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“Modern day explorer”
Review of Stanley Submarines

Stanley Submarines
Ranked #14 of 34 Tours in West End
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Attraction details
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: Bathroom facilities, Lockers / storage
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.

4  Thank Eric J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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72 - 76 of 90 reviews

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.

2  Thank lisanichols20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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).

8  Thank mdinai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

1  Thank Petal090
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2011

Whilst most backpackers head the the Bay Island of Utila we headed Roatan with this being the main attraction. When trying to travel on such a strict and tiny budget we are happy to sacrifice some things such as food, alcohol and accommodation that doesn't make you cringe when you lay down at night but we do this to maximise the money available for activities. Karl Stanley and his submarine has to be the pinnacle of such activities! Whilst an experience of this nature will naturally have a big price tag attached to it - we have to say that it was worth every penny. (it was a lot of pennies so don't take that comment lightly)


Will give you all the information you need to know but we would recommend doing the deepest dive possible in your budget as then you get to experience pitch black darkness in the middle of the day as the light cannot penetrate those depths. Just being in the dark is an experience in itself but there is so much more to it - you will see creatures that most other people can barely imagine and at best will only see on TV.

Meeting Karl and learning about how he build the sub is another aspect of the adventure that adds value in as much as he is an excellent guide and a fascinating person to speak to.

Our only negative comment on the whole experience was that the prices quoted on the website did not include the 12% Honduras sales tax - add that to the 2.9% extra to pay via Paypal and its quite a leap for anyone who is already on on tight budget. That said if you bear this in mind when your booking the adventure we promise you won't regret it...

Thank DangeMattSuperShell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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