Under the Sea

Mankind over time lost one or another item to the sea; mostly ships and airoplanes, and archeologists are happy when they recover more or less well-preserved specimina. Well known examples are f.e. the Vasa (Ger., Eng.) (sent to the bottom by a devious gust of wind on her maiden voyage on 10th of August 1628), the Oseberg ship (Ger., Eng.) (here‘s a list of other historic Norwegian ships and boats), or the Brandtaucher (Ger., Eng.), the first working submersible of the Reichsflotte. Divers enjoy more or less the visit of wrecks and some of them – wrecks – are notorious and well know today, especially in areas where scuba diving is a touristic amusement and offer, f.e. in the Red Sea. The SS Thistlegorm shall be mentioned representative for others.

But diving is hard work and having a resting place at hand would be nice, why not built a house? Through the 1950s and 1960s underwater stations were constructed, tested and used, serious scientific research was done. Most of these stations were movable and in fact were removed after having served their purposes. As I see it only Jules’ Undersea Lodge was kept and transformed into a kind of hotel. The only active and regularly used undersea research station today is AQUARIUS Reef Base. The undersea laboratory is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and managed by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). (The NOAA has also an interesting collection of photographs.)

Historical undersea habitats are listed in the Habitat Archive, sadly the English page does not to work but it is a starting point. The 1969 SEALAB III seems to have reached the deepest point with more than 180 meters, tragically a deadly accident occurred and the project was ceased.  But not only the Americans did research in this field, Europeans too were interested in the underwater possibilities. The 1968 German station HELGOLAND today can be visited in the Nautineum departement of the Deutsche Meeresmuseum. But all these devices are closely related to submarines, they are moving, transport their crew to the bottom of the sea, shelter them there and bring them back – in a way they are giant decompression chambers (Ger., Eng.).
I think besides JULES’ aforementioned Sea Lodge only Jacques-Yves COUSTEAU (Ger., Eng.) built lasting structures under the surface of the sea, the remains can be visited still today. The projects CONSHELF or PRECONTINENT I to III were realized 1962 near Marseilles, 1963 in the Red Sea and 1965 near Nice. The remains of 1963 are still visible (examples here and more here, beware pics are free to look but not free to use!).
The French seem to have a special relation to the sea and embrace modern technical possibilities, but whether the SEA ORBITER will ever drift across the oceans may at least be questioned – I am admittedly a complete bloody layman regarding technical things. Other ideas include floating homes, interesting cliff houses and landscape design – whether it will look like this?

I myself will not swim to look at COUSTEAU’s crumbling ruins in shark infested waters, but would like to sit in the Red Sea Star and work my way through the bar. Is there a drink called Calypso?

13 thoughts on “Under the Sea

  1. If there is not a drink called a calypso then perhaps we could have fun inventing one… Blue curacao white rum….

    Sea monkeys are , i think a species of “Brine Shrimp” Able to withstand periods of dryness then re hatch once water is added.
    We have some that live in the puddles formed in the eroded depressions up on top of Ayres Rock/Uluru in central Australia.
    They appear after the rains and then once the water dries up so do they until the next rain.. Facinating things.
    When I lived in North Queensland i would recularly travel to the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel. Such a wonderful world below the waves…

  2. Dear Princess, White Rum and curacao is definitely a good start. White rum goes well with a fine mild cigarillo, maybe from Equador.
    These monkeys are so to speak “instant creatures” – add water and it’s alive. I wonder how that works, there must be a basical chemical reaction.
    I never swam in an open ocean, only in the Mediterranean Sea and the Ostsee, a small part of the Northern sea in the North-East of Germany, an inland sea. No sharks, but jellyfish!

  3. I had the pleasure of swimming in the Pacific Ocean. I didn’t like the salt that covered me. You needed to check tides because it effected how far was beach or water. Only had to get out once because of sharks. I managed to wade in both oceans in one day. Panama is not too wide of a country.
    Down in the ocean or up in space- the problems are alike. Stay safe and have a great week.

  4. I would like to learn how to scuba but never had the time or the money. Have done some snorkeling. It was great. I think it would be nice to stay in that underwater hotel but it would be nice if that hotel could move about to see different parts of the ocean.

  5. Joyce
    You swam in two oceans, me in none – on average every human swam in one ocean.
    Interesting that you mention space – in one of the sixties’ stations one of the early astronauts was serving too, I think in a Sealab. They surely could have used such a submarine station to simulate a space station or a space voyage. I remember that there was a German tv science fiction series where they started their crafts from submarine stations, for whatever reasons. And in the eighties some lakes in Southern America were saied to house stations of extraterrestial crafts. Think I will have to do some research about this.

    You need to charter a submarine. It should be possible. After all it’s no magick to have such a machine built and when people built yachts …. I wonder whether cruize ships have something like viewing platforms under the waterline? And there is always Sea Orbiter.

    As long as you enjoy reading here, Chandrika Shubham, all is well.

    Oh Scarlet, was it when your Puschel became wet? How unfashionable!

  6. Really Austere? I have seen your great pictures of the Mumbai waterfront, beaches and the view from high buildings – is it not tempting to set sail?
    Maybe it is the idea only, the big promise of what is behind the horizon, the imagination … I read about the writing and the telling, by a Swizz writer named Peter Bichsel. I think I will have to translate something of his lectures.

  7. Maybe they will find my 1st pocket knife. Given to me by my grandpa at age 13. An essential for every rural kid. Still carry one, but have to remember to leave it in the car when going to the airport. City people look at me funny when I pull it out for something useful. What evil things do they think I am going to do with it? Rob squirrels? It’s a 2-inch blade!!!!!

    Other things I lost in the ocean:
    – circa 1980’s “Jelly shoes” (plastic shoes)
    -a pair of pants
    both items lost while digging for clams. Suddenly looked up and realized I had been moving in with the tide and didn’t know it. Pants and shoes were long gone by then.

  8. Nimh – what a great joy to see you here!
    This must have been a moment of panic. All of a sudden allis under water and one has to find orientation. I still have my pocket knives, and some knives from my father. I sometimes carry a very small one with one blade, a screwdriver and a corkscrew. Usefull item.

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