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Indonesia » Bali » Tourist Guide » Bali Adventures » Bali Odyssey Submarine
Bali Odyssey Submarine
by: Emma Kwee

Fancy a splash without getting soaked? Here's a chance to experience a fish eye's view of the world while keeping your socks dry. Since 2004 Odyssey submarine offers 45 minute dives in a specially built battery powered submarine. The ship, built in Canada, is one of only two in the whole world. While Odyssey 1 resides in Hawaii, Odyssey 2 found its way to the Labuan Amuk bay close to Padangbay in Bali. Initiator of this idea and owner of the Odyssey company is an experienced PADI dive instructor who wanted to share the underwater world with people who don't have any diving skills. He comments: 'It's too bad, many people want to see the fish but don't have any PADI license or are afraid to go diving'.

No need to be afraid of the Odyssey. The crew is well trained in Canada where Odyssey was born, and also had to endure one year in the Indonesian army before they were qualified to operate it. Before boarding the 35 guests are served a welcoming drink while being shown an instruction video of the do's and don'ts on board. No smoking is allowed, nor bringing food and drinks, and a toilet is not available, so go before or spend the whole 45 minute trip with your legs crossed.

Ready for take down
Before departure everyone is given a life vest and transported to the docking station by boat. The docking station functions as a life-size battery charger for the Odyssey, and every 10 dives it's being plugged in a recharged just like a hand phone. After climbing backwards down the narrow stairway you'll find yourself inside the belly of the submarine and it has to be said, there's very little resemblance to the rusty old metal monsters that you might remember from movies such as 'Das Boot' or '20.000 leagues under the sea'. Instead Odyssey is a clean, white, modern looking vehicle that has a capacity of 35 persons seated in two rows facing the distinctive round windows.

It's ready for take down, and as the boat slowly submerges feet by feet, the radar beeps sound eerie while the depth meter shows the progress of the dive. At a depth of 30 meters the water is quite hazy and fish are enjoying themselves elsewhere, but as we ascend to 25 meters a woman suddenly gasps as she finds a diver in front of her, knocking on the window. The divers are there to lure the fish by feeding them, which soon attracts the first hungry visitors to the submarine. Soon fish in all shapes and sizes gather for their free lunch. An overview of all the different species is provided, so you actually get a chance to learn which happy munch kin you're looking at. A Japanese girl shouts excited: 'Nemo, Nemo', and indeed Nemo the famous clown fish also stops by for a quick bite, and seems to have brought a lot of his relatives along as well.

Because the submarine follows a route through a gorge, with one very steep slope only half of the people have a view on the marine life at a time. After about 20 minutes the submarine turns around and the other half gets their share of fishibility.

Wettening the appetite
The 45 minutes end soon enough and after we surface, a barbecue lunch is arranged at the submarine center. There is quite a variety of dishes that are comprised of the same species that we just enjoyed observing having their lunch break, big shrimps, tuna sate, delicious coconut fish sate a Balinese specialty, pepes ikan (marinated fish steamed in banana leaf) and so on. Rice, mie and cap cay are also available, and other side dishes include grilled corn and chicken wings. All in all a very filling meal, with enough choice for everyone. After lunch the program is finished, there is an opportunity to buy a group photo taken on the deck of the Odyssey, and transportation back to your hotel is provided.

Even though the experience is fun enough, there are a couple of things that might spoil the fun. First of all the whole endeavor stands or falls with the visibility of the water. If it is hazy, because of rains or tide changes, the fish might be there, but you won't be able to see a lot of them, because the seawater is too blurry. Another small point might be that it is somewhat disappointing to see divers who need to lure the fish to come up close to the submarine. Of course you can't expect the fish to be all enthusiastic and do a little show as soon as they spot the submarine, but it slightly affects the natural feel of the whole experience. In the end it's mostly factors that are beyond human control that might affect the quality of the Odyssey experience. So overall, it is a unique opportunity to have a look around below sea level, in a comfortable and dry environment, but it might be wise to call the center before you plan your trip to get up to date information about water condition and visibility.

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Address : Odyssey Submarine,
Jalan Raya Kuta No. 9X

About The Author

Emma Kwee
Emma is a Dutch born and bred Indonesia lover who after years of traveling stranded and lost her heart to the same country her father was born in. She studied anthropology and wrote her thesis about punk in Indonesia. Currently living the good life in Bandung, writing for streetdirectory.com while sipping fresh coconut juice under a palmtree, she's planning on staying put for a while.

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