Image Via Virgin Limited Edition
Virgin Limited Edition has come up with a new exclusive submarine built to "fly" in an airplane-like manner down to depths as far as
36,000 feet 40 meters. It's the the Necker Nymph, a three-person "aero-submarine" and it's the latest toy for the super rich. And of course, it makes an eco-claim. According to MSNBC, the Necker Nymph veers away from conventional subs that use ballasts to sink into the water, instead using downward lift from the wings to "fly" toward ocean depths, exploring for as long as two hours at a stretch.
Virgin claims the Necker Nymph has "near-zero" environmental impact, stating, "Its positive buoyancy prevents the sub from landing on a reef, and its low light and noise emissions ensure the fragile ocean ecosystems remain undisturbed."
Yeah, that's not exactly near-zero impact - there's an impact in the manufacturing of the vehicle, the fuel to run it, and of course the indirect impact of tourism and the 105-foot (32-meter) luxury catamaran that a rider has to rent a spot on in order to ride the Necker Nymph.
Virgin makes it sound like quite the travel experience:
Gliding on the water's surface like an aeroplane on a runway, one of the three pilots will operate the joystick to smoothly dive down, and the thrilling experience begins. Uncover ancient shipwrecks, fly side-by-side with dolphins, or spyhop with whales; the options are endless. With the flexibility to glide peacefully over glorious reefs or bank adventurously in 360 degree turns, the sub is hydrobatic. Individual "wind shields" remove the pressure of slipstream, enabling comfortable speed and ranges previously unthinkable without enclosing the pilots. The open cockpits afford near ideal 360 degree viewing for occupants, creating a uniquely open experience. Dives can last up to two hours.
But if you're swimming next to dolphins or spyhopping with whales, you probably aren't keeping a low eco-profile.
Oh, and if you're interested in renting that luxury catamaran and going for a spin on the Necker Nymph, plan on shelling out aweekly charter rate of $88,000. for the boat, and an extra $25,000 per week for the sub.
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