Atlantis Submarine Embarks on Underwater Adventure

Jim Walsh
Jim Walsh
Linda Bare
Linda Bare
Prateek Ehtakur and Manisha Gupta
Prateek Ehtakur and Manisha Gupta

LAHAINA, Maui (KHNL) -- You don't need a snorkel or fins where we're taking you, in our Earth and Sea Project report.

We have a ticket for a ride on an Atlantis Submarine, for a look at what you could call, a "sunken treasure" in the waters off the Valley Isle.

We're on Maui about to embark on a voyage off the Lahaina coast.

These trips are taken daily but the folks at Atlantis say the sights and experiences are never the same which is why you can start to feel the excitement building as we get closer to the sub.

Out of the water, our sub surfaces ... and down the hatch we go!

"You ready to go diving?"

"Yeah! Whooo right on here we go!"

"Dive, dive, dive!"

Our dive into the deep blue begins with sights of a thriving marine world.

But Jim Walsh, General Manager of Atlantis Subs tells me, that's not all we'll see.

At more than 130-feet deep, we come upon a rusting vessel resting on the ocean floor.

It's an old German freighter named the Carthagininan.

Some may remember it as the floating museum docked at Lahaina Harbor.

Today, it's home to colonies of fish and coral.

Lahaina Restoration Foundation and Atlantis Submarines decided to turn this Lahaina fixture into an artificial reef.

"We're trying to study when we first sank her, obviously there was nothing around and to today, on an annual basis how much bio mass as they say is accumulating around the reef," said Walsh.

One thing's for sure, life at the Carthaginian is memserizing.

"This is like the real thing. You know you see a real ship and just the fish and they say in years to come, it'll get better and better with time," said Linda Bare, a visitor from Kennewick, Washington.

"It's just like a world in itself which you have no idea about unless you get here and see it.  It's what's amazing about it," said Prateek Ehtakur and Manisha Gupta.

And it'll be even more exciting when the Carthaginian transforms into a flourishing undersea habitat.

Atlantis Submarine's first artificial reef project took place in 1989 off Waikiki.

Today, the area, which was once empty, is full of marine life.