The world's first-ever underwater escape room involves scuba diving to the bottom of a flooded Welsh quarry

  • The world’s first underwater escape room has been made in a flooded quarry in Snowdonia, Wales.
  • The six challenges you can choose from include a money heist, murder mystery, and nuclear blast.
  • The only catch is that you need to be willing to scuba dive to take part.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The world’s first-ever underwater escape room has opened in Wales, which sees participants scuba diving to the bottom of a flooded quarry to win back their freedom.

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Scuba Escape was founded by Leanne Clowes and Clare Dutton, both part of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). When they first opened in April, their motivation was to create diving experiences that give back to their community of scuba divers who have been unable to travel during the pandemic.

“Divers aren’t able to do the usual holidays where you can go on a boat in the Red Sea for a week or dive with sharks so we thought, ‘What can we do to make things a little bit different for them?'” Clowes told Insider.

Located in Snowdonia’s Vivian Quarry, there are six themed escapes for adventurers to choose from, so there is something for everyone, Clowes said. They cost from $311 (£220) per person and there’s a heist, a murder mystery, a nuclear blast, a pirate treasure hunt, a princess rescue mission, and a zombie apocalypse.

The dives take between 45 minutes to an hour and each participant will undertake two, carrying out a variety of tasks that will allow them to escape. While the diving duo is tight-lipped about what exactly they entail, Clowes said that tasks range from reviewing case files and carrying out interviews with suspects, to finding stolen fortunes before the police do.

Divers need to have a PADI open water qualification or equivalent to take part, but five of the Scuba Escape games also allow non-divers to get certified while they are there. Participants who are new to scuba diving or usually dive overseas can rent all the equipment that they need from the quarry.

The eerie, isolated setting lends itself well to the escape room’s atmosphere

“The massive quarry opens out to you and you’re completely surrounded by cliff faces,” Clowes said. “It’s an old slate mining quarry that flooded, and when you go in through these red doors, you’re locked into the entire quarry.”

According to the online database for the National Monuments Record of Wales, Vivian Quarry became a diving hotspot after it closed in the 1960s. Runoff and underwater springs have since filled it with water that ranges between 18-20m in depth depending on weather conditions.

While being underwater could evoke more anxiety than the average escape room, Clowes says that measures are taken to support new divers. Anyone undertaking a course rather than a game will have an instructor with them in the water at all times to coach them through everything.

“With a regular escape room, you have a timer that ticks down from 60 minutes to zero and it starts beeping really fast when you get down to the last minute so that builds up, whereas we don’t have that. It’s quite chilled out,” she said.

“All of the games are suitable for beginner divers, there is no point where a diver will come up against something they did not do as part of their certification,” she said, adding that instructors are on hand at all times.

As Scuba Escape prepares to welcome dive clubs of up to 12 now that Wales’ COVID-19 restrictions have eased to allow up to 50 people to take part in organized outdoor activities, they will run competitions between two groups of six to see who can complete the game first.

So what can divers expect if they successfully escape the quarry? Clowes says that “it is literally their pride” at stake during the games, but if participants complete all six dives in their logbook, they could end up earning a more tangible prize than bravado.

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