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Marine Star presents the underwater world at night

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1998-07-10

Marine Tourism Development Incorporated held a special party on July 3 to unveil their anticipated submergible high speed ship, "Marine Star". On hand were officials from the Prefecture, Convention Bureau, other tourism related industries, and many from the mass media. On board the company's other major cruise ship, "Sea Chateau", about 100 people were entertained while catered to with an impressive display of food. Afterwards, groups of people then boarded the "Marine Star", and were treated to a small sample of what Marine Tourism Development has planned for customers starting on July 7.

The sleek design of the brand new boat makes it look as sophisticated as it actually is. Fitted with a high powered engine, it can travel at speeds of 20 knots easily. What makes the boat so much more special compared to other vessels, is that the center of the "Marine Star" actually submerges underwater, while the rest of the boat remains afloat.

After we boarded the spacious cruise ship, which is 18 meters long, the captain proceeded to put the ship into high gear. Traveling at such high speeds, the boat seemed to glide over the water, giving us with a very smooth ride. The boat provides seating on its above sun deck, along the sides of its mid deck, and below in the attached submergible compartment, which stayed above water during the ride. In a matter of minutes we were just beyond Tomarin Port and hovering over a coral reef. Everyone entered the submergible cabin, and soon water began to fill the view of the huge port windows. Glancing upwards, I could see the hydraulic pumps gradually extend, putting us under water, while the rest of the boat remained in its above water position. Incredibly, we were a few meters under water and cruising over the reef below. Rows of table coral, branch corals, and plenty of colorful fish cruised by. For approximately 20 minutes the "Marine Star" moved across the reef, constantly giving us a new view of the different marine life below.

Although we were just outside the port, "Marine Star's" actual destination, starting July 7, will be the pristine waters off the coast of Chibishi island. Until now, no glass bottom boats or other submersibles used for tourism could reach such beautiful off-shore destinations, because of time. However, "Marine Star's" high powered engines can have customers there in approximately twenty minutes. You are then treated to an underwater experience, that is much more unique and interesting, than any glass bottom boat ride you have ever encountered. Perfectly safe, both children and the elderly can enjoy this fantastic ride underwater.

The area around Chibishi, which is an uninhabited island of mostly sand and coral, provides the perfect setting to view many types of coral and fish in unbelievably clear waters. Another great feature to this amazing tour is that it will also operate at night, just outside of Tomarin port, giving you a chance to see the ocean's nocturnal creatures come alive. The price is also very inexpensive. Both the day and night tours cost 3,500 for adults and 1,700 for children between the ages of six to eleven years of age.

If you want to have fun with the whole family, give them an experience they will not forget and one that is inexpensive this summer with "Marine Star's" day and night underwater tours. Reservations must be made in advance by calling 869-2241 or by faxing 862-8841. Marine Tourism Development also offers great sunset cruises with an all you can eat buffet aboard their beautiful "Sea Chateau" and also a variety of day time marine sports.

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