Land legs for aquanaught
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From ABC Goulburn Murray

 

I have no idea why, but I was fascinated by this bloke. He's an idiot, but good luck to him. He lived under water for 2 weeks, creating his own energy by riding a bike and growing plants, all in a shipping container under water I hear NASA is wanting to hire him...dunno who's more foolish.

 
Land legs for aquanaught

He has been called everything from visionary to mad scientist but this afternoon marine biologist Lloyd Godson claimed the title he’d always dreamt of; aquanaught.

The title successfully earnt after the 29 year old spent 12 days living underwater in what he himself has dubbed “a recycled steel box”.

Called the bioSUB project, Lloyd has long dreamt of living underwater but it wasn’t until he won the Australian Geographic ‘live your dream wildest adventure competition’ in 2006, that the project went full steam ahead.

The bioSUb project saw Lloyd surviving in an underwater shipping container and relying on a Biocoil for survival. The Biocoil is described as a photosynthetic bioreactor that uses algae to absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen for breathing.

Today members of the bioSUB crew, supporters, friends, family, fans and media gathered at the ‘Pit' near the Wonga Wetlands in Albury to officially welcome Lloyd back to land. With a countdown reminiscent of New Years Eve, all were please to see a grinning yet slighter Lloyd emerge from the bioSUB safe and sound; this was despite Lloyd leaving the pit for a few hours yesterday following concern over Lloyd’s blood pressure.

 

“I woke up in the morning feeling a little off, not 100 hundred per cent and I let my crew know about it early on…when you are taking risks like this you have to be very responsible so it was important to me that I let my crew know that I wasn’t feeling so well and we kept a close eye on me. I spoke to my psychologist in the U.S. and she also kept a close eye on me, we kept in contact on the phone over the day and I had some medical professionals, diver medical technicians here and also nurses on the phone down there.”

“We kept an eye on my blood pressure and towards late afternoon it started to soar above what we said was acceptable limits for me to be down there. I wasn’t happy spending the night with those kinds of limits so I popped out and went back in this morning once I was given the all clear for the welcoming.”

Despite the change of plans, Lloyd wasn’t disappointed coming out ahead of schedule; “Not at all I’ve achieved my twelve days under there and haven’t had a hitch, so for me it was about a matter of being smart I could have easily stayed down there and slept another night but for me it wasn’t worth the risk I just said 'It's not worth it, I’m not feeling well, I’m not feeling one hundred per cent, what is there to gain from being down here?'. I wouldn’t say I was unwell my blood pressure was indicating that it was rising and I didn’t want to have it rising overnight when I was sleeping, I have 24 hour support up here monitoring me it but it wasn’t a risk I was willing to take at this stage of the project I had achieved what I wanted to achieve and I had done that for twelve days…time to make a smart decision and come out.”

For the official welcome back Lloyd was met at the bioSUb by Dad Russell in a canoe; “I had my Dad come out and do that and also Des the director of the dive school here, they have been mates for a long time and it was a pretty special moment for them as well as myself and everyone here that has been following the project for the last few weeks.”

“I was a bit overwhelmed when I first surfaced, my father and I both shared a few tears out there, obviously a lot of pride coming from him very proud of his son for what he has achieved and I’m very proud of what Dad has inspired me to do over the years, he has always taught me to take risks and go for it and that is exactly what I’ve done here and I guess he’s happy to see me pull something off so big as this so that was a special moment for both of us.”

“It is a pretty amazing feeling, 12 days under water. It went by pretty quick, I thought it was going to drag on and on and on, but 12 days passed pretty quickly. I was kept busy by people visiting, as you can see around me there are a whole bunch of people that have been turning up on a regular basis and bombarding me with questions and emails. We have got people here from play groups and pre schools that have built model bioSUB’s in a classroom and one kid that is even going to lock himself up on Thursday and see what it is like to spend a day in a confined space; we are going to compare results next week when I go and visit him.”

“There’s a whole bunch (of psychological challenges) There’s the psychological challenge of just being in a confined space for that long for a start. There is equipment things, you always have got little issues with equipment but we had a fantastic team up here that were able to resolve all those issues pretty promptly and we were constantly making improvements to things that were going on down there and trying to optimise my living conditions. Considering what has been achieved here it went amazingly smooth so I couldn’t have asked for a better two weeks really and a better team to help me out.”

“I’ve been getting emails from people in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Italy I was in the front pages papers there in the U.S. on the Good Morning America show BBC World News and then Canada was ringing the other night it has just gone everywhere. I didn’t expect it to go much outside of Albury/Wodonga so I’ve been pretty shocked in that regard.”

“(Each day) I would wake up fairly early about 730 and sometimes I would have interviews on (radio) breakfast shows so I would start with and then I would run through a few things down there and do my psychological tests and then potter, then at 1030 I do my webcasts; I’d do two live webcasts a day to kids across Australia and sometimes people logged in from overseas so that was fantastic and I’d give them a virtual tour of the habitat, I had the wireless internet down there so I was able to show them around with the webcam. They were fascinated sometimes those talks went from a planned 20-30 minutes to an hour and a half where the questions wouldn’t stop.”

“After that I would have the divers bring down lunch and things and I would do some more measurements at lunch time and basically my time was filled in with talking to people that come to visit. There has been lots of interest from people who came to visit especially from little kids who have been on the intercom all day, it has attracted a lot of visitors which I didn’t expect either, but being the Easter school holidays we had people from Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Jervis Bay, we had people from Holland and Canada who dropped by who had heard about this guy in a box when they went to the pub the night before.”

“It’s a little bit wacky to spend two weeks in a steel box made out of recycled materials, so that was the most rewarding part for me, living my dream but also sharing it with the kids and seeing their reaction I never could have expected them to react in the way they did and it has been really nice to see that but not just children we have had people here older as well that have still been fascinated.”

“I would love to do it again, I’ve already got some notes jotted down on bits of paper down there with things I’d like to try and improvements I’d like to make. It’s a fascinating concept living underwater and doing that in a sustainable manner and it’s been a really fun project and drawn in a lot of fun people who are really passionate about what they do including us and that has been educating people about sustainable energies and different ways of living.”

As a result of the project, NASA bioengineer and aquanaught Dennis Chamberland has invited Lloyd to take part in a life support experiment he will be conducting in the United States in 2009. “A lot of the data I’ve collected here about what I’ve achieved will be used in a habitat program that he has got planned for 2009. He (David) has invited me over to for three to five days and that is going to be using a similar plant based life support so once we analyse all the results from what I’ve downloaded here on the gas monitor, we will be able to see what percentage of my air supplies I was able to generate and how we can improve on that for future habitats, but basically we have paved the way for future experiments in this fields so I couldn’t be happier with that it’s a good start.”

“We kept a close eye on the gas measurements; the co2 and o2 being our main ones, then whenever they reached certain limits we were able to flush the air with compressed air from the surface. We should be able to see when we made the changes whether or not the system became more or less effective so when we download the data we can work out what worked and what didn’t and try and improve on it.”

As for Lloyd’s next move, the aquanaught says it won’t take long for he and partner Carolina Sarasiti to embrace a new venture “We have got another couple of ventures up our sleeves, always thinking about exciting things in life we are both the kind of people that don’t like to settle in the one spot and like to try new and exciting things so it wont be long I think and we will be coming up with another big adventure some where.”

 

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