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One of our ports of call on our January 2015 Caribbean cruise was St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. As with most cruises, various excursions were offered and while the ladies opted for an island tour, my brother-in-law Don and I decided to check out something called the BOSS adventure.
BOSS stands for Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter. It’s sort of a mini-submarine that you can use to check out marine life and the ocean floor in relatively shallow water.
We boarded a cabin cruiser called The Prince of Tides and headed out for a sheltered cove. Once there the submersibles were lowered by crane into the water – fourteen of them.
There were thirty or forty of us on this excursion so the little subs went out in three alternating groups. Each craft was tethered to a float. To mount it, a person would duck down under the water and poke his head up into a plastic bubble as he straddled the saddle of the scooter. The bubble was connected to a scuba tank which provided the rider with air.
Once in the saddle, the BOSS unit was lowered down into the water. For those of us remaining on the Prince of Tides, we watched as a group of floats moved off like a school of surface fish. The craft are powered by electric motors and are steerable.
Each pod of scooters was accompanied by a scuba diver. Those remaining on the ship snacked, enjoyed the music playing or jumped over to do some snorkeling while waiting their turn.
The waters here were swarming with yellowtail snappers. The captain gave one young lady a bag of food pellets to toss out them. The fish jumped and swarmed like ravenous wolves.
When our turn came, Don and I went down to explore on our BOSS craft. I had brought an underwater camera and filmed our little adventure, including being lowered down, roving along and exploring and later being hoisted up and exiting the craft.
The snorkeling was also fun. I’d only snorkeled once before and didn’t like it. That was in Puerto Vallarta and we were our in the open bay. Large swells and waves had me swallowing water repeatedly and I cut that experience short quickly. Here we were in a sheltered cove. The water was calm, smooth as glass, and the snorkeling was a lot of fun. So much to see underwater.
After everyone had taken their turn with the submersibles, they were hauled back onto the deck. The video below shows them being hauled out and also gives you a good look at what these submersibles look like.
As we headed back to St. Thomas we passed a variety of resorts.
And we passed the three cruise ships in port. St. Thomas is a popular port-of-call. Although we were on the Ruby Princess and have never cruised with Norwegian Cruise Lines, their ships are among the most colorful, with huge murals on their bows.
Don and I had a boss time in St. Thomas.
I’ll leave you with a few additional photos from the trip.
Links of Interest
- BOSS Adventures website
- The Aquarium at Atlantis – another port-of-call on our cruise
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