4 December 2007

Adventurer of the Year Lloyd Godson never fancied himself as a strong swimmer but he’s about to strap on a shark tail and swim 500 kilometres for science.

Mr Godson and his partner, Carolina Sarasiti, will swim down the west coast of Greece in custom-built submarines powered by their own legs.

They will be inside carbon-fibre submarines and wear 1.5-metre hydrofoil tailfins, designed by Ms Sarasiti’s brother Alex Sarasitis, on their legs to propel them through the water.

The pair has returned from Greece seeking project partners and planning their two-month voyage for next September to October.

They will travel down the Ionian Sea from Corfu in the north down to Ithaca in the south.

“We’ll stop at schools and do talks about the marine issues in Greece and use the submarines to try and capture their imagination,” Mr Godson said.

The 29-year-old now based in Albury, made headlines in April when he became the first human to live in a self-sustaining underwater habitat called the Biosub, for 12 days.

Mr Godson, a UQ Bachelor of Science Honours graduate from 2001, pedalled a bike to generate his electricity and used his own bodily waste to feed algae that provided his oxygen.

He said the submarines, being designed now for testing next June, would be small and fast for a human powered vehicle which could withstand depths of 50 metres.

Mr Godson will lay face down and use his legs to move the fin and have a specially designed pump which will push old air out of the dorsal fin and suck fresh air in.

“The submarines will be just large enough for one person with some very minimal emergency equipment,” he said.

“We’ll probably travel between 10 and 30 kilometres per day and visit 10 to 15 schools.”

They chose to swim in the Mediterranean because of Ms Sarasiti’s Greek family links and because Greece had opened its waters to scuba diving for the first time in 50 years.

Mr Godson also has a growing media profile as a science educator and is shooting a Canadian TV series promotion called On the Edge.

The sustainable living series follows how Mr Godson lives in a range of extreme environments such as on the side of volcanos, in rainforest canopies and underwater.

“I really like the idea of combining science with my other passion of educating kids about science issues.

“If I can inspire people to study science through TV or other projects that’s great, because science can take you to some pretty cool places.”

Mr Godson is an unconventional scientist, educator and traveller. He was recently crowned the 2007 Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

He lived in a backyard tent in his final year of university and he has been to Antarctica, Indonesia, Panama and the Bahamas for marine research.

“I’ve always done things a little bit differently.

“I’m not an adrenalin junkie but I like testing myself mentally and I am always up for a challenge.”

MEDIA: Mr Godson (0438 240 715, 02 6040 2277, lloyd@e-golive.com) or Miguel Holland at UQ Communications (3365 2619, m.holland@uq.edu.au)