A US researcher has set a new record for the longest period of time spent underwater without depressurisation.
Joseph Dituri has been at the bottom of a 30-foot-deep lagoon in Key Largo, Florida, for more than 74 days.
And he has no plans to slow down anytime soon. He announced on Sunday that he would be staying at Jules’ Undersea Lodge for at least 100 days.
“My thirst for knowledge has led me here,” he explained.
“From the beginning, my goal has been to inspire future generations by interviewing scientists who study life undersea and learning how the human body functions in extreme environments,” he added.
The previous record for the most days spent living underwater at ambient pressure – 73 – was set in 2014 in the same Key Largo lodge by two professors.
The lodge, unlike a submarine, does not use technology to compensate for the increased underwater pressure.
Prof Dituri, also known as Dr Deep Sea, began his journey on March 1st at Jules’ Undersea Lodge, a small room at the bottom of a lagoon in the Florida Keys.
It is named after Jules Verne, the author of the well-known science-fiction novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
The University of South Florida professor is studying how the human body reacts to long-term exposure to extreme pressure for the project, dubbed Project Neptune 100.
Using a battery of medical tests, researchers are studying the 55-year-old’s health as well as the psychological effects of being isolated and confined for so long.
However, his time spent underwater has not prevented him from performing his professorial duties. According to the University of South Florida, Prof Dituri, who also served in the Navy for 28 years, is teaching biomedical engineering classes online while living in the lagoon.
To keep himself busy, the professor gets up at 5:00 a.m. every day to exercise. He reportedly stays full by eating protein-rich meals like eggs and salmon that he can reheat in his microwave.
While his underwater stay has been groundbreaking, he is eager to resume his above-ground activities.
“The thing that I miss the most about being on the surface is literally the sun,” he told the Associated Press.