The immersion of the troïka

The immersion of the “troïka”, the bathyscaphe of the poor.

In 1958 Captain Cousteau tried this new bizarre device at sea, which would, later on, be called “troika”. This name is due to the vague resemblance it bears to a traditional Russian sleigh, especially because of its upper roll bar. The idea for this device formed in the Captain’s brain while he was carrying out his dives from the F.N.R.S. II bathyscaphe. A bathyscaphe, he reasoned then, is an extraordinary device for deep exploration. However, its implementation needs enormous logistics, which would not be realistic to envisage from a boat the size of the Calypso. A system for the exploration of the abysses*should be invented. Something that would provide similar services, while being a lot more flexible to use, definitely less cumbersome… and appreciably less expensive! Some kind of “bathyscaphe of the poor”…

And so, little by little, the idea emerged of a sleigh that could be towed along the bottom, all the way to 8,000m if necessary. It would be equipped with waterproof hyperbaric cameras and assisted by the special flashes designed by Prof. Harold E. Edgerton, alias “Papa Flash”… The team’s engineers completed the device in a short time. It was a structure made of metallic tubes, towed from the surface by a powerful cable. It was studied so that, should it overturn due to the irregularities of the ocean’s bed, its shape would allow it, with the aid of the cable’s traction alone, to get back on its two gliders by itself… The first experiments were carried out in the Atlantic and were conclusive.