Posted by: Saul Rosser
This morning we sent six of our friends to live beneath the sea. They submerged before us and then surfaced a short time later in an underwater research station 46 feet down. We now watch them on closed circuit television screens in our control room and see them turning the research station into a home.
Today, Lead Habitat Technician James Talacek, Habitat Technician Ryan Lapete, Dr. Mark Patterson, Dr. Dale Stokes, Dr. Sylvia Earle and renowned underwater cinematographer D.J. Roller moved into Aquarius where they will spend seven days sharing the excitement, the adventure, and the wonder of living beneath the sea. This mission is focused on celebrating the 50 years that have passed since Jacques Cousteau put history’s first habitat, Conshelf I, 33 feet underwater off Marseille, France. It was therefore fitting that this afternoon the Aquanauts at Aquarius Reef Base were accompanied offshore by Jacques’ grandson Fabien Cousteau. I am too young to have experienced the days of the Conshelf projects, but they have nonetheless had an immense impact on my life. When I was 11 years old, I found a copy of a National Geographic Magazine from April 1964 with a cover story called “At Home in the Sea” by Captain Cousteau. Cousteau described his second habitat project called Conshelf II that included a main house called ‘Starfish’, a ‘Deep Cabin’ and a hanger for a diving saucer. Conshelf II was the first step in truly colonizing the sea floor and it had me hooked. I read Cousteau’s article dozens of times and it set the course for my life.
Twenty-one years after my life was changed forever by Captain Cousteau, and 50 years after Conshelf I proved that saturation diving could work, thereby unlocking the ability to spend almost limitless time at home beneath the sea, we are embarking on one of the most exciting projects in the history of habitats and saturation diving. I couldn’t feel more privileged to be a part of this adventure.
With Dr. Sylvia Earle as our leader and the amazingly talented underwater cinematographer D.J. Roller of Liquid Pictures putting together an amazing media group, this mission is an unprecedented opportunity to bring the public beneath the waves to experience the wonder of living beneath the sea. I hope that those of you who join us in person, online, in print, on TV, in the theater and on the radio will leave inspired to make a difference to the world we live in. I hope that you will be inspired to find the passion in your life just as Captain Cousteau inspired me to find the passion in mine.
As an exciting and inspiring day comes to an end, I will sign off with wishes of a comforting rest for our aquanauts in their new home and thoughts of the new adventures that tomorrow might bring.
Aquarius Reef Base