Cousteau's grandson to surface after
record underwater stay
Send a link to a friend
[July 02, 2014]
By Zachary Fagenson
MIAMI (Reuters) - Fabien Cousteau,
grandson of famed French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, is due to
emerge from the turquoise waters off the Florida Keys on Tuesday
morning, marking the end of a record-breaking, 31-day stay inside an
underwater habitat with a team of scientists and documentary filmmakers.
The younger Cousteau, 46, along with two "aquanauts," took the
60-foot (18-meter) dive to Aquarius, a 43-foot-long (18-meter-long)
laboratory resting off of Key Largo, on June 1 following years of
preparation and delay.
While Cousteau's goal was to attract more support for ocean
conservation, teams of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology and Northeastern University rotated through the
laboratory studying the impact of changing seas on underwater life.
The ability to live underwater allowed researchers to leave the
habitat several times a day, including the middle of the night, to
collect samples from nearby coral reefs and observe marine life in
otherwise impossible circumstances.
Aquarius is air conditioned and equipped with wireless Internet
access, a shower, a bathroom and six bunks, as well as portholes
that give the occupants a 24-hour view of the surrounding marine
Despite a successful trip the month-long stay called Mission 31
wasn't without its challenges.
"One night the air conditioning stopped working and it got to 95
degrees (35 C) and 95 percent humidity," said Andrew Shantz, a Ph.D.
candidate in marine eco-science at Florida International University,
who spent 17 days in the lab in the beginning of June.
[to top of second column]
"We saw a Goliath Grouper attack a big barracuda, which is something
I never imagined happening," Shantz said.
The previous record for living under water was held by Cousteau's
grandfather, who in 1963 spent 30 days in a similar facility in
depths of about 30 feet (9 meters) in the Red Sea.
(Editing by David Adams and Sandra Maler)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.