Imagine living underwater for 31 days. Or better: Watch other people do it.

June 18, 2014

“What It’s Like to Live Underwater for 31 Days,” appears in the Atlantic magazine.

“Fabien Cousteau is on the ocean floor right now, and he’s not coming up for air until July.” So begins Svati Kirsten Narula’s story in the Atlantic magazine about the undersea adventure called Mission 31.

Cousteau — grandson of the legendary Jacques — and a small team of fellow aquanauts are living in an underwater habitat called Aquarius and hope to stay there for 31 days. Sitting on stilts about 60 feet beneath the surface a few miles off the Florida Keys, Aquarius is about 9 feet by 43 feet — about the size of a school bus, as Cousteau says. To combat claustrophobia, the crew plans to spend several hours every day doing rocket-pack-assisted swims and tooling along the continental shelf on underwater motorbikes.

(Carrie Vonderhaar)
Fabien Cousteau and fellow aquanauts are living in an underwater habitat off the Florida Keys and hope to stay there for 31 days. (Carrie Vonderhaar)

Cousteau and two technicians arrived June 1 and plan to remain on Aquarius for the entire 31 days. Two teams of three researchers each will each spend half the time on board, mainly studying the effects of climate change and pollution on the coral reef. Beyond that, they just want to get better acquainted with the vast underwater world that oceanographers including Cousteau believe is woefully underexplored. (As submarine designer Graham Hawkes once scolded the scientific community, “Your rockets are pointed in the wrong g—— direction!”)

To engage a global audience, the underwater team will keep up regular communication with reporters, teachers and students via email and Skype. And the entire adventure is being broadcast live online at the Mission 31 Website.

When we tuned in the other day, the interior of Aquarius was pretty mundane, with T-shirt-clad researchers sweeping something off the floor (there’s no sound, so we didn’t know what), checking their dials, squeezing quietly past each other in the narrow control space. But the action outside was lively, with dozens of brilliantly colored fish poking attentively at the 80-ton behemoth that had suddenly appeared in their world. Curiosity, it seems, works both ways.

Watch Jacques Cousteau’s and Louis Malle’s exquisite documentary about the first manned undersea colony, which won an Academy Award in 1964:

© 2014, The Washington Post

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Nicaragua calls Carlos Alvarado’s statements “disrespectful” and “intruding”
News
820 views
News
820 views

Nicaragua calls Carlos Alvarado’s statements “disrespectful” and “intruding”

AFP / The Tico Times - October 16, 2018

The Nicaraguan government described statements by Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado about Nicaragua's “internal affairs” as “disrespectful” and “intruding.” The…

Transformational travel in Costa Rica: Turning the flat world round
Costa Rica
682 views
Costa Rica
682 views

Transformational travel in Costa Rica: Turning the flat world round

Alissa Grosskopf - October 16, 2018

The sound of roaring water and the fear in my body drown out the encouraging shouts of my group behind…

Children: the future of shark protection
Changemakers
572 views
Changemakers
572 views

Children: the future of shark protection

Alissa Grosskopf - October 16, 2018

The nonprofit organization Misión Tiburón is strongly engaged in the protection of hammerhead sharks in Costa Rica. They hope to…