“Any women around”, he said as he popped his head out and up from the opened hatch “Totally Frigg… Awesome!!”
Such was the first words as he had just finished his first dive experience in the Triton submarine.
It was about to be my turn, so I was in tender and we had left the yacht and motored over to the submarine which had just surfaced and as I sat there waiting for me to be able to board the submarine to take the previous passenger’s place.
There was no escaping his words and his face which was lit up with joy and excitement over the experience and his enthusiasm was contagious. He came over into the tender and I handed my cameras to a helping crew member so that they could get into dry safety of the submarine before I would make my own way over onto and into the submarine.
Finally it was my turn to step over to the submarine. The pontoons gave amble stepping platform and the strong frame construction which basically holds the sphere in place make for great grips to steady yourself and also acts as a ladder so that you can get on the top of the sphere easily and step inside through the hatch.
The submarine’s movement and direction is controlled by a joystick which sits dead center inside the sphere right between the two seats, between passenger seat and captain’s seat. The joystick mount conveniently tilts forward to reveal a step that you use when you step inside the submarine making entry easy.
The cockpit consists in this specific version of two seats next to each other with the joy stick controls in in between. Behind the seats are most of the controls and gauges including two big dials for the depth rating. Between the seats are also a couple of rather important valves to control buoyancy for diving as not least raising to the surface again when you finish the dive.
My captain is Jim who commences the entire experience after having secured the hatch closed and locked by giving me an essential emergency briefing – including instructions on what to do in case he would be incapacitated.
There resting perfectly on the surface even in the slightly choppy water, the feel is entirely perfectly balanced. A great view of the ocean, the sky and the sun. Of the tender and further away the beautiful Trinity luxury yacht, Mine Games, making the perfect backdrop towards the sea and to the other side sight of land of the Bahamas.
As air is vented out and the submarine commences its dive and the water sloshes up along the outside of the sphere and slowly reveals a perfect under and over view for just a moment until the water rolls on top of you finally placing you completely below the surface.
Like stated before, I have no more nervousness about being in the relatively small enclosure and by the water masses that are engulfing us as we commence the dive. In fact my nervousness now is all about not missing anything of this experience. So my eyes are flickering all around and my head seems to be all over the place changing from following what Captain Jim is doing in order to submerge the submarine, to getting the look and feel of the water closing up along the outside of the sphere until it finally en-capsules us completely, to registering the light and color changes as we “fall” deeper into the water column, to seeing Robert who is free diving just outside the cockpit and video filming us, back again to monitoring the depth gauges, back down to follow the turns of a valve or two and studying Jim who is closely monitoring the extra oxygen sensors to ensure that we are breathing the right gas, to noticing the sound and visuals of the bubbles and hissing of air.
I am almost stressed about not wanting to miss a beat here. This is sooo awesome and I do not want to miss out on one little bit. I am interchanging between photographing and videofilming and try to do both at the same time, while again simultaneously trying to get it all in also without having to look through the viewfinders all the time.
So here we are. Completely dry in a sphere that gives amble room and even has a little air conditioning going so that the climate quickly becomes really pleasant. At only one atmosphere yet going deeper than I have ever been before and securing that we will have no need for decompressing. In fact within two hours or so after having completed the dive we will be back on the plane bound for Florida – in other words from diving at 600 plus feet to an altitude of over 30,000 feet in a span of just a few hours. Something completely unheard of in conventional diving.
Since the submarine is basically a perfect sphere with pontoons and a frame and built in a way to minimize obstruction to your view, we are privy to a beautiful panoramic experience that begins even at the surface.
The light is fantastic. Not just because we are in a beautiful bounty spot of the world – in the Bahamas – but also because of the almost completely unobstructed sphere it is still so bright under the surface that we are still wearing our sunglasses a bit yet. For a moment I test the sight by lifting up my sunglasses away from my eyes, but it is actually still too bright and we are already a bit underneath the surface.
The colors are fantastic! From brightest light when you look upwards towards the sun through the water column to light blue hues surrounding you to deeper blues below you until the deepest blue if not black way down.
Robert is still holding up out side the submarine doing his free diving and he is doing good, holding his breath well and actually going pretty deep (I am actually quite impressed), but of course it won’t be long before he has to give up following us as we descend quietly further into the depth and we wave off to each other.
The blue hues become deeper and darker and it is time to take off the sunglasses and we continue our descend wiles on occasion noticing the readings on the depth gauges and the oxygen meters, showing a pretty perfect balance of 20.9% – same as in the air we breathe on the surface.
Darker and darker, deeper and deeper.
(to be continued….)