My adventure with Helmet Diving came during our trip to Bermuda while we were on a Norwegian cruise. I’m not a strong swimmer and I don’t like to be underwater. So I’ll probably never try scuba diving! I’ve tried snorkeling but haven’t had a lot of experience with that either. So when I was researching on ways to enjoy the ocean during our trip I was so excited to learn about this option. Here’s a few things you might find helpful!
What is Helmet Diving?
It is basically a guided, underwater walking tour designed for non-swimmers and non-divers. Participants wear a weighted dive helmet and walk under water along a pre-determined path. You do not need to take a certification class before enjoying this fun adventure. If you know how to breath and walk you can helmet dive!
What is the Helmet like?
The padded helmet works like a glass turned upside down in water. As long as the open end is held downward, the air is cupped underneath.
Where can you Helmet Dive?
There are so many places to choose from! Puerto Rico, Cozumel, Roatan….just to name a few! Of course, I’ve only been helmet diving in Bermuda so I guess I should travel to more places and try other companies so I really have some comparisons!
The company we used in Bermuda was Hartly’s Helmet Diving. They were located conveniently just past where our cruise ship docked. The excursion was easy to set up and was competitively priced. They have developed a “working relationship” with the fish and have “trained” the fish in the area to trust them. Because they always bring food, we enjoyed a menagerie of underwater sea life.
Some of the varieties of fish you will see have been given names as they are the “regulars”! You will meet George the Grunt, Herb the Hind, Gollum the Squirrelfish, Diana the Angel fish and Leroy the Snapper!
What was my experience?
Well, I’ll tell you! I was a little nervous (ok, maybe more like freaked out!) because I don’t enjoy being underwater but I really wanted to conquer this fear. We were given a tutorial as we traveled by boat out from the shore several miles. The view was stunning, blue water, azure sky, warm temps, everything was set up for a perfect day. There were 6 of us in our group and we were able to all go down together. My heart was pounding as I put one foot out onto the ladder that would eventually take me down about 10 feet. As I continued to step down one foot at a time a million thoughts were going through my head….what if I can’t breath?….what if the fish bite!…..what if……but I kept going, finally completely submerged in the warm water. As I tried to get my bearings, I noticed my ears were really starting to hurt. Just 10 feet down, there was a lot of pressure! The guide had told us this might happen but he didn’t make a big deal about it. He said the pressure would subside pretty quickly. But my ears hurt for what felt like forever! After awhile, the pain subsided but I still felt the pressure. Also, you can’t talk! Yes, your head is stuck in a fishbowl! You can only point to things, shrug your shoulders or shake your head (very slowly!) Our guide had pre-printed underwater sticks with the names of the fish on them so when one of the locals came to greet us he would pull out the appropriate stick that had that fish’s name on it. Pretty clever I thought!
We were told to hold onto a rope and walk along together as a group. Also, we were tethered to the boat by our oxygen hoses. How did we not get tangled up? Anyway, more and more fish began to congregate around us and no joke, I started feeling stirrings around my legs. I shouldn’t have been surprised of course, that’s what we were told would happen, but I was startled the first time!
Our underwater tour lasted about 30-40min but the whole trip can last up to 4 hrs depending on how many divers there are. Here’s a tip for you: If you are prone to seasickness definitely prepare for the possibility of becoming sick. I was fine getting out to our dive spot but for some reason I experienced some seasickness on the way back. And I wasn’t the only one. Several in our group also experienced nauseousness way worse than me!
The whole experience really was wonderful. I didn’t really conquer my “underwater” fear, but I now I know I can do it!
Where to travel to next (when we can again!)
May I suggest (besides a trip to Bermuda where you can get the best fish sandwiches) but a trip to Mexico might be in your future! We are members of a company called Vidanta and they have 6 amazing resorts sprinkled throughout Mexico. We invite you to visit these wonderful resorts by reserving one of our rooms! Start your search HERE