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Worlds First – Finding Nemo meets James Bond: The reef from inside scUber

by | May 28, 2019 | Airport News

Chief Scientist GBRMPA Dr David Wachenfeld and CEO of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef Andy Ridley were the first people to experience scUber on it’s maiden voyage.

LOCALS and tourists have been given a first glimpse of what it’s like inside scUber after the first people to travel in the ride-sharing submarine shared their experience.

GBRMPA chief scientist Dr David Wachenfeld and Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef CEO Andy Ridley were the first to take a ride in the sub, which was officially launched on Thursday at Heron Island as the world’s first rideshare submarine.

ScUber is designed to offer international and local tourists an opportunity to experience the reef in a new way plunging to depths of 30 metres and offering 180-degree views of the reef, carrying two passengers plus the driver at one time.

Uber partnered with Tourism and Events Queensland to launch the initiative to a global audience.

The experience will benefit the reef too, with an initial $100,000 donation from Uber made to Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef to support ongoing conservation initiatives.


Heron Island sits just off the coast of Gladstone on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, accessible by a 30minute helicopter ride or 2 and a half hours by boat.

For a limited time only, Uber riders in selected Queensland cities will be able to book through the app at a cost of $3,000 for two people.

Uber will also donate the equivalent value of every scUber ride to the Citizens group.

Mr Ridley said the partnership would help the group in three significant ways.

“There’s access to some of the tech, knowledge and know-how which is very data and tech-driven, there’s some serious funding and there’s also the reach to millions of people with more reef initiatives and engagement,” he said.

“This again brings more eyes on the reef.

“It’s just massively important we’re engaging the world … and what an amazing way to do it.”

It’s hoped the submarine will open the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef to a wider range of audiences and encourage people to take steps to tackle climate change.

The rideshare will be available starting at Heron Island from 27 May before moving off the coast of Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland.

Dr Wachenfeld, who joined Mr Ridley on the maiden voyage described the experience as being like “finding Nemo joins James Bond”.

“I was expecting the big wildlife but what I wasn’t expecting was how close you can get to stuff, because you’re a diver you think you can get really close because you’re in control,” he said.

“We were just hovering over the bottom looking down… there’s big stuff like a shark or stingray but then the little stuff I wasn’t expecting to see.

“I think it’s very different and it’s cool, even having done thousands of snorkels and scuba dives.”