"Just look at the world around you / Right here on the ocean floor / Such wonderful things surround you..."
So sang the Little Mermaid's lobster friend, Sebastian: but how do we get down to that ocean floor?
Scuba is the best way, but requires instruction time, andis for ages twelve and up. (Scuba can be expensive, too, though some all-inclusive resorts offer free scuba.)
Snuba -- snorkeling with an air hose-- is another option, butinvolves some tricky breathing to control buoyancy.
Much, much, easier is sea-trekking.
So What's Sea-trekking?
It's so simple: just pull on an astronaut-type helmet, step down a ladder, and go down, down, to the briny deep for a guided walk undersea-- without even getting your hair wet.
Air is pumped gently through a hose into your helmet, increasing air pressure so no water can get in. The helmet would feel heavy out of water (70 pounds!), but in the oceanthe weight isn't noticeable.
Families can sea trek in Jamaica, Hawaii, Cancun, and St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Click on the photo above to see the sea-trekking Observatory at Coral World on St. Thomas.
Sample Sea Trek, and How it Worked:
My son and I tried sea-trekking at Coral World, on St. Thomas in the USVI. Minimum age was 8 years old, and minimum weight was 80 pounds. A short instruction period preceded the outing, and there were a maximum of seven people in the group. We walked along an underwater path equipped with handrails, accompanied by a marine expert who pointed out interesting undersea life. The depth was approximately 15 feet, and the sea-trek lasted half an hour. Spectators could watch through glass windows at the Undersea Observatory (see picture above). During our sea trek, the instructor took time to help my son-- who often has ear troubles from water pressure-- overcome some initial discomfort so that he could carry on with the trek. Two thumbs up for Coral World!
Everyone in our group would agree with Sebastian:
"We've got no troubles / Life is the bubbles / Under the sea..."