How many times have you seen those movies with submarines and wondered if you could be inside a submarine? Me too, all the time. And so, I was very excited when we were invited by Blue Safari, Mauritius to experience their submarine and subscooter dive. Blue Safari submarine is also unique in allowing kids as young as two years to come aboard and hence is amongst the perfect family experiences in Mauritius.
Blue Safari was founded by two experienced sailors and world travelers with the passion of sea, in 1998 and it began with a single submarine. Over the years, they have added a second submarine and many subscooters to their fleet, delivering wonderful diving experiences to more than 3,00,000 customers.
Blue Safari Submarine Dive
Blue Safari Submarine’s boarding point is located in Trou aux Biches, North Mauritius. On reaching the reception, we were greeted by our hostess who explained to us about our dive, safety regulations and what to expect next in the next two hours. Once our group was ready, we walked across the jetty and took our shuttle boat to reach the diving platform in the middle of the ocean. The speedboat ride from the beach towards the ship is a scenic one with panoramic views of Mont Choisy beach which is one of the top beaches in Mauritius that you must visit.
On boarding the ship, we were introduced to the captain and pilot of our submarine. The captain was a friendly guy who explained some technical details about the submarine and what we should be expecting while diving. Our submarine was to dive 35m under the sea level, giving us a distinct experience of the underwater marine life as seen as during scuba diving.
The captain next introduced us to our pilot and after a short photo session on top of the submarine, we entered the vessel. As I climbed down into the submarine through a ladder from the top, it was difficult not to admire this state-of-art machine. Taking our seats along the window, it felt as if we were in a small airplane but under water.
Our pilot came in next and gave us a brief about the working of the ballast system and the marine life we would be seeing. Once we started the dive, I was expecting some ear pressure but was pleasantly surprised that none of us felt us any discomfort.
As we started going deeper, we saw a lot of corals and fishes. The colorful fishes gave an impression of a very busy aquarium and all the kids in the submarine were super excited. We were lucky to see some turtles, crabs and a lionfish.
Star Hope Shipwreck
The highlight of the Blue safari submarine dive for me was the shipwreck site. The ship called as Star Hope was caught in a storm and sunk in 1988. The beauty of the site is in the fascinating way the ocean is making the sunken ship a part of its world.
You can see the seaweeds and corals growing out of the ship claiming it gradually as their own. The ship may not even look as a distinct structure in a couple of decades.
Once our dive was over, our submarine started rising up and docked back with the mothership. On the deck, we were offered soft drinks and given our diving completion certificates. And with cherished memories, we boarded our speedboat to ride back to the shore.
The best thing about the submarine dive is that you get an experience similar to scuba diving without getting wet. It is a great way to introduce the depths of the ocean to kids who otherwise cannot snorkel or dive to see this for themselves.
Blue Safari Subscooter Dive
A very unique experience, the subscooter dive is a perfect way for two people to share a diving experience. The driver of the subscooter can steer it while accelerating through ten feet deep underwater with the second person sitting behind. Both breathe naturally through the shared dome making it possible to talk while witnessing the wonders of the marine world.
I also had the good fortune to meet Luc, Co-Founder of Blue Safari and the inventor of the subscooter. It was fascinating to talk to him about his passion for sailing and love for traveling. Luc mentioned that Blue Safari is one of the only twelve leisure submarine dives in the world and the only one available in the Indian Ocean. Wow! How’s that for a truly rare experience!
I was guided by my hostess to the diving platform in the middle of the ocean in a speedboat. My subscooter dive was scheduled in the evening and the clouds at the horizon made a beautiful view. Once on board, we changed in our wetsuits provided by Blue Safari and were given a quick training session. We were told about how the subscooter dome will be kept supplied with oxygen, safety instructions and hand-signals incase of danger. For assurance, there is a professional diver assigned to each subscooter to guide and help incase of any issues underwater.
Once the dome was descended over my head the subscooter was in the water, I tried the controls. The pedals and steering wheel needs more force under water and it takes a while to get used to them. I took about 10 minutes figuring out the controls before I could properly follow my diver and steer the subscooter towards the reef.
While I was fiddling with the wheel, suddenly I looked up and saw a school of pintano fishes and I forgot everything else. Being so close to the fishes and the ability to chase them is a different feeling.
We were underwater for about 40 minutes during which we saw many colorful fishes, some beautiful corals and a stingray. The experience of driving the subscooter underwater was one of it’s kind and time passed by very quickly. As we were being brought out of water, I saw a baby turtle swimming close by and bid the sea goodbye with that last highlight.
By the time we were done with the dive and refreshments on board, it was evening. Our boat ride back was magical with silhouettes of the ships and the boats against the setting sun.
- Here is the official website for Blue Safari for bookings and enquiries. Prebooking is recommended and you can find the latest rates for the submarine dive and subscooter dive here.
- The Blue Safari submarine dive is quite safe for kids and kids are provided life jackets.
- Do carry some munchies or lollipops incase of earpain during pressure change in the submarine.
- We recommend wearing comfortable clothes and flat shoes for the dive as you would need to board the submarine with a wet exterior platform.
- If you suffer from claustrophobia, you may want to reconsider the submarine dive.
- Please call Blue Safari before your dive to check on weather forecast and diving conditions. This is a very helpful FAQ page on their website.
- They can also customise trips for an exclusive underwater lunch or organise under water wedding ceremonies.
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This article has been written in collaboration with Blue Safari, Mauritius.