For us divers, there is nothing better than pulling on our wetsuits and jumping into the ocean to explore what lies beneath. This can leave our non-diving friends and family with a serious case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). But we don’t think that anyone should have to miss out on the magic of the ocean, so we have put together a list of 7 ways to see under the sea without even having to get wet!
1. Eat at an underwater restaurant
Visiting an underwater restaurant is one of the best ways to view a spectacular array of sea life. Think floor to ceiling glass windows where you can marvel at the fish swimming by, all while enjoying a delicious meal. While this can be a magical experience, be warned, underwater restaurants are usually fine dining, so they can be fairly pricey, and unsurprisingly they serve seafood.
Underwater restaurants are rising in popularity. Some examples of amazing ones to add to your bucket list include:
- Under – in Norway, sits 5.5m below the surface in the icy waters of Lindesnes. Under restaurant serves fresh ingredients from the land and sea, and offers diners a unique way to experience the North Atlantic Ocean marine life.
- Ithaa – hails as the world’s first underwater restaurant, and is located 5m under the sea in Rangali Island, the Maldives. Ithaa serves up special tasting menus for lunch and dinner, or you can even stop by just to enjoy cocktails!
2. Take a ride in a semi-submersible or submarine
While a submarine can fully submerge under the water, a semi-submersible looks like a normal boat from the surface but has a see-through viewing platform about 1m below the ocean’s surface. Either are a great way to explore coral reefs and cover a good distance in a short amount of time.
Some examples of amazing ones to add to your bucket list include:
- Atlantis submarines – is one of the best ways to explore the ocean floor and stunning marine life in Hawaii. With submarine tours in Oahu, Kona, and Maui, these submarines can reach down to depths of 30m!
- Adventure Bay Charters – If you have always wanted to see Great White Sharks in the wild, but are not up for getting into the chilly water, Adventure Bay Charters in South Australia, offers a semi-submersible experience. You can head out on one of their shark tours and get 360-degree views of the Great White underwater from a glass viewing platform. Not only will you not get wet, but you can also enjoy a glass of wine at the same time!
3. Stay in an underwater hotel
If you are looking for somewhere luxurious and unique to sleep, then try staying in an underwater hotel. With floor to ceiling glass windows, you will not want to leave your room! Needless to say, these hotels are expensive but are well worth the money if you’d love to gaze at marine life gliding by your windows morning and night.
Some examples of amazing ones to add to your bucket list include:
- The Manta Resort – Located at Pemba Island in Zanzibar, the Manta Resort has an exclusive room called the underwater room. Consisting of three levels in the middle of the sea, waking up here is a peaceful and soothing experience.
- The Reef Suites – is the first underwater hotel located in the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Located on the Reefworld pontoon at Hardy Reef, the hotel rooms opened at the end of 2019, and is a unique and exclusive way to experience the Great Barrier Reef and its amazing marine life!
4. Visit an underwater spa
If you are feeling stressed and want to experience the ultimate in relaxation, then head to an underwater spa. Not only will you feel pampered from an amazing massage, facial or body treatment, but being able to gaze out of the window at the deep blue and see the rhythmic movements of the fish swimming by, will surely be the best way to distress and disconnect from it all!
Currently, there is only one underwater spa in the world, that you can check out:
- Huvafenfusi Spa – located in the Maldives, Huvafenfusi Spa (which is part of the Huvafen Fushi Resort) offers luxury and pampering spa treatments.
5. Take a virtual tour of the ocean
For times like now when you aren’t able to take a trip, a virtual tour of the ocean is a way you can still experience the magic of the ocean, all from the comfort of your own home!
Some virtual sites worth checking out include:
- David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef – is a great way to virtually visit the Great Barrier Reef. Through a series of videos, and interactive activities you will learn some fun facts about the reef, the marine life as well as the current and future state of the reef, and what you can do to help.
- Natural Marine Sanctuaries – allows you to take virtual dives from some of the USA’s best dive spots in 360 degrees. And for an extra-immersive experience, you can even view the site with a virtual reality headset!
6. Play with an underwater drone
Underwater drones (also known as Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV)) allow you to view and capture the beauty of the ocean. There are drones that can be operated from above the surface, and drones that can be operated while underwater. The benefit of either drone is that you can explore a large distance of the ocean floor, quickly and at great depth, so you are able to see more than what you may normally see on a dive, making this a great experience for both divers and non-divers.
Personal underwater drones are becoming increasingly more popular, so if you are thinking of purchasing one, check out our article on Cool Scuba Gear To Enhance Your Dive so you know what considerations you should make before buying.
7. Check out an underwater observatory
An underwater observatory is like a giant aquarium, but the great thing is, it is located in the ocean so what you are seeing are the marine life in their natural environment! Underwater observatories are usually accessible by land and located approx. 10m under the water with floor to ceiling glass for expansive viewing of the marine life.
Some examples of amazing underwater observatories to add to your bucket list include:
- Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory – is located at the end of Busselton Jetty, in Western Australia, Australia and is where you can see over 300 species of marine life. Once you are done you can enjoy a seafood meal, and catch the train back along the 1.2km jetty!
- The Underwater Observatory Marine Park Eliat – is located in Eliat Isreal, at approximately 12m deep. Visitors are able to see the beautiful natural coral reef as well as observe over 800 species of marine life through the giant glass windows.
Once your friends and family have experienced some of these amazing ocean experiences, they will be sure to share your love of the ocean and want to get their diving certification. To help them, share our article on 5 Tips for new divers taking the open water course with them!
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About the Author
Amanda and her husband Dean 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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