Revealed April 15, 2021

15 min read

I grew up alongside the Mediterranean fly, within the south of France. My first swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving took put on the Riviera. As time handed, and the Mediterranean changed into my professional dwelling indecent, I watched this torrentially visited fly be ravaged by unbridled constructing—and I also seen, at depths of bigger than 150 toes or so, worlds that unruffled seemed intact. Till currently, then any other time, I’d gotten top likely immediate glimpses of them. Once you’re scuba diving, it takes four to 6 hours approved to ascend from such depths; it is probably going you’ll maybe maybe must decompress slowly to steer clear of death from the bends. So time on the bottom is frustratingly short, incessantly top likely five or 10 minutes.

In July 2019 we modified that. For 28 straight days my four-man crew lived in a small, pressurized habitat on a barge within the Mediterranean, breathing a excessive-pressure mix of helium and oxygen, descending to the seafloor on an everyday foundation in a diving bell. We worked like saturation divers within the offshore oil industry—but not like such divers, who typically are tethered to a bell by an umbilical, we placed on scuba gear, with rebreathers that filtered carbon dioxide from our exhalations. That supposed we would explore the bottom freely—for hours, no longer minutes.

Because both the bell and the habitat (and the loo in between) were kept at the identical excessive pressure as the seafloor—as mighty as 13 times surface pressure—we didn’t must decompress at any time when we ascended. As an various we decompressed approved once at the discontinue of the mission, for nearly five days, sooner than opening the heavy metallic hatch of our tablet and breathing the commence air over any other time.

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