Okay, remember my post about Jules' Undersea Lodge, the only underwater hotel in the world? I had been thumbing through Sound Waves #5 and 6, where Rhapsody and Melody stumble across the undersea home where Sherman's family is being held captive. And a thought strikes me. I had been uncertain how to design the undersea habitat. I admit to cheating. After all, it is a fantasy series, I don't have to keep it precise as long as it serves the story. However, I think about Jules' Undersea Lodge, having been repurposed from an old marine research lab. And it starts me to thinking.
See, I'm a science nut. And I know about labs and such. Labs in an immersive environment are meant to be efficient for research, not comfortable like a home. Check out the diagrams of Skylab for a good example. Structural integrity and practicality are the key considerations, not comfort. It occurred to me that the picture I posted (which came from an article talking about it) might have been...incorrect.
A little low grade Google fu for other undersea places (I was wondering about the Atlantis resort) revealed the Poseidon Undersea Resort. It is a proposed development that was supposed to be open about September 2008. Hasn't happened yet. Boasting $30K per couple per week, it's supposed to be a chain of resorts, the beachhead (snicker) being built in the Fiji Islands. Something tells me their inspection and safety standards might not be as stringent as the US (most of your cruise ships are registered to other countries like Liberia where they aren't as picky), although I do have faith in human greed -- the place will have to be secure just to keep the lawsuits and bad publicity at bay. Anyway, one of the images I found was a proposed floorplan for one of the rooms. It was a dead ringer for what was shown in the picture. Turns out it was a concept image. Lots of other concept images, but the bottom line is, that picture was not Jules' Undersea Lodge.
When I had last tried to check the web site for Jules' Undersea Lodge, it was down. Back up again. Okay, let's check this shit out.
Ah, now THIS is more like I expect from a marine research lab! What do we have? Let's take a look at the map. You'll see it here on the left. This is the layout of the place. Just looking at this, it reminds me of a travel trailer, where you have only so much space and have to juggle the functionality to include at least some semblance of home living. I can sense some of you recoiling at the reality of the situation. Not me. As a kid, my family went camping in an over the cab camper on the back of a pick-up truck and then a fold-out camper, and when my interest in solitude became pronounced, I was perfectly happy in a pup tent for about a week, so these puzzle box type arrangements are old hat to me.
There are a few videos on YouTube about it, and it was supposedly featured in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, although I don't know which one (I just know that those pampered skinny bitches did nothing but piss and moan about the place and were glad it was just a shoot). The videos show the proprietor enthusiastically telling people about the unique experience they are about to have. Although his spiel seems a bit hucksterish (I keep thinking of things like the guy stumping for, say, the World's Largest Ball Of Twine), I can't help but agree with his sentiments. After all, this isn't something you look at and go, "What's the big deal?" Frog Rock, mercilessly mocked in Sam And Max Hit The Road, is a better example of this.
So, you dive down the 30 feet in the lagoon and get inside. What's it like? Well, once again, you're talking a former lab, with things situated for practicality, not comfort. Here's a few pics. Call me crazy, but they actually make me more intrigued about what it would be like. This is the entrance, a 5X7 opening that even a... uh... husky fellow like myself can fit through called a moonpool. For some reason, every time I see "moonpool", I keep thinking of H2O -- Just Add Water. The first thing people notice is the greenness of the water. One guy compared it to a fish tank. Dude, that's how lagoons are. They are isolated from connecting open water, so you don't get the dispersal that you get otherwise. This is especially true towards the fall. You want to see blue water? Time your trip accordingly.
Look out the window and you'll see some amazing stuff. The lagoon is a sort of nursery for reef fish. You'll see angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, snappers, anemones ("How dare you try to bribe me with amenities like anime, Annie May, my sea anemone enemy!"), sponges, oysters, and feather duster worms, although thankfully no jailbait Brooke Shields swimming around. It figures you'll see this stuff, as it was a former marine research lab (called La Chalupa. Taco Bell's done it again). It's not completely isolated...there is an umbilical that goes to the surface, supplying fresh air, water, and communications connections (wonder if they have wifi), connected to a C&C that monitors the place 24/7. As befits a research lab, it has independent systems and backups so, if something does go wrong, you have time to casually put on your gear and head out, you don't have to rush like if the Titanic is sinking. If you want to do some rough size calculations, the common room is about 8X20, so you can get a good idea of the size of the other areas based on that.
So, besides the entertainment centers (TV and VCR/DVD in each bedroom and the common room), what else is there? Dude, you get an unlimited supply of air tanks so you can frolic with the critters as much as you want. They do rent the place out for three hour stretches in case you either don't want to stay overnight or can't afford to, but that would not be my goal. This also means that, sometime in the coming year, I would have to get serious about being certified as a diver. They do offer a basic certification good enough for the day (three hour class, but it doesn't make you officially certified, you need the three day full blown course for that), but I want to be able to do whatever my heart desires and know I can handle it, so the official route is for me. For an extra $150, you can get PADI or NAUI certification as well. (I want to get certified anyway, so even if I can't go there on vacation, I can at least do dive tours while in Florida.) $500 for a night. Check in at 1300, leave the next day at 1000. Dinner is at 1800, breakfast at 0800, it is recommended you book at least a month in advance. They also offer wedding packages -- not on my radar at the moment, but nice to know if I meet another water sign as nuts as I am. There's also a visit to a local Marine excursion lab, the real thing, used by the Navy, NOAA, and other agencies for an hour at $150.
So, to review, Poseidon Undersea Resorts will be a place for $30K a week and featuring stuff you can do on land for a fraction of the cost. And then there's this place, which may not be glamorous, but DAMN this would be cool for $500 starting.
I better start a spare change jug....