If you want to do deep sea ocean research today, you’ll have to take a journey to the Florida Keys, where the world’s last remaining underwater research lab, the Aquarius, is housed.
But that’s soon about to change. When it’s completed, the SeaOrbiter, a spaceship-like underwater vessel, will become the first ocean lab where researchers can live 24/7 over long periods of time. (The Aquarius, in comparison, goes on missions for 10 days on average.) It’s the Starship Enterprise of the sea, exploring parts of the ocean where no man has gone before.
The $43 million SeaOrbiter project is the result of a 30-year research and design process. Created by sea architect Jacques Rougerie and guided by experts like Jean-Michel Cousteau and former NASA chief Daniel Goldin, the vessel will hold a crew of up to 22 people when it launches. Its first trip will be to Monaco, where Rougerie hopes that researchers will gather new details about the vast underwater areas surrounding the country.
"The SeaOrbiter is the synthesis of everything that we have been able to do at sea: it is at the same time a moving habitat and a dynamic launching point for submarine research and exploration. It will not replace oceanographic boats or exploratory submarines. Instead, it’s another way to explore and better comprehend the underwater universe and bring human life at sea to another level on a 24/7 basis and over long periods." - Jacques Rougerie
Though researchers onboard will likely spend most of their time underwater, you couldn’t possibly miss the SeaOrbiter if you passed by it in the ocean. About 90 feet of the 190-foot structure will tower above the waterline. The vessel drifts with currents, relying on renewable energy from the sun, waves, and wind for power. Like astronauts, the sea explorers aboard the SeaOrbiter need to be "physically fit and well-equipped for spontaneous exploration missions," according to Rougerie.
The SeaOrbiter is the first vessel that allows the crew to leave the boat from under the water’s surface to explore the ocean, without taking into account the quality of the sea surface (this is because the underwater part of the vessel is stable enough to house the crew). It was built with what Rougerie calls a "new generation of recyclable aluminum" that’s used in the aeronautics industry.
The project is currently crowdfunding 325,000 euros so it can begin construction in France in the Spring of 2014. So far, it has raised 44,000 euros with more than two months to go. If all goes well, construction will finish by the end of 2015, and the first underwater expedition will begin in spring 2016.
I worked on making this set a bit more refined, and a bit more creative. Whilst the designs out there are superb, I wanted to push for more body shape differences then simply swapping the colours. Hopefully this will flesh out a more realistic Pokémon world a bit more.
I have attached the text to the pictures and made them a bit more scientific, as people kept deleting the flavour text, but it’s also attached below. Please don’t delete it :)
The Common Dragonite is the most
plentiful and registered breed found to date. It is categorised by an equal
balance of wingspan, limb size and tail size, being adapted for life both on
the land and at sea for extended periods of time. It is also an incredible
flyer, known to rise to great heights in order to circumnavigate the globe in a
relatively short amount of time.
In its common form, which can be
found in lakes, rivers and other large bodies of water, Dragonite is a light
orange colour, with teal membranes to its wings and yellowish antennae (which
it uses to sense prey and also to perform electrical attacks). Dragonite
reaches full maturity at 55 months if trained correctly, with wild specimens
varying between 55 to 65 months. A creature with extreme intellect and power,
it is not easily trained and is marked as a pseudo-legendary class Pokémon.
BLUE EASTERN DRAGONITE
The Eastern Blue Dragonite is
found primarily in lakes and rivers and is noted for having very high special
attack and special defence capabilities. Though smaller than their common
counterparts, they are longer, more lithe and are considered the most elegant
of the various breeds. They are not capable flyers, preferring to glide with
their smaller wingspan, but are inclined to use them to surge out of bodies of
water to catch prey.
These Dragonite are the calmest and most serene of their
species, boasting higher intelligence than the Common Dragonite. Along with
their small wingspan and blueish colouring, they are easily spotted by their
white frilled antennae that adorn the neck, leading people to mistake them for
the juvenile Dragonairs that often accompany them in their pods. Being that they often live in warmer
climates, they seem slightly more resilient to ice attacks (a primary weakness
of dragons) as their blood is naturally warmer overall.
The Crested Dragonite, sometimes
called the Flame Crested Dragonite, is one of the most exotic breeds of this Pokémon.
Its vibrant colours set it apart from other Dragonite, along with several other
As a cliff-dweller by nature, the
Crested Dragonite has a much larger wingspan to body ratio than other
Dragonite, capable of gliding for days at a time if required. Its feet are less
webbed and have longer talons that allow it to pluck prey from the water. This
also affords it more grip on its mountainous home. The crest fills with blood when
the Pokémon is angered and shows off the same exotic colours that adorn the wing
Crested Dragonite are often
faster than common Dragonite, as their naturally larger wings allow for them to
reach heights and speeds few other winged species can match. Their downfall,
however, is when they are grounded, being lighter and more fragile than their
The Muddy Dragonite is known for
being the most aggressive of the Dragonite breeds. Far stronger and tougher
than its ocean-dwelling brethren, the Muddy Dragonite boasts exceptional defence
and attack, which it sacrifices speed for.
As these creatures are often
found with the ability ‘Multiscale’, (a highly sought after trait in the Dragonite
species) it is no surprise that their tough, armoured hide separates them from
the other breeds. Their wings are small and unsuited for long distance flights,
preferring, as with other small-winged Dragonite, the use of quick bursts of
speed in their swampy homes. Dwelling in murky and often shallow waters inland,
the Muddy Dragonite can also be found lazing out in the afternoon sun, heating
its body temperature up before it returns to the water.
