I can't lean any farther forward, or my nose will knock into the glass. I'm lying on my belly, propped up on my elbows, trying to twist my neck and look up through 193 feet of water, wondering where the sunlight started to dim. I'd sit up for a better view, but my head would bang against the ceiling. The inside of this manned submersible is small, like a car interior shoved into a tube. Looking forward is my only option, and ahead, all I see is a path that goes down, ever deeper and darker.
The depth meter now reads 240 feet. I run my palm along the starboard interior wall of the $3 million submersible, which is cold and wet with condensation from the water temperature outside. At the surface here in Curaçao, the water is like a bathtub, but now it's about 65 degrees Fahrenheit and cooling with every foot that we move farther away from the sun. My T-shirt and socks seem wholly insufficient as protection, and yet I am comfortable inside the pressurized cabin. I hear no whirring, no nothing from the twin banks of 12-volt batteries. Even the system pumping oxygen from the bottles outside is mute.