Joseph Dituri, also known as "Dr. Deep Sea," has lived in an underwater lodge for 74 days and plans to stay until June for an even 100.
A Florida professor just surpassed the record for the longest time spent living underwater, and he plans to keep going until he reaches 100 days.
Joseph Dituri, a 55-year-old professor of biomedical engineering at the University of South Florida and a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, has spent 74 days in an underwater lodge, surpassing the previous record of 73 days, two hours, and 34 minutes.
Dituri embarked on the adventure on March 1, 2023, to study the long-term effects of underwater pressure and social isolation on the human body.
“The curiosity for discovery has led me here,” Dituri, who also goes by “Dr. Deep Sea,” tweeted. “My goal from day 1 has been to inspire generations to come, interview scientists who study life undersea and learn how the human body functions in extreme environments.”
The experiment, titled Project Neptune 100, is taking place at Jules’ Undersea Lodge. The lodge is located in a 30-foot deep lagoon in Key Largo, Florida, and is also the site where two professors set the previous record in 2014. The lodge is unique as it does not use technology to control underwater pressure.
There, Dituri got comfortable in his 100-square-foot cabin equipped with workout equipment, a microwave, and even a window.
Although it’s not much, Dituri makes the most of it by sticking to a daily routine.
Every morning, Dituri wakes up at five o’clock to exercise. Then, he prepares a high-protein meal, usually eggs or salmon, in his microwave.
Then, Dituri teaches a biomedical engineering course to his online students at the University of South Florida. In class, Dr. Deep Sea keeps his students engaged by talking about his experience and showing them around his cabin.
“And guess what guys, we are gonna science the s–t out of this. We’re going to be talking about biomedical engineering, doing experiments in biology and biomedical engineering, we’re going to be talking to the who’s who of the undersea realm, and we’re gonna be having a good time!” he said to his students and fans on Instagram.
Despite gaining recognition for breaking a world record, Dituri is more focused on a different goal: using the experiment to research how to better people’s lives.
“The record is a small bump and I really appreciate it,” Dituri stated to Associated Press. “I’m honored to have it, but we still have more science to do.”
According to his website, Dituri believes that long-term exposure to pressure may have positive health benefits that can alleviate many ailments, including traumatic brain injuries and diseases stemming from aging.
This experiment is his opportunity to test this theory, and a team of medical professionals has also been on hand to keep meticulous data about Dituri’s physical and mental health.
Testing on Dituri includes blood panels, ultrasounds, and electrocardiograms.
“The human body has never been underwater that long, so I will be monitored closely,” Dituri said, as reported by the New York Post. “This study will examine every way this journey impacts my body, but my null hypothesis is that there will be improvements to my health due to the increased pressure.”
With this end goal in mind, Dituri has found enough motivation to get him through the tough parts of his journey, including the days when he misses important family events.
“My daughter’s in Caltech, graduates with a degree in physics in May. I’ll miss that,” Dituri told the New York Post. “We had to fit it in between hurricane season and the holidays, and I’m like, ‘Baby, something had to fall.’ And she’s like, ‘Don’t worry about it. I know you’ll be there in spirit.’ And I’m like, ‘Damn.'”
However, on a day-to-day basis, Dituri told the Associated Press that there is one thing he really misses: the sun.
“The thing that I miss the most about being on the surface is literally the sun,” Dituri said. “The sun has been a major factor in my life – I usually go to the gym at five and then I come back out and watch the sunrise.”
After reading the record-breaking story of Joseph Dituri, browse 20 fascinating vintage photos of deep-sea diving. Then, discover the story of Jacques Piccard, the man who held the record for the deepest submarine dive.