Just like Captain Nemo you too may dream of travelling to 50,000 leagues under the sea. For any adventure traveller, it would be high on the list of places to explore, far away from any tourist spot in the world.
The Jules Verne character once philosophised, “On the surface there is hunger and fear. Men still exercise unjust laws. They fight, tear one another to pieces. A mere few feet beneath the waves their reign ceases, their evil drowns. Here on the ocean floor is the only independence. Here I am free!”
As you may or may not know, previously we discussed Virgin Galactic’s plans to take tourists to outer space for a small fee of $200,000. Now however, the group is taking a step in the opposite direction – literally.
Plans were announced some time ago for Virgin Oceanic to travel to the bottom of the ocean and into the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench. Assuming that all goes well with the group’s solo sub expedition, the company then plans to build a two-seater sub which will hold a tourist in addition to the pilot.
The journey has been made once before. In 1960, two men journeyed to the bottom of the trench in a bathyscaphe, the Trieste. Despite this, the concept of making tourist trips to the trench is something entirely new. However, just as there was a space race in the mid-to-late 20th century between the United States and Russia, we are now about to witness a ‘bottom of the ocean race’ in the years to come, with no fewer than four private companies planning to build manned submersibles capable of reaching the deepest depths of the ocean.
James Cameron, director of The Abyss and Aliens is financing the construction of one such project, whilst former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is financing another. Richard Branson obviously has his work cut out.
Just as much of space remains much of a mystery to man, so too does the deepest darkest depths of the ocean. Indeed some of the creatures which may lurk that far down would indeed be just as alien to us as Martians!
Of course, we may be some way off of an initial tourist expedition, but with the gravity of the people involved in the projects suggests you may want to start thinking about saving up now. Until then, take a look at the stars, and take a look at the ocean – and decide which one you’d like to explore the depths of first – you may only get one shot in your lifetime!