Sea TREK – Sea Life at intu Trafford Centre
- Credit: Archant
Sarah Jayne Hall takes a Sea Trek at the Trafford Centre
I’m not going to lie, I was terrified when I was told that I’d be having a go at Sea TREK at Sea Life in Manchester. I’ve always been a bit of a wimp when it comes to water, but I’d heard so many good things about this experience that I knew I’d just have to take a deep breath and get a grip as I didn’t want to miss this fantastic opportunity.
I was told to bring my swimming costume and a towel. Nothing else would be required. No diving experience or license needed, just the appetite for adventure to take part in Europe’s first sea bed walk.
Upon arrival at Sea Life I was greeted by the lovely team who made me feel very welcome and at ease. I was introduced to Myke who would be leading the session, Lucy who would be with us underwater for extra support and safety, and Aaron who would be assisting above water. They were all enthusiastic and extremely passionate about the activity. From the off their eagerness made me intrigued and excited about what was to come.
When you take part in a Sea TREK it is usually in groups of up to 6 people. It is brilliant that the groups are small as it allows the team to make sure you all see as much as possible and enjoy the experience to its full potential.
After a thorough safety briefing and a presentation on the hand signals I would need underwater it was time to don my wetsuit and go through to the tank.
One by one you are taken to the ladder and you are slowly emerged into the water. Once the water reached my shoulders the special Sea TREK helmet was lowered by a crane on to my head and rested on my shoulders. This device is so clever as it allows you to breathe normally under water with no fuss. It pumps 3 times the amount of air needed for normal breathing into the helmet so there is never any worry. The helmet weighs approximately thirty six kilograms but in the water it only feels like six kilograms so you don’t really feel like you are carrying any weight at all. The other astonishing thing about this helmet is that it allows you to be underwater and not get your hair wet and it also means that you can wear glasses or contact lenses, so there are no problems at all with being able to see clearly.
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Once underwater it took me roughly thirty seconds to adjust to the atmosphere, my ears popped and I found my feet. Everything from then on was stunning. I forgot my fears and couldn’t stop smiling. I saw hundreds of fish, stingrays, sharks and Ernie the sea turtle (who was huge!) It was an exceptional feeling to be amongst all these wonderful animals and fish. I felt so relaxed and for the ten minutes I was underwater I forgot all my stresses in my daily life and felt really chilled out and happy.
Myke and Lucy were fantastic and were always pointing out things for me to see. They were also constantly checking that everything was ok and this made me feel extremely safe. They even took photographs which made a wonderful memento of such a unique activity.
After around ten to fifteen minutes underwater it was time to exit the tank. Aaron was on hand to help remove the helmet safely and get me back on to dry ground.
This was an exceptional experience that I will never ever forget and one that I would recommend to everybody. I’m so glad that I did it and I have to say I will never be scared of going underwater again because there is so much beauty to be seen, I’m glad I didn’t miss out!
Sea TREK costs £60 per person or £46 if you are an annual pass holder. You must be eight years old or above to take part. There is a short medical questionnaire that you need to fill in when you get there or this can be done in advance online.
Altogether the experience lasts around an hour - this includes the safety briefing and ten exceptional minutes underwater.
Sea Life, intu Trafford Centre
The Trafford Centre
Tel: 0871 221 2483