Hainan today Hainan News Underwater world of «Atlantis»

Underwater world of «Atlantis»

5 December 2020

This pandemic situation in Sanya has given me opportunity for me to learn new skills. Activities like freediving are now a part of my life, but I have always wanted to scuba dive. The feeling is bit different when you are not limited to how long you can hold your own breath.
My urge to experience scuba diving has finally become reality.  It was at the most spectacular place. I could not imagine a better way of making my dream comes true!

Many times, while I stood in front of this huge aqaurium, I caught myself thinking.  I would ponder things such as  "Someday, I’ll have the opportunity to look from the other side of the glass."  I wanted so much to swim with hammer fish, greet sea turtles, and to lay alongside sharks.

This dream has finally comes true!

I went to explore the underwater kingdom of Atlantis with my friend. We had an appointment at 10:30 am. The whole program takes 2 hours. Unfortunately, you won't be swimming the whole time. The program includes: safety studies, training, changing clothes, and a shower after diving. The diving itself only lasted roughly 25 minutes.

We took an elevator to the  heart of Atlantis resort, to the place where is a descent into a huge aquarium. It is the one that is admired from the lobby, restaurant, and from luxury underwater suites.  This is where we we would dive into the huge tank.

By the way, there are other activities at this aquarium.  You can, for example, feed the fish from a boat, go snorkeling and more. A complete list of all the experiences can be found at the end of this article.

When we arrived upstairs, we were met by a team of  diving instructors. They first asked us to fill out a questionnaire.  This is where we would provide our health information and emergency contacts. So better think in advance who’s name you can write in there.

If you feel unwell, it is extremely important not to dive.  It is prohibited to have a cold while immersed in the water.  You will have to blow your ears.  A cold affects this ability; therefore, can harm your ears, nasopharynx and generally ruin the whole experience.

Take care of your heart and it’s highly recomended to you do not drink any alcohol one day before the experience. Even a one coctail can cause an active heartbeat and affect the normal functioning of the heart under the water.

The age limit for scuba diving in this aquarium is over 10 and under 60 years old.

After finishing the questionary we moved to the theoretical part of the scuba diving program. We were given   the safety instructions in details. We felt a very reverent attitude towards the aquarium customers - it was absolutely clear that our safety was a priority for the team.

In addition, this was my first scuba diving experience, and  instructors paid more attention to the theoretical part and made sure that I understood everything clearly.

We were briefly told about the pressure and what should we expect at a depth. The aquarium in Atlantis resort is not very deep, nevertheless to dive 11 meters down is a bit stressful for the body.

We were instructed in detail how to get rid of these unpleasant feeling in the ears, how to get rid of unnecessary water in the mask and in the valve of the tube, as well as how to inform the instructor about our health condition. Divers have there own underwater language with gestures.

In this case we need to learn the main underwater hand signals.

In the picture below you can see few of them. You should look at them in advance, because beginners often like to show their thumbs up under water, informing about their joyful emotions, but this gesture means that it is necessary to climb up:

These hand signals at first seem simple and funny, but in underwater conditions, if something goes wrong, you can start to panic and forget them, or mislead the instructor by using them in wrong way. So pay attention to them.

The theoretical part of the program can be done in Chinese or English, so don't let the language barrier scares you. After all the theory in details , we were given the wetsuits, slippers, gloves and we headed towards the descent to the aquarium.

It looks like a swimming pool, here you can just snorkel and admire the life of marine life from above or feed the fish from the boat. But we came to get maximum emotions, and  equipment was already waiting for us. Every guest who is going to have diving experience is supervised by a professional diving instructor. You may don’t know how to swim - you will be "floated" through the aquarium with the help of your instructor.

Our experience in the water began with putting on all the equipment, and after we did it we should show in practice that we understood how to breathe, how to get rid of water in a mask, how to blow through the nose and so on. There was no difficulty in this for us, and all the process in the pool area took no more than 5 minutes.

