Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The sinking feeling

The news is featuring the triumph of movie mogul James Cameron to become the third person to go down into the Mariana Trench, 36,000 feet, or 11 kms deep.

Another mega-rich man , Richard Branson, ex- hot air balloonist and space tourist entrepenour, is planning to penetrate the Atlantic’s deepest point, the Puerto Rico Trench.
‘It’s enormously exciting that the oceans can now be explored and we have the vehicles to do that,’ Branson told AFP from his private Necker Island in the Caribbean.

Google's Eric Schmidt has helped to finance another sub being built by a US marine technology company called Doer Marine.

Charles Kohnen, co-founder of submarine builders SEAmagine, said his craft retail at between $1 million and $3 million with the annual upkeep of $15,000-$20,000. One recent private client has a specially designed 82 foot (25 meter) catamaran with a helicopter deck and submersible launch. Another didn’t need any particular design changes to hold his submersible, but that’s only because he has a 280 foot (85 meter) ‘luxury ship.’

A company called US Submarines offers the ‘Nomad,’ described as having an interior equivalent to a personal jet plane, the ‘Seattle,’ comparable in comfort to a large yacht, and the amazing ‘Phoenix.’ This vessel, a full 213 feet (65 meters) long, would be able to cross an ocean, diving whenever weather got rough, and has so much room it would carry its own mini-sub. At $78 million, according to its website, the ‘Phoenix’ exists only on paper, but could be built as soon as a buyer ordered. ‘It’s going to take someone who’s a little bit extravagant..."

Triton submarines, a Florida-based submersible company, intends to build a sub with a giant glass sphere at its centrepiece to take tourists down to the deepest ocean for $250,000 a ticket.

Submarines - yet just another exclusive hobby for the super-rich. And for Cameron - another hopefully block-buster movie to be made.

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