Underwater Tripping: 5 Hours at the Bottom of a Minnesotan Lake

Alright, so this isn’t exactly a news story, but it’s a cool enough article that I needed to post it somewhere on my blog! This is the story of a man who SCUBA dived the bottom lake for 5 hours while tripping on 25C-NBOMe. Very cool stuff. This guy, I humble admit, has taken things even further than I have. (Although I doubt he mainlined the 25c-MBOMe ;-))

“A few years ago I developed an obsessive interest in diving technology. Submarines, habitats, torpedoes, exoskeletons, you name it. I knew I wanted to try diving but when I read about the regulatory barriers to simply buying gear and diving, I got frustrated and, in keeping with my nature, instead went and built a diving helmet. (Later on, I realized there was good reason for these regulatory barriers. Basic pneumatic principles are not as intuitively obvious to everyone as I wrongly assumed then.)

There is very little in the way of regulation for helmet diving because nobody’s done it recreationally in any real numbers since the turn of the century, and the helmets are sufficiently simple to build that you cannot stop people from fabricating their own diving equipment. With scuba it’s easy; divers have to go to someone to get their tanks filled. That person checks your certs and turns you away if you haven’t got any. With diving helmets the air supply is an just an air compressor (specifically, an electric oil-free continuous duty cycle automotive air compressor rated for 3.0cf/minute). Air compressors have all kinds of legitimate, sane uses, so they’re easy to get.

Diving this way is safer than it sounds provided you have someone manning the compressor and managing the umbilical. Another vital component is the air filter. A filter is necessary to ensure what you’re breathing is as clean and dry as it gets. Any kind of contaminant, however slight, can cause serious health problems at depth. Because of dangers like these, it’s imperative to research thoroughly before building a helmet.

There is an experience you get with helmet diving that cannot be had with scuba. Your head is in air, peering out through large windows into water — a very cool Jules Verne feeling. You breathe naturally with no regulator in your mouth – the helmet, technically, is the regulator — and you can speak via wired intercom with the surface. Feels a bit like walking on the moon in a spacesuit as you’re necessarily upright and can bounce a little with reduced gravity due to buoyancy. But you can’t get very far horizontally like this because you’re tethered to the compressor on the surface, which is plugged into the electrical grid.

What I discovered is that helmet diving is ideal for stationary observation. I could set up a chair maybe fifteen feet deep, sit still, and wait. After the initial disturbance, marine life would resume its normal routine all around me. Because the compressor is tied to the electrical grid (with a UPS in case of momentary outages), you can just sit there in your comfy chair as long as you like watching fish go by. If you designed the helmet for it, you can reach up inside to wipe away condensation and snack on granola bars from ziplock bags. You can literally spend all day underwater if you want.


Underwater Tripping: 5 Hours at the Bottom of a Minnesotan Lake