Finally the most exciting moment has come - we got the command to dive and from the first seconds when you go into the water the whole view of the underwater world of legendary Atlantis opens for you!

I think I was so delighted that I didn’t even understand  that my ears were beginning to fill up. At this time my instructor Lan stopped to make sure that everything is going well  and we continued diving. I was very lucky with Lan, he  followed my actions closely, and I can not imagine how difficult it was! I guese it might be hard work to follow me gurgling with delight, while I was trying to catch up with the turtle, then the hammerhead and generally rushed from side to side with eyes which are become the size of my mask.

Lan,  continuously reminded me to slow down, and he also made videos of all of my action on my camera. By the way, I advise everyone not to speed up in the water, but to enjoy the underwater beauty slowly - otherwise you  risk of a significant increase in your air consumption. Try to enjoy these emotions, unusual for our body - complete weightlessness and absolutly freedom of movement.  In ordinary life we indeed ​​move only to the sides, but here you can feel the freedom of movement up and down ...

You can watch what kind of views are waiting for you there, it seems to me that these photos do not need long description:

Major part of those photos was taken by diving instructor Sheldon. That day he had a day off, but he came to spend this time with us, because he always exited by underwater photo shooting and he could not wait to take a few new shots.

When the scuba diving programm was over we all gathered to share our impressions with each other  and I could not help but ask Sheldon a few questions.

I think our readers also could  be interested in knowing about several features of the aquarium from the inside.

Sheldon works here for three months only and he is a professional diving instructor. He saw the sea first time at 18 years old and this was the beginning of a great relationships. He received his instructor certificate in Shanghai and turned his passion for the sea into a professional activity.

Sheldon shared some of his impressions of working in the aquarium. He says that   only high-end professionals work here, and visitors have definitely  nothing to worry about. The whole dive is very safe, the air in the tanks is always under control. And if you are diving for the first time, like me, then the choice for this Lost Chambers aquarium is simply obvious! There can be no unplanned situations, such as in the open sea, like unexpected guests, bad weather or other uncomfortable conditions. All types of activities here include insurance, but rest assured, most likely you won’t need it.

Sheldon showed us his underwater photos and videos. From the conversation about his activities  was perfectly clear that  the love with the sea  willl forever stay with him. Sheldon shared that he is fascinated by this feeling of weightlessness in the water, as if you were in space. And the underwater silence delights everyone, especially after our modern, noisy reality. Those moments when there is no need to accompany guests, for example, when there is some other task for instance cleaning the aquarium for Sheldon, become something like meditation. Only in this way, in silence, without distractions such as the phone and noise, it is possible to focus on your thoughts only.

By the way, quite recently Sheldon had an interesting guest - a woman, about 55 years old, who dreamed of swimming in the aquarium, but she was little scary and couldn’t make a decision for two days. But finally her dream was much more strong that her fears, and she came to the Lost Chambers!

According to the interaction policy, the time in the water, from the moment you entered the pool, takes about 30 minutes, and how much time you will spend under water directly depends on how quickly you learn all the lessons and demonstrate to the instructor that you understood everything correctly. But for this lady, Sheldon made an exception, and only in the pool they spend half an hour in detail honing all safety techniques under water. Sheldon says that he understands perfectly well that this aquarium is a place of work for him and has already become like a daily routine, and for visitors it is a whole fabulous world and a unique chance to get to know this fairy tail place. “That is why I love my job so much - I seem to open this new world and this  beauty to people”

I can only admire the courage of the guests like this women! Such a day will definitely remain in your memory forever!

When I asked if all the marine inhabitants of the aquarium are friendly to guests like us, Sheldon grinned - «Of course, how could it be opposite!»

But the details about the aquarium fish were told to me by the assistant director of the aquarium, Francesco. Our readers are already familiar with him, from the article about the rescue of sea turtles, which you can read here.

