The New York Times science blog Tierney Labs has a great post about an underwater exploration of Monterey Bay from the Super Falcon, a winged submersible vessel. The Super Falcon, engineered with the same principles that keep airplanes flying through our skies, can travel much faster than traditional deep-water submarines. It can dive to 1,000 feet, and two people can travel underwater in it for up to 24 hours at a time.
Photo by Guillermo Söhnlein, from Flickr
Graham Hawkes of Hawkes Ocean Technologies is testing the submersible right now on Monterey Bay, as you can see from the photo above. The New York Times article - and the associated video - paint a wonderful picture of what the ocean looks like deep under the waves. Hawkes, who holds the record for deepest solo dive ever, also tells a fun story of stalking a gang of hammerhead sharks in a similar vessel around a Pacific island.
He explains the principles behind the underwater flyer here:
A recent article from CNet has more details on the engineering of the vessel. If you want to take a closer look at the ship, it's docked at the Coast Guard Pier when it's not underwater.
According to an interview with USA Today, Hawkes plans to market trips in this deep-sea submarine to the same sort of clientele who will be flying into space on Virgin Galactic. If you have a spare $15,000, you can participate in a three-day underwater flight school. Feeling a little strapped for cash? $5,000 will buy you a half-day lesson.
For those of us in the cheap seats, there's still the opportunity to enjoy underwater views of Monterey Bay. Take a tour without stepping away from your computer. Google Earth now has fantastic views of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, as seen in this video: