Fabien Cousteau has ground beneath his feet after spending a record 31 days in an underwater laboratory. Fabien’s love for the ocean is one shared in the family. His 31 days below the water broke a previous record set by his grandfather who spend 30 days in a similar habitat beneath the Red Sea in 1963.
“I think it’s paramount to learn more about the ocean, not just for science, which is incredibly important, but also for ourselves,” Cousteau said in an interview with National Geographic. “This is our life support system. Otherwise, we are just a little brown rock in space like all the others. There’s no such thing as healthy people without a healthy ocean.”
Cousteau wasn’t alone for much of his time underwater. Research teams from Florida International University, Northeastern University and MIT joined him for two-week stretches during the expedition.
What was Cousteau’s home for those 31 days? It was a 43-foot long Aquarius lab decked out with air-conditioning, six bunk beds, a bathroom, mini-kitchen and portholes to watch passing marine life. It even had Wi-Fi. Hell, give me an iPad with Netflix on it and I’ll chill down there for 31 days.
Kidding aside, Cousteau and the research teams did important work while in the Aquarius lab. FIU researchers tested new sonar equipment and conducted experiments to see how climate change and pollution affected a nearby reef.
“The FIU researchers have accomplished more than six months’ worth of data gathering in just two weeks because they were here, living under the sea in this undersea habitat,” Cousteau said to the Associated Press. “This highlights how important a habitat is for scientific research as well as outreach.”
Not all 31 days went off without a hitch. One FIU researcher noted one sweltering night which saw the AC break and temps shot up to 95 degrees with 95% humidity. You can’t even escape Florida’s humidity 63 feet below the surface.