Located on the Isle of Usedom in Zinnowitz, Germany, what looks like an Art Nouveau gazebo is actually the world’s first “Tauchergondel,” or Submerged Gondola.
The submerged gondola made its first dive in 2006. Fixed to a metal pillar ten meters deep in the Baltic Sea, the gondola slides up and down like an elevator. To overcome the buoyant force of about 50 tons, the pressure-resistant cabin weights 45 tons and is powered by two electric engines.
The “Tauchergondel” was installed off a pier in Zinnowitz. The cabin seats 24 people, and houses a small shop that sells souvenirs and drinks, as well as a 3D theater. Through the windows all around the cabin, the guests can have a look into the underwater world. As the water in the Baltic Sea is very rich of plankton, the visibility conditions are often less than crystalline. This is why, during the approximate dive of 40 minutes, the 3D cinema on board shows educational 3D films which bring the guests to tropical coral reefs, schools of sharks, giant cuttlefish and sea monsters, but also explain the biology of the Baltic Sea.
It was designed by local architect and engineer Andreas Wulff, who plans to install more Submerged Gondolas all over the world, to offer people everywhere a view of the underwater world. He has installed three larger gondolas elsewhere in Germany, and projects in Poland, Sweden, Croatia, China, and along the Mediterranean coast are in the works. All his submerged gondolas have the technical equipment for dives down to 8 meters in their respective waters.