Virgin Limited Edition, a U.K. company, recently announced an “underwater plane” that will dive to 36,000 feet. It is a three person submersible and looks pretty cool from the model shown in the picture. It reminds me of the flying submarine from Irwin Allen’s television show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The show was based on the 1961 movie with Walter Pidgeon, Barbara Eden and Peter Lorre. None of the movie actors carried over to the series. Richard Basehart played Admiral Harriman Nelson and David Eddison as Captain Lee Crane. One of the nifty aspects of Seaview was its flying submarine. It could launch underwater, move to the surface and take off. It would do the same in reverse by diving under the water and then returning to its Seaview hangar underwater.
The Necker Nymph alas cannot fly except underwater. From the picture it looks pretty cool. Now for the details. Here is what the press release states (in part):
Available either when chartering Necker Belle, the luxury 105 foot catamaran, or when staying on Necker Island, underwater flight on Necker Nymph takes exploration to another level. 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.
The press release states that it can be launched from the Necker Belle or from shore. Before you reach for the phone to make a reservation, you ought to know this is no cheap thrill. If you rent the Necker Belle for a week ($88,000 according to one report I read), you get the Necker Nymph for a weekly rate of $25,000. How much it costs just for a day and launched from shore is not listed. My guess is around $10,000-$15,000. Only the heavy wallet brigade can afford it.
Richard Branson once again makes the impossible seem possible. Irwin Allen would agree and, if alive, be one of the first to take a trip.