In November of 2018 Aquatica Submarines shipped a three person submarine, Stingray 500, across frosty North America on the back of a truck then over the rolling winter seas of the Gulf of Mexico to Belize aboard the R/V Brooks McCall. Our destination was a site located 7 miles into Lighthouse Reef – a perfect sinkhole in the ocean known as the Great Blue Hole. We traveled to this UNESCO World Heritage site to explore and document a geologic phenomenon in support of conservation science and to conduct outreach.
When the divers finally come out of the chamber, the adjustment is both emotional and physical. They emerge pale and disoriented, like prisoners released from solitary, drained and irritable, body clocks out of whack. Tweddle finds it hard to train his body not to eat quite so much. He has to be on guard for waistline expansion since there are now strict body mass index guidelines for North Sea divers.
Hovey owns some land in the central Texas pine woods, and he usually spends a few days there alone before trying to reintegrate with the noise and chaos of family life. His kids give him a wide berth after a job, and he and his wife like to start dating all over again as a way to reconnect. It’s hard to shake the feeling that he is in suspended animation while in sat, even though life goes on. “My family is constantly trying to grow and be better versions of themselves,” he says. “Sometimes being away for work, I get left in the dust.”
A fascinating piece by Jen Banbury on what might just be the most bizarre job in the world.