A professor in Florida who spent 100 days living underwater at a Florida Keys lodge for scuba divers resurfaced Friday and saw the sun for the first time since March 1.
Dr. Joseph Dituri, known as Dr. Deep Sea, set a new record for the longest time living underwater without depressurization during his stay at Jules’ Undersea Lodge, submerged beneath 30 feet (9.14 meters) of water in a Key Largo lagoon.
“For 100 days I’ve been exploring,” Dituri said. “I’ve been exploring for life, the life of the oceans and the life for generations to come.”
Dituri shattered the previous mark of 73 days, two hours and 34 minutes set by two Tennessee professors at the same lodge in 2014. On his 74th. day, Guinness World Records listed Dituri as the record holder on its website.
Dituri spent the nearly 3 months researching how the human body and mind respond to extended exposure to extreme pressure and an isolated environment and was designed to benefit ocean researchers and astronauts on future long-term missions.
“It was never about the record,” Dituri said. “It was about extending human tolerance for the underwater world and for an isolated, confined, extreme environment.”
The University of South Florida educator, who holds a doctorate in biomedical engineering and is a retired U.S. Naval officer, conducted daily experiments and measurements to monitor how his body responded to the increase in pressure over time.
He also met online with several thousand students from 12 countries, taught a USF course and welcomed more than 60 visitors to the habitat.
“The most gratifying part about this is the interaction with almost 5,000 students and having them care about preserving, protecting and rejuvenating our marine environment,” Dituri said.
Dituri documented some of his day-to-day life underwater on Instagram.
He plans to present findings from Project Neptune 100 at November’s World Extreme Medicine Conference in Scotland.