Who has never dreamed of exploring the seabed and discovering the treasures of the ocean? For a change, we decided to try the experience in the submarine of the Blue Safari Submarine company, in the north of Mauritius. This marine sightseeing excursion on board a submarine is an unusual activity to do on the island of Paul and Virginie. It is not necessary to be a seasoned diver or to know how to swim to participate in this activity. This aquatic parenthesis allows to observe marine life through the portholes, and to see Mauritius in a different way. Let’s discover this marine activity together in a safe and dry environment….
Discovering the seabed of Mauritius Island with Blue Safari Submarine
One Saturday morning, we decided to go to the North of Mauritius, to do a family excursion withe the company Blue Safari Submarine. We leave Tamarin to head north, so we have a one hour drive, passing through Phoenix, then the new Verdun highway. On arrival, we are greeted by a hostess, who takes our name and photo. Laurent and I have a little chat with Dawood Jawahir, one of the Blue Safari Submarine directors, who explains their concept to us.
« We have 2 submarines, one with 5 seats with a panoramic view, and another with 10 seats with a view through the windows. Blue Safari Submarine offer this activity every day and can do up to 10 sessions per day. We also have water scooters to ride only as a couple, in order to share the same sensations. A child from 8 years old can do this if an adult pilots for him. It is also ideal for people who cannot swim, as the body is in the water and the head in a glass bubble. » !
It’s time to go… Let’s GOOOOOOOO
We go to the jetty to join a boat that takes us to a platform offshore where the submarines can start.
Once on the platform, we meet Damien who will be our captain to discover the seabed aboard our mini submarine.
“We have to wait for the submarine to come to the surface, in order to take place for the next descent. “He explains.
The submarine’s entrance is narrow and cylindrical. The sound of the machines is impressive. We’re all over-excited.
Damien, our captain, explains the safety measures to be taken in case of any problem.It is in the same way as in airplanes. We are very reassured when we go down deep, because the submarine is pressurized. The captain explains the ballast system to us through the joysticks he uses to fill the submarine’s tanks to sink or to empty them to get back to the surface.
The feeling of sinking into the depths of the ocean is fascinating. We lose the colors, only the blue dominates. In other words, this change is due to the lack of light.
Photos are more difficult to take. The children have fun looking at themselves, and realize that the red color has almost disappeared. Our lips are purple-blue, making us look sick!
It’s amazing to discover the ocean in another form by staying dry. Raphael and Victor are amazed by the scenery all around us. They keep asking us to look right, left, this way, no… that way. There’s so much to see, it’s a real discovery.
Damien, the captain leads the submarine through the corals with great ease. On that day, there is not much current, which makes navigation easier, and allows Damien to go where he wants.
He moves without touching anything, paying close attention to the corals and the world around us. We are guests in this aquatic world in the natural habitat of thousands of fish, plankton, corals,… We must preserve this marine fauna and flora.
The two submarines (ours with 5 places, and the one with 10 places) cross each other twice. So the children can understand what a submarine really looks like.
Further on, a moraine appears. It is quite impressive. Damien explains that, however, through the glass of our submarine, it looks three times smaller than in reality. We still think it’s big. We are delighted to see her through a window! 😁
10000 thousand leagues under the seas
On board our BS 600 5-seater submarine specially designed to give each participant an incredible view of the underwater life in the Indian Ocean. We left for 45 minutes in total immersion in the waters of Mauritius. Behind the coral reef, our submersible goes down to a depth of 35 metres.
The captain of the submarine comments on the route and knows all the species of fauna or flora. We are heading to the coral reefs where the wreck of a Japanese fishing boat was sunk in 1998. The boat that lies on the bottom of the sea is called the Star Hope. We observe the multicoloured fish entering and exiting the wreck. They have taken over the place and their incessant dance is really beautiful to see!
Further on, we also observe with great pleasure the turtles that seem to fly around us. They can remain underwater for 10 to 15 minutes without surfacing. The children are impressed!
Wrecks are deliberately sunk
Damien, our captain knows his subject perfectly well and tells us a lot of things throughout our underwater expedition. He explains that:
« The first project to sink wrecks in Mauritius dates back to the 1980s with the help of Blue Safari Submarine. This process creates a place where fish come and corals grow. 26 wrecks were deliberately sunk mainly on sandbanks behind the coral reef. The sea is cooler and helps the coral to form. But it takes between 40 and 50 years before a wreck is completely inhabited by fish and corals. As in the case of the Star Hope, the Japanese fishing boat sunk since 1998 which is still considered a young wreck! Unfortunately, it is not possible to go inside with the submarine. The captain points out that the 1998 hurricane overturned it, proving the power of the sea currents! »
Captain’s explanation on the invasion of a starfish
Our captain explains that for some time now, a novice starfish has been proliferating in Mauritian waters and that this new phenomenon is becoming a cause for concern for corals. It is called Acanthaster and can measure up to 1 meter in diameter and has spines whose venom is toxic to humans. De plus, elle se nourrit de corail et détruit entre 30 cm2 à 1 M2 par jour !
It feeds on coral and destroys between 30 cm2 and 1 M2 per day! Its only predator is a large shell, the giant Triton. But it is becoming increasingly rare because of its beautiful shell which is sought after. This starfish lays eggs that it keeps under its belly, so it is very difficult to reduce the number of individuals. It grows very fast.
In Australia, a scientist discovered that it would die after an injection of vinegar, but the operation seems complicated to set up. It is the region of Flic en Flac on the west coast of Mauritius that the phenomenon seems to have affected corals the most.
Back to the surface
It’s time to resurface, Damien, start emptying the ballast tanks to lighten the submarine and allow us to slowly come to the surface. Once on the platform, we finally get outdoors where the sun welcomes us! To prove our descent to a depth of 35 meters, Blue safari gives us a diploma!
If you try this fabulous experience, don’t forget your camera!
This experience allowed the children to better understand the aquatic world. It is a fun, educational and unusual experience! We loved it!
Don’t forget to follow our adventures on our BLOG…