One of the most surprising and memorable excursions that is available on Lanzarote is a submarine safari - according to the leaflet, there are only about twenty commercial submarines in the entire world, so the chances of getting another opportunity are slim. It's not cheap - €55 per adult and €34 per child, but if you book online, you can get a 15% discount, and you can still take advantage of the free bus service from most of the hotels in the south of the island, which I wish we'd known before we went !
After watching the safety video and walking along the very wobbly walkway, it was time to climb down the ladders into the submarine. You don't feel at all claustrophobic and it's all air conditioned so it feels just like being in an aeroplane really. There's enough space for about 44 passengers with 22 portholes, 11 on each side.
Pierre was a bit nervous but the excitement soon took over as soon as we started moving.
You can follow your progress on a little TV screen in front of you as you are towed out of the port then dive down 30m (100 ft) to the seabed.
There is more to see on the left-hand side (we were on the right) on the way out because you pass by a couple of shipwrecked fishing boats, but the submarine does a U-turn (a U-Boat turn ?!) halfway through so you can see them on the way back into port.
We all sat excitedly peering out of the portholes waiting for the fish to put in an appearance, which didn't take long at all.
We mainly saw lots and lots of these fish, whatever they are ...
... and lots of these longer ones, which someone said could be sardines or mackerel, but I have no idea ! We also spotted an eel lurking in the shipwrecks, along with a starfish and some spiky black sea urchins.
The highlight of the dive, though, is when a diver swims around the submarine, throwing out food to attract the fish. Apparently this normally attracts a family of big rays, but they didn't put in an appearance on our dive unfortunately.
You could barely see him apart from his flippers because he was totally surrounded by fish !
As he arrived at our porthole, we had a big surprise in store ...
He stopped in front our our window and peered in ...
... then pulled out a "happy birthday Sophie" sign and held it up to the window ! Definitely make sure you mention any special occasions (birthday, wedding anniversary, ...) when you're booking because it makes it extra special. This would be an absolutely amazing way to propose to someone too !
Sophie was suitably impressed !
Time for a submarine selfie, and a quick chorus of Yellow Submarine over the tannoy and we were heading back up to the surface. The dive lasts about half an hour.
Sophie was delighted to be given her happy birthday sign on the way out of the submarine to keep as a souvenir, which was a nice touch.
Even if it's not your birthday, you still each get a free personalised diving certificate, which the kids were incredibly excited about, plus the chance to buy a photo of you all on the way out of the submarine.
Pierre is still talking about it on the way to school in the morning so it's obviously left a lasting impression on him !