You may have heard of divers visiting museums or getting married underwater. But those aren’t the only unique underwater activities out there. Here are our picks for the nine weirdest things to do underwater.
Each July, music-loving divers from around the world splash down to enjoy the Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival in Florida. Keys radio station US 1 Radio 104.1 FM pipes in ocean-related music through speakers hung beneath boats along the reef. Attend the concert or perform in the orchestra by pretending to play an actual instrument or an artistic representation of one, such as the trom-bonefish and clambourine sculpted by artist August Powers. The festival encourages all divers to descend in costume and awards prizes to the best dressed. Reserve a seat on one of the local dive boats that visits the Looe Key Reef or BYOB. (Bring Your Own Boat).
Become a mermaid
In the 1940s, Newton Perry built an underwater stage to house mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs. A former U.S. Navy man who trained World War II frogmen, Newton figured out a way for the mermaids to sip air from free-flowing hoses hidden in the scenery while performing synchronized ballet moves underwater. Today, Weeki Wachee Springs remains a fun, kitschy throwback to Old Florida. You’ll still find mermaids undulating through the water of the springs three times a day throughout the year.
Attend the associated Sirens of the Deep Mermaid Camp on a weekend and you’ll be on your way to becoming a mermaid yourself. While the camp forbids trainees to breathe underwater, the Weeki Wachee Springs Mermaids will teach you their graceful ballet moves, which could also lead you to a life as a professional mermaid or a merfolk hobbyist.
Learn to survive a waterlogged zombie apocalypse
Take the Zombie Apocalypse Diver certification and you can learn to how to survive when zombies attack underwater. This official PADI specialty dive course prepares you for the apocalypse using “state-of-the-art dive training and the latest intelligence on zombies.” Complete the course, which showcases “real life zombies” and trains you on everything from “zombie biology” to rescue skills, and they’ll grant you a PADI Specialty Diver card with Zombie Apocalypse Diver credentials. You can even count this toward your Master Scuba Diver certification.
Mail a postcard from an underwater post office
The only underwater post office in the world does business in Vanuatu inside the Hideaway Island Marine Sanctuary. Purchase one of the Vanuatu Post’s special waterproof postcards and then dive down to mail it. A special flag raised on a float above the post office denotes when postal workers swim on site. Instead of inking a traditional postmark across the stamp, this underwater post office processes your mail with a unique embossing technique, making this mail delivery even more special.
Celebrate the holidays underwater
At Dutch Springs, Pennsylvania, you can celebrate the holidays scuba-style by carving pumpkins for Halloween and hunting for Easter eggs in the lake. If you can’t make it to Dutch, reach out to your local dive shop as they often host underwater Halloween costume contests and Christmas tree decorating festivities.
Pumpkin carving featuring Jeanne Chin of the NYC Sea Gypsies at Dutch Springs. Video courtesy of Michael Rothschild.
Set an underwater Guinness World Record
Forget about the deepest or longest scuba dives because better records exist for a variety of quirky actions performed underwater that you can safely attempt to beat. As detailed by Guinness World Records, some fun examples include:
- Most underwater rope jumps in one hour: 1,608 (In Brazil on March 15, 2012)
- Longest duration juggling three objects underwater: 1 hour 40 minutes (In Germany on March 3, 2013)
- Longest human chain underwater: 308 divers (In Italy on May 14, 2017)
- Most people cycling underwater: 22 divers (In the United Kingdom on September 10, 2006)
If none of the current records strike your fancy, you can also apply to Guinness to create a new underwater category record.
Ride in an underwater bike race
Every Fourth of July, Discovery Diving out of North Carolina hosts an underwater bike race to raise funds for Mile of Hope, a pediatric cancer charity. You can ride in this race in a course alongside the wreck of the USS Indra at a depth of 65 feet (20 m) pedaling, pushing, or finning your bike to the finish line. With the dive shop providing racers with derelict bikes from around the area, it’s up to the fates whether you race with a perfectly-sized bike or a ridiculously small child’s toy as shown in the picture below.
Participate in an underwater sport
If you’ve encountered a sport on land, a scuba diver has probably tried it underwater like the “under ice hockey” played upside down on the underside of the ice in Siberia. Breath-hold divers also regularly play underwater sports in pools. Traditional contact sports become less violent but more difficult in the water, as players must swim up and down for the entire game alternating lungfuls of air grabbed every 30-60 seconds while playing.
Termed “real 3D sports” because the players propel themselves in all 360 degrees, these activities can also keep you fit while improving your ability to swim efficiently underwater. Two of the most popular are underwater hockey and underwater rugby. If you prefer a mind sport, underwater chess in pools and underwater orienteering in deep open water are also options.
Flip off fish
If the above activities seem overly involved or you’re looking for something just a little more irreverent, you can always flip off some fish or vicariously enjoy someone else flicking up their middle finger in the Flipping Off Fish Instagram feed. Learn from this California diver who has flipped off fish from Catalina Island on the U.S. West Coast to Scotland “flipping off fish wherever the current takes him.”
Title photo courtesy of Michael Rothschild depicting a scuba diver in costume carving a pumpkin at Dutch Springs.