Following five years of careful planning, new tour operator Beneath The Sea Adventures has launched with a once-in-a-lifetime North Pole adventure holiday, writes John Guinn.
Using a decommissioned Russian Quebec-class diesel-electric submarine, travellers will be taken on an 800-mile round trip under the frozen Arctic Ocean. The two-week holiday includes ten days of training and a three-day round trip that travels 15m under the sea to the North Pole.
Trevor Dunne, the operator’s CEO, was looking for an adventure trip that no one else offered. He remembered that in 2007 Russia had caused an international incident by planting flags on the sea floor to claim the North Pole as Russian soil, and so the idea for an underwater trip to the North Pole was born. He said: “For safety reasons, the journey under the ice had to be as short as possible. As the polar ice cap is at its minimum in September, me and my team looked at the average ice coverage to find the idea starting point. This turned out to be a choice between Greenland and Canada.
“I chose Ellesmere Island, Canada as I can’t speak Danish. The romantic trip would be to travel up from the Greenland Sea, under the ice cap and out via the Bering Strait. But travelling in a submarine between the USA and Russia isn’t a good idea. Commercially available submersibles do not have the range for this trip. They also have too much glass, which could be dangerous even when ten metres under the sea ice, so myself and my business partner, Steve Smith, searched and found a suitable submarine.”
The diesel-powered Quebec-class submarine can only accommodate 30 people, so holidaymakers have to double up as crew. Smith said: “Becoming part of the crew actually makes the trip. Otherwise the passengers would just be sitting in a metal tube for three days.” Some of the adventurers will be trained in two methods of underwater navigation, the Omega navigation system and dead reckoning. Others will be cooks, mechanics or pilots. There will be a short party (no alcohol) when the submarine reaches 90.0000° N, 0.0000° W and the sub will then return to Ellesmere Island.
Two trips are planned for September, with a provisional trip for October (weather permitting). Prices lead in at £10,525 excluding insurance which must be purchased prior to the trip. The debut adventure will also be filmed by a cable TV company. Travel agents selling spaces will get a fixed fee.
To book or for further information call 020-7834 6661 or visit www.youvebeenhad.com
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