Never let it be said that billionaire adventurer Richard Branson doesn’t have a flair for the dramatic. Not only is the flamboyant Brit working hard to offer space tourism to the masses, he’s also looking to plumb the depths of the ocean too, promising to deliver personal underwater vehicles for the rest of us as well.
According to this story from Popular Mechanics, Branson has joined forces with Hawkes Ocean Technologies to design and build the Necker Nymph (or Deep Flight Merlin), which the entrepreneur will keep on-sight at his resort in the British Virgin Islands. The craft will shuttle two passengers, along with a pilot, around the ocean floor, offering amazing views of the scenery around them. Cost for a week’s rental? $113,000. Yikes!
As for Hawkes, they say that they are already at work on their next generation vehicle, which will be able to dive down as low as 35,000 feet beneath the surface. It’ll be powered by jet engine technology and will be controlled by a joystick much the same way as a fighter plane. The craft is expected to allow access to ocean depths that have not been readily accessed before. The cost for the prototype has reportedly already already surpassed $670,000 just in builder’s fees.
I have to say, these are pretty cool vehicles. Well out of my price range mind you, but I’d love to take one for a spin. What a cool way to explore the ocean, cruising along the Great Barrier Reef or off the coast of Belize would be amazing. I want one! 🙂