order pizza delivery!
Suitable for: Certified divers or can be done as part of a Discover Scuba dive. Approximate depth is 6m.
Located: Jules Undersea Lodge, Key Largo Undersea Park, Florida, USA. For more information and how to book refer to: https://jul.com/dive-the-lodge/
4. Dive between multiple continents
Want to dive in crystal clear water in the only place in the world where you can touch North America and Europe at the same time? In Silfra, Iceland you can dive between the two continent’s tectonic plates, but be aware, the water is cold (approx. 2 – 4 degrees Celsius) so you will need to wear a dry suit.
Suitable for: Snorkellers or divers. Note, to dive here you usually need to be certified in dry suit diving or have 10 logged dry suit dives within the last 2 years. If you don’t fulfil either of these requirements, some dive shops offer the dry suit certification combined with diving at Silfra. Max depth 18m.
Located: Silfra in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland.
5. Have an underwater wedding
Looking for a unique location to hold your wedding? Then consider an underwater ceremony! In various beach side locations around the world such as Thailand, Hawaii and the Caribbean (to name a few), you can hold your wedding amongst the tropical fish. Guests are welcome to scuba dive to see the ceremony, but those guests who hate to get wet can view your wedding via a live stream. Tip: If you do decide to have an underwater ceremony, then check with your desired operator that the wedding will result in you being legally married.
Suitable for: Certified divers and in some locations non divers can wear a scuba helmet.
Located: Various locations around the world.
6. Attend an underwater concert
Ever dreamed of being the Little Mermaid, or Aquaman for the day? Join one of the many dive boats for the annual Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival in Florida, USA. Put on your favourite underwater themed costume, dive under the water and dance to the underwater themed music which is played through the boats’ underwater speakers. The purpose of the festival is to allow people to enjoy the reef, while also learning to protect it.
Suitable for: Snorkellers or certified divers.
Located: Looe Key Reef, Florida, USA. Usually held in July refer to website for exact date and details http://www.lowerkeyschamber.com/
7. Hunt for treasure
Let me stop you before you flash to scenes from “Into the Blue” and imagine yourself finding long lost pirate treasure. The treasure hunting we are referring to is called dive caching, which is a form of Geocaching. The premise of Geocaching is someone hides a “treasure” and posts the GPS coordinates online so others can discover it. Typically you do not keep what you find, but leave it there for the next person to discover. Dive caching works exactly the same but is underwater. It can help with navigation skills and adds just that extra bit of fun to a dive.
Suitable for: Certified divers.
Located: Several dive locations check www.Geocaching.com
8. Dine underwater
You can dine in luxury in plenty of underwater restaurants in places such as the Maldives, Dubai and Norway. But if you are looking for an underwater restaurant that is truly unique, check out Nemo 33, “Deep Dinner” in Brussels, Belgium. To get to your dining location you have to scuba dive down to the bottom of the pool before making your way inside a bubble. Here you can relax and eat the dinner which is delivered to you by a scuba diving waiter
Suitable for: Certified divers and anyone who wants to try scuba diving. For those who are new to diving, an instructor will accompany you to and from the bubble.
Located: Brussels, Belgium. Refer to website for more info and bookings: http://www.nemo-33m.com/fr/deep-dinner-resto-sous-marin-bruxelles
9. Visit an underwater post office
Want to send a postcard to your friends and family while you are on vacation? Why send a postcard on land, when you can dive down to a post office on the seafloor and send a waterproof postcard. Situated 3m below the surface in Hideaway Island Marine Sanctuary, Vanuatu, the underwater post office was created to get more people in the water to experience what Vanuatu has to offer under the surface.
Suitable for: Snorkellers, Discover Scuba and certified divers.
Located: Hideaway Island Marine Sanctuary, Vanuatu.
10. Zoom underwater
Not all of us are lucky enough to get a ride in the new scUber submarine at the Great Barrier Reef. If you still want to enjoy that zoom factor underwater, a more attainable option is to get your hands on a Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV). A DPV allows you to cover more distance when diving, and you don’t need to expend as much energy.
Suitable: Snorkellers and certified divers. To dive with a DPV you will need to undertake a specialty course so you can learn how to descend/ascend safely and how to minimise your impact to the surrounding sea life. Check PADI site for course details and locations:
Location: Various locations. See link above.
About the Author
Amanda Bolzan and her husband Dean Samuels have been certified divers since 2009. Amanda has her advanced open water and Dean is a dive master. They have travelled the world and dived many sites in Australia, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.
Amanda and Dean have a travel blog called Scatabout which details the fun and unique experiences they have had on their world travels. You can find them doing something adventurous like scuba diving, hiking or something strange like running down the side of a building.
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