Apnoe St. Tropez

A dive project
La Croix Valmer, France

Evaluations at the Côte d’Azur: The research objects were diving buoys that had been specially developed by the Institute for this purpose. For this project, transparent balloons were attached with thin nylon ropes to suitable stones, which had first been marked with standard signal tape.


Hagen Betzwieser, founder of the Institute, and researcher Tobias Zöllkau discussed the possibilities of underwater research, with each other as well as under the supervision of the experienced scuba-diver Isabelle Bader: the cancellation of gravity in three dimensional space, plus considerations of upwell, flow, and underwater topography. With Apnoe St. Tropez, the summer of 2001 set new standards. Research did not only take place at the desk and in theory, but in the practise of three-dimensionality under water.


As a result of their prior analysis, the researchers soon found an offshore barrier reef that was suitable for their plan: on-site Apnoe training and the detailed examination of the underwater topography, which would include the measurement of distances, depths and rock formations. Indispensable scientifi c considerations included the mental preparation of the researchers before the Apnoe dives, the inspection of the buoys, and the written as well as the fi lmed and photographic documentation of the dives.

Then the buoys were placed under water. Through the variable fi lling of the dive buoys with air in proportion to water, taking account of the respective stone weights, different fl oating depths could be calibrated. In the following days, the researchers spent most of their time in the observation and documentation of the dive buoys, which constantly changed their position due to drift, tides and solar radiation.


Team: Isabelle Bader, Sabine Bahmann, Margot Stammel, Tobias Zöllkau
Villa Mimossa,La Croix Valmer, France

Isabelle Bader, 2007Map3