No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.
Jacques I. Cousteau
Natural Underwater Beauty is hard to observe. Normally you would need to be a scuba diver to be able to get close to fish and other marine life. The other alternative - visiting a public aquarium - seems dissatisfactory to some of us. Aquarists can only create an image of nature, which is not necessarily what there really is.
Underwater Observatories are marine buildings constructed partly under the sea. They are normally build on or near the coast and extend seawards. The part of the building that is submerged can be visited via steps or elevators. Just like aquariums they have large windows, which enable observing the surrounding sea.
In 2007 Hydrosight and local investors from Egypt planed a new Undersea Attraction. The area of Ras Muhamed on the tip of Sinai peninsular was chosen for its location. This area is close to Sharm-El-Sheik - one of the touristic hot spots of the country. The surrounding Red Sea is warm all year long and known for its marine wildlife. The central undersea observatory (U.S.O) would be installed with a minimum impact on the environment. The USO would be accessed by shore-based underwater walkways. The USO is attached to various surrounding units:
- underwater hotel,
- underwater restaurant
- underwater bar
Bridges or transparent sea tunnels connect the units. All buildings are located next to existing coral reefs and enable visiting tourists to see the undersea life in its natural beauty.
The idea for the structure is based on earlier work of Dr. N. Drimer, who is also involved in the project. Dr. Drimer has build similar buildings in the Bahamas and Israel. The safety for all visitors and personal is essential and will be according to international norms.
Hydrosight has been signed for construction management. However at the time of writing in November 2007 the project has been stalled.
Observatories traditionally still have direct access to the water surface.
Underwater Habitats In contrast are fully submerged and need airlocks for acces. Habitats have been build by several countries.