Jules Undersea Lodge

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La Chalupa research station , now Jules Undersea Lodge

Jules Undersea Lodge is the world's first underwater hotel. It is located in Key Largo , Florida and consists of the conversion of the former La Chalupa underwater laboratory .

La Chalupa

La Chalupa was part of a program funded by the Marine Resources Development Foundation (MRDF) and the government of Puerto Rico . The design comes from Ian G. Koblick. Chalupa is the Spanish word for sloop , a type of boat that is often used as a fishing boat in Puerto Rico.


The interior of the facility consists of two cylinders, each 2.44 m (8 feet) in diameter and 6.1 m (20 feet) long, positioned lengthwise side by side with the space between them. The area between the cylinders houses the wet room and is 3.05 m (10 feet) wide and 6.1 m (20 feet) long. This results in a usable area of ​​48.38 m². It was designed for a depth of approximately 30 m (100 feet) and a crew of 5 aquanauts . The focus of the design was

  • Ensuring mobility
  • Minimizing the supply team
  • Achievement of a mission duration of 30 days with 5 people
  • Demonstration of handling on the water surface with waves of 1.50 m
  • Possibility of decompression within the habitat on the seabed, during towing or on land
  • Retractable legs, which are flush with the underside during the towing process, but keep the habitat on the seabed at a height of 1.50 m above the ground.


One cylinder served as a living room and contained a TV camera, storage cupboards, four water beds, independent control technology for the atmosphere, electrical equipment, telecommunications and two portholes, each 104 cm (41 inches).

The other cylinder housed the control center and had the control technology for the atmosphere, power and communication facilities, measuring instruments and TV cameras. In addition, there was a porthole with a diameter of 104 cm (41 inches), as well as the scientific facility with a computer and the ability to read out local oceanographic data in real time. This cylinder was designed to withstand an external pressure of 50 psi (3.5 kg / cm² ≈ 3.5 bar) so that it could be used for decompression on the seabed in emergencies.

The space in between contained the moon pool , a filling system for compressed air bottles, storage space for diving equipment, a toilet, a fresh water shower and stainless work tables with an area of ​​3.2 m².

The system also had batteries to operate the CO 2 filters and emergency lighting for 48 hours in an emergency , as well as air and food for 10 days. Both cylinders had person transfer capsules for emergencies, which could be transported by helicopter and coupled to pressure chambers on land.


La Chalupa contains a taring tank to control the submersion process, two large tanks that were flooded after the submersion, and 75 t solid ballast made of concrete. Under full ballast this system generated a negative lift of 22 t.

Surface supply

The surface supply was ensured by a converted boat, the hull of which housed the life support systems. There were compressed air compressors, air conditioning, communication systems, a fresh water tank with a capacity of 3785 l (1000 gallons), and 3,028 l (800 gallons) of diesel fuel. On land there were also two mobile homes and a van.


  • October 14-17, 1972: 3 people at 8.5 m depth in West Palm Beach Harbor, Florida
  • November 1972: 19.8 m depth, 8 km off the southwest coast of Puerto Rico near Mayaguez
  • 1972–1974: 9 missions, each 2 weeks duration, 4 to 5 aquanauts at depths of 15.2 m to 18.3 m with a breathing gas consisting of 8% oxygen and 92% nitrogen
  • April 24 - May 4, 1973: PRUNE I ( Puerto Rico Undersea Nitrogen Excursion ), 30.5 m depth, breathing gas from 5% oxygen 95% nitrogen. Exits at various depths to physiological studies
  • March 18-29, 1974: Prune II, depth and breathing gas as with PRUNE I, exits at 80.8 m depth to research the possibilities of being able to reach the upper 30% of the American continental shelf without exotic breathing gas mixtures.
  • June 1974: last mission

The plant was lifted in 1976 and towed to Miami. In 1980 it was sold for commercial use.

Jules Undersea Lodge

After the renovation, the habitat in a mangrove lagoon was opened in 1986 as Jules Undersea Lodge . It is named after Jules Verne , alluding to his novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas . The interior design is by Richard F. Geary. The facility is now nine meters deep. For the conversion to a hotel, a cylinder was set up with two bedrooms, while the other serves as living space. The facility also has hot showers, a kitchen with a fridge and microwave oven, books, music and videos. Air, water, electricity and communication are guaranteed via a line on land.

Jules Undersea Lodge also offers the opportunity to complete the special Aquanaut Certificate . The Habitat Marine Lab is located in the same lagoon.

Guests at the hotel include former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Aerosmith singer Steve Tyler .

1992 Project Atlantis

Project Atlantis was a research project by the Marine Resources Development Foundation and NASA and provided for a 30-day stay with four people at Jules Undersea Lodge. It started on May 6, 1992. After only three days, one of the aquanauts fell ill and had to leave the facility, while two other aquanauts spent the full 30 days in the habitat. 33-year-old Richard Presley decided to break the existing record of 59 days from 1969 in Habitat Tektite and stay at the station. On July 4, 1992, he broke this record and left the habitat after 69 days on July 14, 1992.

1995 Telephone conversation between Jules Undersea Lodge and Space Shuttle

On September 9, 1995, Scott Carpenter and Ian Koblick spoke to astronaut Mike Gernhardt aboard Jules Undersea Lodge in Earth orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavor . This link between ocean and space was intended to recall the similar conversation called SeaLab-Gemini up-link exactly 30 years ago between Scott Carpenter on board Sealab II at a depth of around 70 m and astronauts on board the Gemini capsule in Earth orbit.

2014 world record for the longest habitat stay

Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain from Roane State Community College completed the longest stay of an aquanaut underwater between October 3 and December 15, 2014. They spent 73 days in the underwater hotel for the Classroom under the Sea project .

More underwater hotels

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Jules' Undersea Lodge Media Information. Archived from the original on March 24, 2009 ; accessed on December 28, 2016 .
  2. a b c James W. Miller, Ian G. Koblick: Living & Working in the sea . Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York 1984, ISBN 0-442-26084-9 , pp. 123-134 .
  3. ^ UPI: Man sets record for underwater living. July 5, 1992, accessed April 18, 2017 .
  4. The Free Lance-Star: Hydroponic expert sets record for staying under water - 69 days. July 15, 1992, accessed April 18, 2017 .
  5. Guinness World Records: Longest time spent living underwater. Retrieved April 18, 2017 .

Coordinates: 25 ° 7 ′ 58.5 ″  N , 80 ° 23 ′ 57.9 ″  W.