KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) — A college professor who spent 100 days living underwater at a Florida Keys lodge for divers resurfaced Friday and looked up at the sun for the first time since the 1st of March.
Dr. Joseph Dituri set a new record for the longest life underwater without depressurization while staying at Jules’ Undersea Lodge, submerged in 30 feet (9.14 meters) of water in a lagoon in Key Largo.
The diving explorer and medical researcher smashed the previous mark of 73 days, two hours and 34 minutes set by two Tennessee professors at the same lodge in 2014.
“It was never about a record,” Dituri said. “It was about extending human tolerance to the underwater world and to an isolated, confined and extreme environment.”
Dituri, who also goes by the nickname “Dr. Deep Sea,” is a University of South Florida educator, with a doctorate in biomedical engineering, and a retired U.S. Navy officer.
Guinness World Records listed Dituri as the record holder on its website after his 74th day underwater last month. The Marine Resources Development Foundation, which owns the lodge, will ask Guinness to certify Dituri’s 100-day mark, according to the head of the foundation, Ian Koblick.
Dituri’s venture, called Project Neptune 100, was organized by the foundation. Unlike a submarine, which uses technology to keep the interior pressure about the same as on the surface, the interior of the lodge is tuned to match the higher pressure found underwater.
The project aimed to learn more about how the human body and mind respond to prolonged exposure to extreme pressure and an isolated environment and was designed to benefit ocean researchers and astronauts on future long-distance missions. term.
During the three months and nine days he was underwater, Dituri conducted daily experiments and measurements to monitor how his body reacted to the increased pressure over time.
He has also met several thousand students from 12 countries online, taught a USF course, and welcomed more than 60 visitors to the habitat.
“The most rewarding part about it is interacting with nearly 5,000 students and their concern to preserve, protect and rejuvenate our marine environment,” said Dituri.
He plans to present the results of the Neptune 100 project at November’s World Extreme Medicine Conference in Scotland.