As any good documentary will testify, the only natural environment still largely unexplored on Earth is the ocean. Diving into its depths like Cousteau, Captain Nemo or Switzerland’s Auguste Piccard, who reached just under 11,000 metres in the Mariana Trench with the bathyscaphe Trieste, is now possible thanks to the new generation of submarines for personal use.
Only 10% of the ocean floor is currently known, meaning that it has been mapped, photographed or visited at least once. The remaining 90% remains unexplored and brimming with mystery. The desire for adventure only partly explains the success and popularity of these small submersibles that are able to bring amateurs, scientists and explorers up to 4,000 metres below sea level without the need for any particular procedure, hyperbaric chamber or other device.
There is also the curiosity-driven desire to literally get to the bottom of things, the need for adventure, for exploring hidden corners where no one has ever been before and taking away unique and unrepeatable memories. Coral reefs, the Arctic and Antarctic, and the wrecks of the Mediterranean are suddenly within reach.
Small three- to six-seater submarines such as the Triton 3300 MKII,
have an autonomy of 12 hours and can reach depths up to 1,000 m. Weighing in at 8 tonnes, they require a “mothership” equipped with a good launching system. The cost? From $3.5 million.
For those who want to go further, in a spirit of adventure or for more reflective scientific research and other professional purposes, Triton is also producing a
13000/2 TE or Titanic Explorer model, named after the first crewed Triton mission that reached the wreck of the Titanic in August 2019.
Its ability to reach -4,000 metres enables exploration of ocean depths and research on marine life. When diving, the “gull wings” offer unparalleled versatility of operation. With the wings retracted, the submersible ascends, descends and turns around on itself. When extended, the wings serve as a platform for lighting and cameras, ideal for macro work, scientific observation or close-up shooting.
Obviously scientists, geologists, researchers and marine biologists are the first target for submarine manufacturers. We owners will simply put our toys at their disposal, and we will accompany them deep into the sea to find out if it’s true, as Sebastian says, that “even the sturgeon and the ray, they get the urge and start to play”!