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December 1999 - La Jolla Village News "Discovering new depths of fun on Catalina Island." by Terry L. Wilson

Discovering new depths of fun in Catalina is as easy as boarding the Nautilus submarine and taking a 45-minute cruise around Avalon Bay. I was among the first to get a ride on this brand-spanking-new, lean, mean underwater machine - and it was a blast. "Blast away," said the vessel's first mate. "Fire one!" "Swoosh." Even the sound effect of a torpedo being fired from its tube was realistic on this adventure. Among the many unique features this semi-submersible offers are individual torpedo firing tubes. However, instead of launching missiles at nearby yachts, passengers are able to send a spray of fish food flying outside of their individual portholes.

Within moments schools of garibaldi, kelp bass, sheephead, senorita fish and a moray eel or two will emerge from a forest of kelp and swam to within inches of the large oval shaped windows. For the first time ever families may view Catalina's magnificent marine preserve from a safe stable and futuristic vessel. The cabin is lined with acrylic windows that allow for a 360-degree look at Neptune's residents that call Catalina bay home. To get any closer to the fish you would have to strap on SCUBA gear, but no tanks, I prefer the comfort of the sub. "This is one of the most unique submarines of its type in the world," said Brad Wilbour, operator of the underwater vessel. "It's the only submarine made of fiberglass that we know of, and it's very spacious holding 49 passengers comfortably. We're air conditioned and something no one else in the world has is our fish feeding system, which was designed specifically for this boat."

Although the Nautilus doesn't actually submerge, it does draw about seven feet of water, placing the passengers four feet below the surface which greatly adds to the realistic affect of being in an actual submarine. Developed for Island Enterprises, Inc., this state-of-the-art attraction is having the competition shaking in its wake. The Nautilus runs seven days a week.

For additional information, call 877-510-2888 .