This breed is often used as parental stock in order to
pass on the Multiscale gene onto its offspring, weeding out the aggressive
tendencies as the process goes along.
‘Shiny’ Dragonite (and its
evolutionary line) are rare, but are becoming increasingly more common, as are
most ‘Shiny’ Pokémon. This pigment change, whilst adored by the training
public, is in fact a genetic disorder resulting from inbreeding. All too often,
trainers will ‘farm’ Pokémon eggs in order to create stronger and more
specialised animals, sometimes resulting in a ‘Shiny’ side effect.
The disorder, which can affect
any Pokémon subjected to harsh inbreeding, can be categorised in a faint sheen
on the skin (that can result in them being shunned from their social groups and
parents and simply not surviving in the wild due to lack of camouflage in
weaker animals) and a drastic skin colour change. Whilst considered desirable,
most ‘Shiny’ Pokémon are often frail and sickly, few living as long as their
uncorrupted counterparts. Pokémon breeders are advised by the government to
halt this process, but with such a high demand for glamourous Pokémon, it is
unlikely to stop any time soon.
GREAT OCEAN DRAGONITE
The Great Ocean Dragonite is exceptionally
rare, typically spending most of their lives in the deeper areas of the ocean.
rather sluggish and poorly equipped for combat on land, the Ocean Dragonite
boasts remarkable defences and HP stats, with a thick hide that only the strongest
attacks can penetrate. In comparison to the Common Dragonite, the Ocean
Dragonite is far more suited to life in water. Its arms and legs are more
fin-like, and primarily used for steering its massive body through the water.
Its wings are too small for it to fly with, considering its weight, so they are
commonly used for underwater battles, where quick bursts of speed are required.
A large mouth also allows for it to swallow entire schools of Goldeen, Magikarp
and other fish-like Pokémon in a single gulp.
Seeing a fully grown Great Ocean
Dragonite is a rare privilege. The largest known recording was at a Kanto
lighthouse in 1998, where it was estimated to have been at least 30 meters
EDIT - added in a size chart because quite a few people were asking for one :)
For the first time on a Disney ship there will be a Marvel themed area. In the Oceaneer Club will have a Marvel’s Avengers Academy which will include a command post, where children can “unleash their inner superhero.”
There will be a Mickey Mouse Club where kids can play games and make crafts.
Another addition is Pixie Hollow which will also have a craft zone as well as a costume closet for kids who want to play dress up.
Toy Story-themed Andy’s Room will be bigger than the ones of the newer ships with a two-deck oversized bed and a Slinky Dog slide. And several other Tory Story elements including a larger than life Mr. Potato Head.
Also getting refurbished is the Oceaneer Lab which will have a more pirate/Jules Verne look with a lot more technology elements introduced. It will include an animator’s studio as well as a navigation simulator where kids can pretend to steer the ship.
There are also plans for a new nursery which will be brighter and cheerio with a It’s a Small World theme like the nurseries on the Dream and Fantasy.
Living the Dream: Cancer Survivor to Teen Conservation Leader
By Tessa Terrill, Public Relations Intern
How often in life do things come full circle?
Seamus Morrison experienced a full-circle moment this summer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
He first came to the Aquarium in 2010 through the Make-A-Wish Foundation as an 11-year old with a life-threatening brain cancer – and a dream of becoming a marine biologist. He went behind the scenes to feed the cuttlefishes, spent a morning talking to scientists with our partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and an afternoon with dolphins and seals at Long Marine Lab in Santa Cruz. He even took two scuba dives in our Great Tide Pool.
“It was really fun at the time, and I loved the experience,” he says.” But now it’s just so much more. I look back on it and I just think it was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Cancer-free and riding the wave
Four years later, cancer-free and still riding the marine biology wave, he and his parents, James and Riad Morrison, packed their bags and made the trip from Ojai in southern California to spend the summer in Monterey so Seamus could follow his dream – as a Teen Conservation Leader (TCL) at the Aquarium.
George Matsumoto, Senior Research and Education Specialist at MBARI and his MBARI guide four years ago, is overjoyed that Seamus came back as a teen leader, and said Seamus told him how much he was growing through his participation in the program.
When he was 10, Seamus was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called medulloblastoma. That didn’t dim his passion for diving headfirst into marine biology, a passion that was present since he was very young.
Seamus’s dad James, who has a successful career as an actor with roles in shows like “24” and “Revenge”, said that Seamus’s Halloween costumes have always been ocean-ified.
One year, he was a scuba diver and even had a tank made of a cereal box that he would open with the pull of a cord to collect trick-or-treat candy!
For six weeks this summer, now 15-year-old Seamus took his passion and spread it among Aquarium guests as he shared stories about the range of sea life exhibited throughout the aquarium – including as a narrator for Kelp Forest feeding shows.
When Seamus was getting ready to narrate the feeding one day, he was surprised to learn that the diver was the one who took him into the Great Tide Pool through Underwater Explorers four years ago.
'An amazing journey'
“That (Make-A-Wish) experience and his continued relationship with the Aquarium have further inspired him toward the dream of one day becoming a real marine biologist,” says his mother, Riad. “It’s been and continues to be an amazing journey.”
Seamus said he loves the Monterey Bay Aquarium because there’s “more stuff” here than at any other aquarium he’s visited.
He’s already taking action to build on his summer experience and help inspire ocean conservation. He’s emailed his teachers about a plan to create a conservation lab when he returns to school. He said his teachers are on board and he’ll talk to them this fall about how to make it a reality.