So what is the best thing that I did in Mauritius? I would say going down inside the Indian Ocean. It is a ‘must-do’ in the island nation.
The non-swimmer in me wouldn’t have dared to do anything like this even in my wildest dreams but the hidden desire to explore the mysterious ocean depths at least once in my lifetime and this one-of-its-kind opportunity in Mauritius made me sail through this fantastic submarine adventure. Trust me, initially I was scared to go but now when I have done it I can totally vouch for it that it is a unique underwater experience and I am super happy that I did it without a problem.
35 Meters Deep Inside The Indian Ocean
My inhibitions with water-related activities have been there forever and therefore I would call this the most adventurous act that I have done underwater or on the surface. We all know that Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean but not many of us know that here, non-divers and non-swimmers like me can actually go inside Indian Ocean, stay there for 40 minutes and enjoy the glimpses of the underwater marine life. Well, well I am not taking you to the extreme deep corners but I am sure 35 meters deep is good enough to get you excited.
Blue Safari Submarine Ride at Trou aux Biches, Mauritius
There is something to do with submarines this year. I have had two very interesting encounters with these closed vessels (warships), designed to operate completely submerged in the sea for long periods. First I had the chance to visit the famous INS Kursura (S20) in Vizag (India) in April, the one that has the honor of being one of the very few submarine museums globally and second is this where I went down in an actual 10+1 seat BS 1100 submarine myself and experienced what it feels like to be in a closed container underwater. All I would say is that you must do this whenever you are in Mauritius.
This is how it went for me..
We landed up at a small house on Coastal road, Trou aux Biches. It read Blue Safari Submarine at the gate. This was a small kiosk where there was a small reception, waiting area, toilet and a souvenir shop. We already had our bookings and thus we just had to fill a form declaring that we were fit and healthy to take up this activity. Well, at one point I really couldn’t get over my fears of closed space. Moreover, I have never been confident about water activities. But my group members were all pepped up and looking at their excitement I was inspired to go ahead. I took a deep breath and signed the papers which mentioned the basic formalities.
As soon as we were ten people, we were good to start as a gang. A young girl took us through the process and activities that followed. Soon, we were guided to the jetty where we were supposed to board a speedboat named- Vaporetto 2. The location of the jetty was like a travel postcard setting. Everything around was flawless and pristine. As we looked around, the gorgeous landscape reminded us once again that Mauritius is a paradise on this earth. The drive to the submarine base was a fifteen minutes ride through the wavy waters of Indian Ocean.
First we disembarked from the speedboat to get on the submarine base and later the team guided us to make our way inside the submarine. One by one, each one of us had to climb down through a hole that led us inside the vessel. Getting into the submarine itself was very exciting and thrilling. It was windy and huge waves were rising in the Ocean. The submarine was shaking and that was another moment when I wanted to step back from going ahead. (Also, claustrophobia was running through my mind) But I held on to my faith in God.
Once I was inside, another fear took on me. I felt 40 minutes was too much time to be in that closed space which could only accommodate 10 +1 and I was taken over by pukish feeling. I tried to look around and ignore my weaknesses. In sometime, everyone was seated and we were good to start. The pilot joined us soon and he was one friendly and warm person who kept us engaged with quirky things about the submarine life. The dive was adventurous and I loved it as the submarine steered through the surface waves to go inside. Once we were there at the sea bed, life was beautiful. The amazing underwater world took over my senses and I forget all of my insecurities.
I spotted one sea turtle, numerous marine fish, animals, coral reefs and of course the Star Hope ship wreck. It was a wonderful deep blue world. The silence prevailed and we were lost in a unique world. I was seated on the first seat on the left, just behind the pilot and had close access to a big television screen right in front of me. Whenever I missed a moving life on my side, I could always see it on the screen in front. Before doing this I thought that I could never see a sea-bed because neither do I know how to swim nor I am a diver but this experience turned out to be magical. I must thank the minds behind Blue Safari for making it possible for people like me.
Behind Blue Safari, there is a couple of Frenchmen sharing the same passion for the sea, Patrick THEROND and Luc BILLARD, both ex-competitors of the fabulous Whitbread Round the World Yatch Race (1976-1977). In 1995 they started this exciting submarine adventure and Subscooter is designed by Blue Safari who have taken out a patent for this invention.
First it felt that forty minutes under the sea passed in a jiffy but when the submarine was making its way back on the surface, I was eagerly awaiting the moment to breathe fresh air. For me, it was a first time underwater thing and I had really done well. (Thank God, I did not vomit due to sea-sickness or motion sickness) I must say the whole experience was amazing and I thanked the pilot for taking us through a lovely, smooth and an informative ride.
Soon we were back on the ship where we were served some drinks and refreshments. The fresh air was the first thing that I needed to feel good. In next ten minutes, we were back on the speedboat which brought us back to the jetty. On the way back, we were given certificates for completing this diving activity. Of course it came as a lovely surprise. I will always count this fun activity as a daring act for me. I was proud of myself. Even God gifted me with a beautiful rainbow in the sky praising me for doing this. It was a great day in Mauritius!
One wise Indian says: “You cannot come to India and not be stunned by the beauty of our Taj Mahal”
One wise Mauritian says: “You cannot come to Mauritius and miss the grace of our Seabed.”
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P.S. This experience was part of a FAM trip organized by MTPA India.