Project Journal, September 17th, 2012: “My dreams come true!”


Aquarius HabitatThere are three big things that fascinated me when I was little and made me decide that diving was going to be a big part of my life. Two of them are, of course, the movie “The Big Blue” and “Captain Cousteau”. And the third one? My parents being loyal subscribers of National Geographic, in 1986 when I was 7, we received a new issue and there I read about the Aquarius Habitat. Reading this as a kid to me was equivalent to reading about the princesses in 1001 nights to any other girl.

What is the Aquarius Habitat? It is an underwater living environment, an underwater house basically, where divers can spend days, and even weeks, living under the sea without returning to land. This allows them to conduct scientific missions and experiments with the benefit of being able to observe their subjects, be it reefs, fish, and other species, on a constant basis. The habitat is also used for the training of astronauts as these conditions are the closest to space they will encounter. On a typical mission, Aquanauts spend 10-14 days living in the habitat, and can dive 5-6 hours every day, return to the habitat, eat and sleep, and be ready to do it all over again the next day. How great is that?!

When I read about it as a 7 year old, the concept of such a place to live underwater was so amazing to me, for years and years I dreamt of it, played games where I’d pretend that my tent in my room was the Aquarius base and go on diving missions from there. But throughout all these years I never paid attention to where it was, as it was simply somewhere so far that I would never go. And a few months ago Aquarius was in the news again and I could not believe it is right here and it is still functional!!! I could have even driven our boat over it as we go diving and not know. Imagine my happiness as I find out that I can dive in the place of my childhood dreams, in the place that’s one of the biggest reasons why I dive.

But, it was in the news not because of another one of its exciting missions this time. Aquarius is not only the longest running habitat project in the world, now active since 1986, but it also, sadly, the only one left. And its continued operation is being threatened by budget cuts, so we want to do our part and help bring attention to this great place. On this episode, we will take you INSIDE the habitat, show you all the fascinating components of this complex operation, as well as all of its support facilities, including its surface support unit and its land base. This will be one amazing episode!

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