KEY LARGO, FLORIDA — A Florida man set a new record for the most consecutive days spent underwater without depressurization, but he’s not coming up for fresh air just yet.
Over the weekend, University of South Florida professor Joseph Dituri broke the previous record of 73 consecutive days set in 2014, the AP reports. He took the plunge on March 1 and plans to stay submerged until he reaches day 100 on June 9.
Dituri – an explorer, medical researcher and retired U.S. Navy officer – is staying in Jules’ Undersea Lodge as part of Marine Resources Development Foundation’s Project Neptune 100. The project aims to bring awareness to the need for oceanic conservation efforts while Dituri conducts research at the bottom of a 30-foot-deep mangrove lagoon.
The Foundation was started in 1970 by Ian Koblick, an author and undersea living pioneer. Koblick initially designed the lodge as a laboratory before later turning it into a commercial and educational facility where patrons can stay overnight.
The Lodge owns the distinction of being the “first underwater research lab to have ever been made accessible to the average person,” as well as the “first and only underwater hotel where scuba diving is the only way to get to your room.”
Dituri – who earned the nickname Dr. Deep Sea – says he has been enjoying his stay and stays busy teaching online classes from his aquatic office. In addition to working out, napping and eating microwaved meals, Dr. Deep Sea routinely monitors his condition in order to measure how the extreme pressure is impacting his body.
“The record is a small bump and I really appreciate it,” Dituri told AP. “I’m honored to have it, but we still have more science to do.”