It’s 9am in Dubai and I’ve set myself a challenge: to swim the length of my (rather long) rooftop hotel pool underwater. On the third attempt I manage it, surfacing to gulp huge breaths of hot, sticky air, under the gaze of a concerned pool attendant clearly wondering why this pale-skinned Brit is exerting herself while others shelter beneath canopied day beds. The reason? I’ve come to Dubai to swim in a very different type of pool – the world’s deepest. Deep Dive Dubai, which opened in July 2021, is 60 metres deep and contains 14 million litres of water.
It’s clear from the moment I enter the 1,500-square-foot facility in the city’s Nad Al Sheba area that huge sums of cash have been spent on it. From the outside it resembles an oyster – a nod to Dubai’s pearl diving heritage. Inside, it feels like a spaceship. The building is wrapped around the enormous pool and in the lobby a section of wall has been replaced with glass, allowing me to wave at passing divers.
There’s something strange about seeing the pool area – staffed by lifeguards and a specialist rescue diver who can descend to 60 metres in a matter of minutes – simply because at first glance it resembles an ordinary pool area. Well, barring the bank of screens that relays footage from underwater cameras, including the ones in the pool’s two dry chambers – kitted out with radios and stocked with spare tanks – located at six and 21 metres underwater respectively.
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