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July 24, 2014

9 Incredible Real-Life Underwater Adventures

Are stays at the Radisson just not cutting it anymore? Do visits to plain old museums bore you to tears? Is your family too good to get a postcard from some lame old-fashioned above-ground post-office? Does regular ice hockey seem almost cute? Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll be happy to know there is a very simple way to take everything to the next level. Do it all underwater. No, really, it’s totally possible. These days there is underwater everything—hotels, post-offices, ice hockey leagues. You name it, and there’s a guy in scuba gear ready to make your dreams come true. So there’s no excuse not to spice things up a bit. Well, unless you don’t have tons of money. Because just about everything you can do underwater is pretty expensive.

9. Jules’ Undersea Lodge

The Jules’ Undersea Lodge, located in the Emerald Lagoon off Key Largo, has been around since 1986. Obviously, it is named after Jules Verne—if you don’t know your history, he’s the guy who discovered the lost city of Atlantis. Anyway, this place may very well be the first underwater hotel in the world. Well, “hotel” may be overstating it a bit. It’s basically 3 medium-sized underwater rooms. Still, there are numerous overnight packages to choose from, including the “European Style Package” ($400 per person, per night) and “The Ultimate Romantic Getaway Package” ($1295 per happy couple, per night), which includes seafood appetizers, flowers, and romantic music. There are only two small problems for the average tourist. First: you’ll need waterproof luggage, because you’ll need to swim down 21 feet to get there. Second, and perhaps more importantly for those willing to shell out big bucks for unique vacations: this “lodge” definitely looks like it’s been around for 25 years.

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8. Utter Inn

Here’s another small spartan underwater lodge. Only, instead of the Florida Keys, the Utter Inn is located in a lake in Sweden. To get there you just take a quick boat ride out to a little red shanty out in the middle of Lake Malaren. Inside the shanty is a ladder that takes you down below the surface of the lake to your quaint accommodations. The whole place is creation of artist Mikael Genberg, who must have been trying to make some kind of artistic statement about nature. But regardless of its artistic merits, this underwater retreat sure looks like a cozy little spot for a relaxing getaway. And it costs a very reasonable $1750 per week.

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7. Museum of Underwater Modern Art

English artist Jason deCaires Taylor specializes in underwater sculptures that, over time, turn into artificial coral. In 2009, in cooperation with the National Marine Park and The Cancun Nautical Association, Taylor opened the Museum of Underwater Modern Art in the waters off Cancun Mexico. It currently has 4 separate installations featuring over 400 life-size sculptures. The goal of the museum is “to demonstrate the interaction between art and environmental science” and create “a complex reef structure for marine life to colonise and inhabit.” Also, it’s totally freaking awesome.

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6. Vanuatu’s Underwater Post Office

Vanuatu is a little island nation in the South Pacific, about a thousand miles east of Australia. Of course, this is prime territory for luxury cruises, and tourism is a pillar of the Vanuatu economy. Scuba diving is particularly popular there, as the Vanuatu archipelago is excellent for exploring the exotic coral reefs of the South Pacific. Knowing all this, then, is it really surprising that there would be an underwater post office in Vanuatu? Tourists would probably make a special trip just to see the unusual little outpost situated 3 meters underwater.

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5. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant

If you ever find yourself planning a trip to the swanky Conrad Rangali Island Resort, located in the Indian Ocean nation of The Maldives, make sure to call ahead and get a reservation at the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. The restaurant recommends booking at least 14 days prior to arrival, and for good reason. It is the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant, and it affords diners a 180° view of their tropical marine surroundings.

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4. Secret Underwater Gnome Garden

Wastwater is England’s deepest lake, and it’s bottom is remarkably clear, which is usually great for scuba enthusiasts. Only thing is, there’s just nothing to see down there, so local divers get bored pretty quick. Then, one day, a bunch of divers decided to do something to make their scuba trips more interesting. They created a garden of plaster yard gnomes replete with artificial shrubbery and enclosed by a white picket fence. Then they spread the word, but didn’t disclose the exact location of the garden so that scuba divers would have to search for it. The whole thing created quite a buzz in the English scuba diving community. Unfortunately, authorities located and removed the secret gnome garden in 2005 after several people died while searching for the site.

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3. Red Sea Star Restaurant

The Red Sea Star Restaurant is an underwater eatery located in the Red Sea (who would’ve guessed), just off the shore of Eliat in the southernmost tip of Israel. The whole project was part of an effort to restore an extinct aquatic habitat—all coral in the area had been killed by years of pollution—and build an undersea structure from which humans could easily observe and explore it. They decided to make their underwater structure a restaurant, and hired Israeli artist Ayala Serfaty to design it. Thus, one of the world’s most beautiful and unique restaurants was born.

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2. Underwater Ice Hockey

This is quite possibly the most ridiculous underwater activity on this list—incredible, amazing, terrifyingly awesome, and stupid. But hey, if you’re passionate about the sport, don’t get upset. That’s just one man’s opinion. And I’ll admit, I have never played underwater ice hockey. Maybe it’s awesome. I’m just not an adrenaline junky, so it doesn’t appeal to me.

1. Poseidon Undersea Resort

This place is not up and running yet. It was originally scheduled to be ready in 2008. Then they pushed it back to 2010. Now they’re saying late 2012. So I’m going to assume it will be pushed back to at least 2014. But sure it will be finished eventually, because CNN (the most trusted name in news, don’t you know) did a report about it. In any case, there can be no doubt that, once it finally does open, this resort will be the most amazing underwater destination the world has ever known. The PUR will have 24 five-star rooms 40 feet below the surface of a tropical lagoon in beautiful Fiji. $15,000 will get you a week at the resort; however, that will only include two nights underwater. The other four nights will have to be spent living like a peasant up on the private “Poseidon Mystery Island” in cabanas suspended over the lagoon.

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