Tourists eager to catch of glimpse of the Great Barrier Reef can now get a fish-eye view of the marine life, thanks to the new mini-submarines on Fitzroy Island, off the north coast of Brisbane.
The underwater experience is provided by Great Barrier Reef Submarines at Fitzroy Island, a 45 minute ferry ride from Cairns in the Australian state of Queensland.
Two passengers and a pilot can fit in the mini-submarine. Passengers are guided by a safety diver to the cockpit entrance in the back of the hull, where they are greeted by the pilot. Once inside, they sit on window seats on either side of the cockpit cabin.
“The cabin is cosy, but it’s surprisingly roomy for three people,” Great Barrier Reef Submarines owner Richard Chapman told NewsCom.au. “You duck dive into it and sit up to your waist in water but your upper body is in fresh air. You’re in a bubble of air.”
A pocket of air is trapped inside the cockpit of the sub, and the air is replenished from a scuba tank supply.
A certified pressure hull is not required, as there is no danger of the hull collapsing due to the fact that the water does not exert any differential pressure on the hull. This allows for the use of a light and durable fibreglass hull.
The submarine is capable of reaching depths of 40m, but the area of the reef explored by the company only requires dive depths of 6m. The submarine travels at a maximum speed of 7.5 km per hour and the reef tour lasts for 30 minutes.