Richard Branson explores the deep sea with Virgin Oceanic

April 6, 2011 | Surfing
Virgin Oceanic: a cartoon-like water craft

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, will explore the deepest oceans of the world with an 18-foot jet submarine, in the next two years.

The entrepreneur will undertake five extreme dives through the "Virgin Oceanic" project. The water craft engine is capable of descending more than 36,000 feet below the surface.

Branson will start his challenge in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. After the inaugural deep dive, it's time to conquer the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean, South Sandwich Trench in the Southern Ocean and the Diamantina in the Indian Ocean will follow.

"There is just so much to explore, so much to discover," Branson told reporters. "We are going to obviously come across some fascinating creatures and learn some fascinating things that will hopefully be useful for mankind."

The "Virgin Oceanic" project costs $10 million and may take passenger on deep waters, just like his Virgin Galactic venture.

Richard Branson is an experienced waterman. He enjoys kiteboarding and has already tried to kitesurf the English Channel. The Virgin mogul owns the Necker Island, in the British Virgin Islands, where he holds the BVI Kite Jam, a kiteboarding competition.