A MAN revealed how he quit living on land and relocated to a watery home 63ft under the sea where the views were breathtaking.
Fabien Cousteau gave up his brick-and-mortar home to live in an underwater research lab beneath the waves in Florida.
The record-breaking aquanaut called the lab home for 31 days as he bobbed 63ft below the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Cousteau's underwater home was the size of a single-story school bus and housed five other people.
He lived in the lab as part of a project named Mission 31 where he was subjected to grueling physical conditions as his body adapted to the higher nitrogen content.
There was a significant risk of nitrogen narcosis and skin rashes, but luckily the team escaped with nothing but ear infections.
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"There are side effects like losing your sense of taste and a slight narcosis effect," he told the Daily Mail in 2014.
"Trying to eat enough calories is tough. You can snack all day but your body burns three times as many just trying to stay warm. I lost six pounds in a month," he added.
During the month-long stay, the oceanographic explorer revealed that the air conditioning breaking left the team of six miserable for a full 24 hours.
The lab reached almost 37C and 100 per cent humidity inside as he likened the environment to that of the Amazon Rainforest.
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Cousteau and his team worked on studying the behaviour of octopuses, hammerhead sharks, spotted eagle rays, eels, and sponges. while they were on board the underwater lab.
They collected a total of three years' worth of scientific data during the month they were 63ft down under.
But it wasn't just the physical challenges that made his underwater stay difficult – the adventurer revealed that there was one significant thing he missed the most on the stay.
While on board the metal vessel, Cousteau said he missed his "second home" but the views from his small window made it all worthwhile.
"It was just amazing to have a fireworks display of life outside your porthole," he said.
"It was a bittersweet moment [surfacing] having left the kaleidoscope of action to the silence of the boat – and the occasional bird above. Although the sweet part was seeing friends and family," he added.
The team also passed the time in their watery garden by carrying out fun experiments among themselves.
One included cracking an egg in the water to watch it float eerily in a ball before a fish ate it– and opening a bottle of shaken-up cola.
After the expedition finished, Cousteau said: "I didn't know how I was going to react – physically, psychologically – [but] it was amazing how much it felt like home."
But almost a decade on from his underwater stay, Cousteau's latest project – the Proteus Ocean Group – is pushing for their own plans to construct the "International Ocean Space Station" beneath Caribbean waters.
Proteus is now working alongside the Naval Undersea Warfare Centre in Newport, Rhode Island, to generate ideas about underwater habitat design and mission operations.
The Proteus plan, first announced in 2020, is to build a futuristic underwater habitat off the island of Curaçao where scientists, aquanauts, private citizens, and global customers can study the ocean environment for extended periods of time.
The habitat is set to provide scientific laboratories, robotics, access to training ranges, living accommodations, and a digital video production facility to deliver live-streaming for research and educational programming, says the group.
Cousteau also believes that humans will one day live full-time in underwater cities – and that it may happen sooner than we might imagine.
"The technology’s there and there are practical reasons that make it challenging, but there is overcrowding on land," he said.
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He also highlighted that if governments and counties across the globe were willing to dedicate funding to the idea, then we could start seeing ocean cities as soon as tomorrow.
Front-end engineering on Cousteau's Proteus labs started in 2022, with the habitat set to be put on the sea bottom in 2025.
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