«Yes, all  the fish are absolutely safe for humans, none of them is poisonous, and humans are definitely non exist the food chain of anyone in the aquarium. And you should know that we feed them very well, so no one will mistake you for their food», - tells Francesco with laugh.

«But you must understand the main thing about being underwater - here you are a guest, therefore, act like a guest. Don't touch anyone. First of all, all of them are animals, just as if you touched a cat or dog you don't know - they can clearly demonstrate their displeasure to you.

More often guests ask me about sharks. Believe me, these are the last inhabitants of the aquarium you should be scary about. They themselves are afraid of you, or they do not care at all about you. You will most likely find several sharks lying on the bottom of the aquarium, these are tiger sharks and zebra sharks. They are nocturnal residents and their time of rest is during the day time.

Though some little fish much more curious about you. They will swim up to you and will look at you with interest. This is also not dangerous, but looks very funny! They just got used to the fact that we feed them, and the appearance of a diver in the water for them means «Hurray, lunch finally!».  They will  swim in circles around you a little, be disappointed that you have no food for them, maybe they look pitifully into your eyes and then swim away.

None of the fish will try to attack you, but they will definitely treat you with great interest, at least because of the bubbles around  you. Perhaps some of them even wants to play with your bubbles.»

«In case if you are even more curious than the fish, we give you gloves. What if you want, for example, to stick your finger in someone's house? The owner of the house may be not glad to see you there», - Francesco reminds about main rule not to touch everything.

«All representatives of the local “community”  quite friendly with each other, they are can live together in the same conditions such as depth and water temperature. They were all selected based on many qualities and characteristics. This is my job - to maintain this balance», - says Francesco, proudly.

«Also, my job is to provide all the representatives of the marine fauna with everything necessary for their life and health».

I can’t imagine how it’s possible to monitor the health of such a huge number of fish. Francesco happily shared some of the moments of his work: «There are actually a lot of such ways to reveal that something is wrong with a fish and they all depend on the type of the fish. Francesco always carefully observes whether the color of the fish has changed.It is very important during feeding to track who is quite actively swimming for food, and who is left behind and moves lazily, and many others. If the fish with problems is found, it would be isolated. There is a special quarantine pool here. There we found diagnose and make treatment. This can be injections or just medicine added to the water in the pool. Only after treatment we can be sure that the fish is healthy and put it back to the common aquarium area. But my job is precisely to ensure that such situations do not arise at all», - says Francesco.

«Lost Chambers» Aquarium is a truly unique and safe place for it’s inhabitants and guests! You can devote your dive to the important event in your life! Or make such a gift to somebody. Another way to surprise your friends -  is a "banner" service in the aquarium. A team of divers can go down and unfold a banner with a wish for a happy birthday or a proposal to get married, for example, near your table in the "Ossiano" - underwater restaurant.

You can also dive in with the banner by yourself.

«Once a young man decided to surprise his girlfriend in this way, and while she was waiting for him at the table, he dived with the  box with the ring in it. The girl was absolutely surprised to see him from another side of aquarium glass! When he opened the box, the ring gleamed brightly with a precious stone, and all the fish focused their attention on it for a second. We all were very scared for a while» -  Fracesco says, - «since the ring was very expensive! It was funny, but the story ended well and the ring was not stolen by the fish.»

The aquarium team is always ready for cooperation about your ideas, although it depends on the idea, the main thing is your and fish safety.

You can find the full list of aquarium services below:

You can check all details about the services in the official WeChat account of Atlantis resort:

For each program and interaction you can order photography. You need to inform the Lost Chambers team in advance about it and a professional photographer will join you.

Then you just need to go to the DG Photo  counter on the second floor of the aquarium and get QR card, which will allow you to get access to the photos of your interaction. There, at the counter, you can find out information about additional photography services, print your favorite pictures or order a souvenir.

Don't miss the opportunity to feel yourself a part of the underwater universe for a while!

More photos you can find here.

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