Jamaica Submarine Adventure Trip Review, Discovery Bay, Jamaica

Jamaica’s only submarine experience is in Discovery Bay. Woo hoo!

Update 3/3/2017:

The submarine has left Discovery Bay and has moved to Istanbul, Turkey. The beach park is also closed and is being upgraded. We expect it to be a crowd pleaser when it reopens. Not to worry. We will let you know.

Don’t leave empty handed.

Download our free Jamaica Insider Guide to get ideas for a whole bunch of other even better things to do in Jamaica.

 

We visited in November 2015. If you want the full story, keep reading. If you just want the highlights or the key tips, please scroll to the bottom.

Darrell and Pablo - Jamaica Submarine Adventure, Discovery Bay, Jamaica

Darrell and Pablo – Jamaica Submarine Adventure, Discovery Bay, Jamaica

 

This attraction is a score for Discovery Bay. After considering multiple locations including Ocho Rios  and Oracabessa, Discovery Bay was selected as home for the Jamaica Submarine Experience because of its calm waters and protected bay, where no fishing is allowed. Also, Discovery Bay, being calmer, is less affected by the tides, providing more diving activities and fewer no dive days.

I have fond memories of coming to Puerto Seco Beach in Discovery Bay as a child … calm crystal clear waters and powdery white sand. There couldn’t be a better spot for the Jamaica Submarine Adventure to share space.

The good news with that is that you get to use the very convenient parking lot at Puerto Seco. Plus, a little bird told me that a major investment project is planned for Puerto Seco. Hopefully, this will help it to even surpass its former glory, especially now that it is home to the Jamaica Submarine Adventure!

The bad news is that on (Jamaican) public holidays, Puerto Seco can be crowded as it is a very popular beach with the locals. The news isn’t all bad because even if the beach is crowded, this has nothing to do with the submarine activity since they occupy different areas! Double win.

Puerto Seco. Courtesy of Jamaica Submarine Adventures

Puerto Seco.                                              Photo courtesy of Jamaica Submarine Adventures

So when is a good day to go for a submarine dive …

As Pablo, their operations manager advises, “A sunny and calm day is best. Minimal turbulence on the sea means better visibility below.”

Can you go if it is raining? Yes, but there a few rules of thumb to think about. Rain water is “surface water” and so it takes 1-2 days to get to the bottom of the sea. Diving just after it rains is better than 2 days afterwards for this reason. I was impressed that the Submarine Adventure monitors the weather reports from different sources and makes their own decision on whether a dive is possible.

So what do you see? What are some of the highlights?

It is an amazing landscape, or rather seascape, in the underwater world … hard corals, sponge corals, vase corals. A host of fish abound. There are printed guides as well as tour guides with you to help you identify the wide array of fish that come by.

Angel Fish are rarely seen in Jamaican waters. Discovery Bay is one of the few bays with any significant remaining angel fish population. Both Queen, Grey and French angel fish went swimming by. What is unique about them is that the first two that hatch mate for life. They are considered the “romantics of the sea”.

Star Trek fans will remember that Captain Picard had a lion fish in his quarters. They are as invasive as they are beautiful. For a while, they wreaked havoc on local marine life. Thankfully, a vigorous campaign to catch and destroy, aka eat them, has proved successful and their numbers have been diminishing.

So here is the coolest thing. During the dive, the red fire extinguisher looked almost burgundy. Our lips looked almost black. Why? Colors change at depth. If you can, wear either orange, yellow or red clothing to really appreciate the changes in color.

It didn't look like that in the submarine. Cross my heart, it was a different color!

It didn’t look like that below the surface. Cross my heart, it was a different color!          Photo credit: D. Looney

 

Did you know that there can be freshwater springs in the sea? Turns out there are. How weird is that? Discovery Bay doesn’t have a river on the surface but there are ocean wells which allow fresh water to spring in the sea floor.  If you look closely you can actually see the channels with your naked eye.

Is the Jamaica submarine experience safe?

There seems to be a strong focus on safety. We had life vests on for the boat ride to the submarine. We had a full safety briefing in the submarine just before we started the dive. Not that you expect this to be an issue, but their air supply is such that it can accommodate 26 people, including crew, for 72 hours. Plus, the best thing is that there is always a boat on the surface during the dives and there are multiple ways of getting the submarine up to the surface if there are any issues.

In case you were wondering, the bends is not an issue. The pressure and oxygen content in the submarine are about the same as the outside.

Can you believe they asked me my weight?

Yes, and with good reason! Your weight is your personal business; however, considering that it is a critical factor in the operation of the submarine, you will want to cooperate. The total weight on board is important for the calculations for the dive to proceed. If giving your weight really bothers you, or you are tempted to give a fake weight, perhaps you should just skip this tour since you don’t think that the safety of the up to 25 other people on board is important.

 

Just so you know …

  • Use the bathroom before you get on the submarine. There is no bathroom on board. The best they can do for you is to offer you a “convenience bag”.
  • Do not distract the pilot during the dive. This is an intricate world in which you are venturing. The rest of the crew, including the tour guides, will help you spot the different marine life.
  • Currently, there are 5 routes with many sub-routes that the submarine may take, depending on visibility and what is being seen. This makes this a tour that can be done multiple times.
  • You don’t get wet! There is no need for a swimsuit unless you plan on enjoying Puerto Seco Beach separate from the tour.
  • Dives are at 9am, 10am, 12 noon, and 1pm on Tuesdays to Sundays. They last about an hour.
  • Get there about 30 minutes ahead of time, especially if you have a group and if you don’t have tickets. There is a preliminary briefing, including signing of liability waivers, prior to a short ferry ride from the pier to the submarine.
  • Per their website, no children under age 4 are allowed.
  • To access the submarine, you must be able to climb down 7 steps on a ladder to get down the hatch.
Climbing down the hatch on Jamaica Submarine Adventure Credit: Jamaica Submarine Adventure

Climbing down the hatch on Jamaica Submarine Adventure                 Credit: Jamaica Submarine Adventure

We had a fantastic time. The staff couldn’t be friendlier. They were very knowledgeable. We felt perfectly safe the entire time. This is a great family activity, which we will definitely do again. Kids will enjoy it without even realizing that they are getting a science class!

 

Special thanks to the staff and crew of Jamaica Submarine Adventure who spent quite a bit of time talking with us about the submarine and the marine environment of Discovery Bay. Special shout out to

  • Olivia in Accounting who was getting exposed to the check-in operations when we went
  • Pablo, operations manager. Pablo’s background was really interesting. He studied mechanical engineering at the College of Arts Science and Technology (CAST) in Jamaica. Ultimately, he worked with the US Navy during which time he learned about submarines and developed skills in marine science and scuba diving. He is a PADI certified dive instructor.
  • Robin, the engineer
  • Curtis, the General Manager
The Operations Manager and the GM of Jamaica Submarine Adventure

The Operations Manager and the GM of Jamaica Submarine Adventure                   Photo Credit: D. Looney

 

Visit them on Facebook – Jamaica Submarine Company or call their reservation line at 876-373-2778.

Jamaica Submarine Adventure is just under 5 minutes drive from Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Contact us now to book your Mais Oui Villa vacation.

Think and dream Jamaica!

Til next time,

Sherry & Darrell

Considering a visit to Jamaica? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups.

Visit our website: http://www.MakeItJamaica.com

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About the Author Sherry

Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tenis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!

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