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“Wow!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Stanley Submarines

Stanley Submarines
Half Moon Bay, West End, Honduras
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Owner description: Stanley Submarines is the premier location in the world for the public to have access to the deep sea. It is the longest operating and deepest diving operation of it's kind. We have been in business since 1998 and take tours as deep as 2000 feet.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Bathroom facilities
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
475 reviews 475 reviews
83 attraction reviews
Reviews in 73 cities Reviews in 73 cities
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
“Wow!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2011

As a frequent visitor to Roatan, I had often seen the submarine when I went into West End. I finally had the opportunity to take the tour. As a scuba diver, I have certainly wondered what is beyond normal diving depths. When we got to the dock, as the final preparations were made and the sub ballast was set, we looked at Karl's book showing how (and in some cases, why) he designed and built the submarine. What a dream to see come to fruition.

Once settled in to the sub, we headed out to the wall which runs very close to Half Moon Bay in Roatan. Karl has everything set to view, the depth gauge and the outside water temperature gauge and the viewing ports make the whole trip fantastic. His commentary helps as he describes various points of interest and creatures.

We saw creatures that we have only seen in pictures as we dove to 1,000 ft. and returned to the dock. Speaking of pictures, Karl does help to make sure that your pictures are the best.

If you get to Roatan, this trip is most definitely worth the "price of admission"! I can't wait to try the 2,000 ft. dive.

Visited August 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • English first
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English first
Oakton, Virginia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Modern day explorer”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2011

Karl is one of those rare people you meet, that truly humbles and amazes you. He started designing his first submarine at the age of nine, and has spent the better part of his life pursuing his dream of deep-sea exploration. Idabel is his second sub, and he has completed well over a thousand dives without any safety issues. What he offers is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience to a part of the earth that only a very small group of humans will ever have the chance to explore. Unless you are in the Navy, a well-funded researcher, or an extravagant billionaire, this may be your one opportunity to see creatures and species so unique that you may feel as if you are actually a modern day explorer. Indeed, on our dive to 2100 feet, we saw species that have rarely been studied or photographed, which in today's age is getting harder and harder to find. Karl is extremely knowledgeable, and he does a great job of pointing out and describing the various animal life at depth. The Enigma background music is a nice touch. As far as I know, he is one of the most experienced mini-sub Captains in history, and has logged more hours and more dives than anyone. If you are worried about your safety, I would say that the riskiest part of your dive will be the taxi ride to Karl's dock. His machine is an engineering marvel, and as a pilot, and someone who is familiar with machinery and quality construction, I can tell that he spared no expense in Idabel's construction. He has multiple redundant systems, including a lead weight that can be dropped to immediately surface the sub. The tow ride out can be a bit choppy, so if you are prone to sea sickness, you might consider taking some Dramamine. However, it is only rough for a few minutes, and once you are submerged, it is serene and peaceful. I could have stayed down there exploring with Karl for days, and my only disappointment with the whole experience was that it eventually had to end. Yes, it's a lot of money, but if you consider what you are doing, I think you will not regret it. Perhaps consider paying cash to avoid the taxes and Paypal fees. It would be a win-win for you and Karl. As far as I know, there are only two other places in the world where you can do something even remotely similar, but they do not go nearly as deep, they take more people, and they cost considerably more. The next time I come to Roatan, I would love to make it a "twice-in-a-lifetime" experience.

Visited July 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kittredge, Colorado
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“2100ft below. You can't beat this adventure with Karl and his sub!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2011

If you're the kind of traveler that is not afraid to spend some $ on a once in a lifetime opportunity (although I'd consider doing this again!) you MUST DO THIS. This opportunity simply does not exist anywhere else in the word for "normal" folks like you and me. The pictures speak for themselves. If you love the ocean, especially what's beneath the surface, you'll see things on this dive to the deep that most of the people on this planet never will.

Visited July 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfax, Virginia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Very interesting - but the risk is yours!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2011

When I looked at the web site I thought this is a marine biology station that earns some money on the side. Turns out, it is a one man operation, who has built the submersible himself - not licensed, not inspected, not certified. There is no way he would be allowed to operate in the U.S. Admittedly, the vessel looks highly professional and technologically advanced, but I do not know nothing about how reliable and safe it is - and when you go down, nobody even knows that you are there, and if you do not come up, nobody would notice.
This said, the adventure itself is very worthy. Not that you would see something extraordinary - you probably will see more fish snorkeling at the adjacent beach. But the feeling of being 1000 feet underwater, with all these tons of seawater above, gliding over the coral reef shelf - this is some experience, indeed.

One tip: Karl kindly provides the passengers with an SLR camera synchronized with an outside flash. However, if the camera is set to autofocus, it does not, because it has to focus before the flash flashes. So, if you do not want to have all your shots blurred, do switch to the manual focus.

Speaking of minor issues, it is somewhat annoying that you do not learn the real price of the tour until you start paying. The quoted price does not include the Honduras tax and the paypal fees (which I still do not understand, why these are charged, if I am paying paypal with a bank transfer; paypal only charges extra fee for credit cards transactions).

Visited August 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
“WOW - once in a lifetime experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2011

If you can afford to do the deep deep 2500ft dive with Karl, I would suggest you just do it because it will be a once in a lifetime experience. I thought it was amazing. Karl is very knowledgeable and I really enjoyed his commentary about all the things we were seeing. As a scuba diver, I decided to do the 2500ft dive. The entire experience took about 1hr & 45mins. Its just one of those things that few people have done, and you will total value it for ever.

Visited March 2011
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