Paris Permenter & John Bigley's
Caribbean Family Tripper travel guide

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Sea Trek

Wonder what it would be like to walk on the moon? You might never get closer than a walk on the ocean floor in an old-fashioned dive helmet, an adventure you can do through Sea Trek on several islands. The minimum age is eight, and there is a minimum weight of 80 pounds. Kids with asthma can’t participate either due to the pressurized air that’s used.

We’ve done Sea Trek in Aruba with our youngest daughter and it was great fun, an experience we all continue to talk about. How does it work? You’ll take a short “course” on the helmet, what to expect, signaling underwater, etc.; plan on about 20 minutes for the briefing.

Next, you’ll put on an optional wet suit (since you’ll be underwater for nearly half an hour, it can get a little cool, even in the Caribbean) and line up at the ladder to enter the water.

One at a time, you’ll go down the ladder until the water’s chin deep. When just your head is out of water, a high-tech dive bell that weighs 70 pounds will be lowered onto your shoulders; don’t worry about supporting the weight because you’ll lower yourself on down the ladder as the helmet goes onto your head. From that point on, the helmet’s just about weightless due to the water’s bouyancy.

Slowly, you’ll step down the ladder with the help of scuba divers who will remain with you throughout your time underwater. At the foot of the ladder, you’ll find a rope outlining the walkway you’ll follow. Single file, behind the other “divers,” you’ll walk along this walkway as if in slow motion.

The only sound is your own breathing, echoed inside your helmet. The surface is never more than a signal away (one gesture and the certified divers who are accompanying you will whisk you to the top.)

What’s neat about the experience? You don’t have to have any dive experience to do it; you don’t even have to know how to swim. Anyone in your family who wears glasses can wear their glasses as usual because everything (including your hair) remains dry under the helmet. Best of all, the experience gives you the feeling of being just another fish in the Caribbean Sea. Fish will come right up to you and you’ll have a look at the sea in a way no one but a scuba diver has the opportunity to do.

At present time, you’ll find Sea Trek operations in Montego Bay, Jamaica (at Doctor’s Cave Beach), at St. Thomas’ Coral World, Aruba’s DePalm Island, and in the Turks and Caicos.



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