Sunday, January 14, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 14, 2001

Isles need undersea observatory vessel, not third aquarium

By Emerson Burnett

Gov. Ben Cayetano, nearing the end of his second and final term, proposes a $100 million Oahu aquarium at the water’s edge in Kakaako.

Oahu already has two excellent aquariums, one at Waikiki and the other at Sea Life Park.

U-SEA proposes to continue to support our governor with a new idea for Oahu — something new and natural in our superb seas.

At half the price of the governor’s idea, we propose a self-supporting, 87.5 percent federally financed undersea observatory, with four decks below the sea and four above seas.

It would feature a large public undersea observatory, where people could enjoy watching all marine creatures living free and natural in the ocean environment outside.

The facility would feature 100 or more undersea staterooms with great view windows of our superb seas and marine animals.

Plus at the aft end of the undersea vessel, a large scientific undersea observatory would be created to serve scientists 24 hours daily.

The main deck above seas will be entirely devoted to marine ecology, education and conservation. Jacques Cousteau and his eldest son (the only direct surviving Cousteau) designed many of the marine ecological exhibits for U-SEA, such as the vital lateral line of fishes.

The next deck up, in the air, will offer a fine restaurant, shops and a food court. Next deck up will offer in-the-air staterooms. The top deck will feature the world’s most beautiful and ingenious seashell: the Chambered Nautilus displayed in a public meeting room.

Also on this top deck will be U-SEA’s computerized safety control bridge. Ocean views from the top deck will be beautiful.

U-SEA is designed to be self-supporting. It will be in U-SEA’s best interest to clean up our seas and safeguard the life in our seas.

U-SEA will nurture and improve life in our seas. It is an idea whose time has come.

Emerson Burnett of Waianae is a retired businessman who has long advocated creating an undersea experience for Hawaii visitors and residents.

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