Sea Walking? Is this a Good Introduction to Scuba Diving?19th July 2012 | Jackie Hutchings
Every so often, I read about seawalking and always wonder…. what is it really like? Is it a good introduction to the underwater world?
Sea walking is a fairly new tourist attraction which is growing in popularity. The process is simple – a large glass dome is placed over your head and, as you descend to the sea bed, air is fed via a tube. So, when the opportunity to try is out came my way on Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef, I jumped at it.
Arriving at the Seawalking centre, I was kitted up with a full wetsuit, boots and gloves and then taken by tender out to the sea walking platform. Once there, each of us in turn had the helmet lowered onto our shoulders before we descended down a ladder to the sandy sea bed. The organisers are impressive. They take safety extremely seriously and their briefing was thorough. They explained that, at regular intervals, you have to equalise the pressure in your ears (if you’re not familiar with this, its what happens when the pressure outside your eardrums increases – just as it does when you’re taking off or landing in an aircraft.) In order to do this, you need to be able to pinch your nose which leads to the question “how do you do that with a glass dome on your head?” It’s simple, the air pressure in your helmet prevents water flooding in so you can just reach into the helmet!
Each person took their turn to descend down a ladder to the sea bed where we knelt on the sand. Once everyone was down, we stood up and held onto a metal bar as we were led for our walk then turned around to head back to the ladder. We were in the water for about 15 minutes. We were led around some bommies; the hard corals were healthy and we saw some nice clams.
So, is this a good introduction to scuba diving? My first impression was ‘no’. There were a few things I didn’t like about it: the cumbersome helmet, the very odd perspective from being inside a glass dome (think fish eye lens here) and, in order to get a ‘wow’ factor, the organisers constantly fed the fish. But, having said all of that, the non divers in the group loved it and it inspired a couple of them to book a try dive.
So, taking all of that into account, I think it’s a good option for non divers and, if it brings more people into the world of diving, then it certainly has its place.
The facts about Seawalking:
- You just breath normally, there is no equipment to operate and no new skills to learn.
- You don’t need to be a swimmer.
- You can wear your glasses in the helmet.
- The design of the Seawalker helmet prevents any fogging or misting over and allows for quiet air flow.
- The cost for a 15 minute seawalk was AU$150.00 which seems expensive but does include use of all the equipment.
- You don’t get your hair wet!