My wife and I did the 1500ft, 3-hour expedition in the late afternoon/evening on Karl Stanley's small submarine/submersible "Idabel" from Half Moon Bay in West End on the island of Roatan, Honduras. We paid cash USD, which was the simplest. Karl provides a digital SLR camera that is synchronized to flashes on the outside of the submarine. However, the quality of the pictures from this camera was disappointing (mostly out of focus). You can take your own SLR and attach it to the external flashes as well. However, the best quality pictures and HD video came from my iPhone 4S.
The huge domed viewing window is four inches thick, and provides a stunning view. The curve of the huge window distorts distances and sizes, so Karl has mounted two green laser pointers outside the sub that cast two green dots on the scenery that are a consistent four inches apart. There is also a viewport down by your feet. The passenger compartment is perfect for two people. Three people would be possible, but a little cramped.
As for safety, Karl told us that everything has redundant systems for propulsion and life support, with enough supplies to last a few days.
It's an incredible and unique experience. It's amazing to watch the blue ocean at the surface fade to black as you descend. Karl even turned off all the lights so we could see all the bioluminescent creatures.
You can see a 2-minute video of our experience at:
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