First peek into the Open Ocean Dive

Learn how to SCUBA dive and get certified to become a PADI Open Water Diver right here at the Aquarium.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho would’ve thought that you could dive in the world’s largest aquarium? I certainly didn’t but when Marine Life Park launched their Ultimate Marine Encounters, I leapt at the chance to participate in the Open Ocean Dive programme – coming face-to-face and within grasp of a giant manta ray, a leopard shark, countless groupers, and many more of these amazing marine animals. And it all happened right here in Singapore.

Typically, a dive trip involves researching on the best locations and seasons to SCUBA dive, nit picking on lodgings and things to pack, and spending hours traveling from location to location. And when you are there, the last 24 hours must be spent dive-less, because if you are planning to fly, you stand the risk of decompression sickness – severe headaches, joint pains, extreme fatigue and even skin rash – definitely not something you want to end the trip with.

In lieu of a time consuming trip overseas, diving in the Open Ocean habitat is the perfect fix for busy adventure junkies like me – I get to dive, see almost all the majestic animals I have ever wanted to see in a single dive location, and it is all pretty fuss free.

Did you know?

The Open Ocean habitat is classified and recognised internationally as an Open Water dive site, and you can officially log your dives!

This dive adventure is part of Marine Life Park’s latest offering, the Open Ocean Dive. One of four Ultimate Marine Encounters, this 150-minute programme consists of 30 – 45 minutes of SCUBA diving and will bring divers on an exploration of the 18.2 million litre habitat filled with over 50,000 marine animals from 80 different species.

IMG_0354Like most dive locations, there are the usual pre-dive checks, to ensure that divers met all the requirements. The friendly dive guide then gave an overview of the animals I’d get to see, tidbits of fun facts, and most importantly the Dos and Don’ts to ensure an enjoyable dive experience for everyone, marine animals included.

IMG_0387While suiting up, I was given a wetsuit with a hood to wear. The guide explained that the wetsuit and the hood are used for thermal protection and to protect from accidental brushes with the friendly rays.

IMG_0419Before diving in, the guide told me the water temperature was at 25 – 27°C. That sounded really chilly to me. Maybe it was the adrenaline or perhaps it was the 3mm wetsuit, but during the actual dive, I felt pretty warm.

Here’s me with the Giant Grouper, Leopard Shark, and if you take a closer look, you can see a ray hiding beneath the sand.
I was able to ‘tango’ with the Giant Manta Ray.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPart of the dive adventure also involved going 12 metres deep and swimming between the rock works to seek out animals that were hiding amongst them, much like an open ocean dive site.

The Bowmouth Guitarfish seen here is known to crush clams and rocks in their mouths. You definitely don’t want your hands or fingers caught in there.

The most fascinating part of this immersive experience was the friendly animals. The fishes would swim right up to you and circle around in a curious manner. But however tempting it is to want to touch them, I was advised not to – because by doing so, I would be wiping away a natural protective layer over their bodies.

After making two trips around this habitat, waving back to guests on the other side of the viewing panel, I made my way to the top of Ocean Dome for a three-minute safety stop – to allow absorbed nitrogen to be released from my body.

Taking a 3-minute safety stop at the top of Ocean Dome. View looks impressive from up here.

And then I was out. I got my quick nitrogen fix, no fuss, no hassle. Check out this video to see what I experienced.

Rachel is an outdoor adventure junkie who is modest about her adventures of the green and blue. She also enjoys sewing, bringing her Pomeranian dog Pixie on long walks, and unintentionally breaking office doors. 

Interested? Email to sign up for the Open Ocean Dive. But check that you:

  • Are at least 12 years old
  • Possess a recognised SCUBA diving qualification*
  • Have dived within the last 12 months; beyond this, a check dive may be required
  • Must not fly within the next 24 hours
  • Must be medically fit
  • Make the reservations  in advance

*Recognised SCUBA diving qualification refers to a minimum of Junior Open Water Diver certification from any nationally or internationally-recognised dive certification organisations (PADI, SSI, SAA etc.)

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