A college professor who spent 100 days living underwater at a Florida Keys lodge for divers resurfaced Friday and raised his face to the sun for the first time since March 1.
Dr. Joseph Dettori set a new record for the longest time living underwater without decompression while staying at Jules’ Undersea Lodge, submerged under 30 feet (9.14 m) of water in Key Largo Lake.
The dive explorer and medical researcher broke the previous mark of 73 days, 2 hours, 34 minutes set by two Tennessee professors at the same lodge in 2014.
Dettori, who also goes by the nickname “Dr. Deep C,” is a University of South Florida instructor with a PhD in biomedical engineering and a retired US Navy officer.
Guinness World Records Dettori is listed as the record holder on its website after his 74th day underwater last month. The Marine Resources Development Corporation, which owns the lodge, will require Guinness to certify Dettori’s 100-day mark, according to foundation president Ian Kublik.
“It was never about records,” Dettori said. “It was about expanding human tolerance for the underwater world and an environment that is isolated, confined, and extreme.”
The Dettori mission, dubbed Project Neptune 100, was organized by the Foundation. Unlike a submarine, which uses technology to keep the internal pressure roughly the same as it is on the surface, the lodge’s interior is tuned to match the high pressure found underwater.
The project aims to learn more about how the human body and mind respond to extended exposure to extreme stress and an isolated environment, and is designed to benefit ocean researchers and astronauts on future, long-term missions.
During the three months and nine days he was underwater, Dettori conducted daily daily experiments and measurements to monitor how his body responded to the pressure increase over time. CBS Miami reported that Dettori said his experience left him half an inch shorter. He also said it improved his sleep cycle, reduced inflammation in his body, and lowered his cholesterol.
He has also met online with several thousand students from 12 countries, taught a USF course and welcomed more than 60 visitors to the home.
“The most satisfying part of this is interacting with nearly 5,000 students and having them care about preserving, protecting, and rejuvenating our marine environment,” Dettori said.
He plans to present the results of the Neptune 100 project at the World Congress of Extreme Medicine in November in Scotland.