Oceanography: Home in the Deep

On the floor of the Red Sea, 45 feet below the surface near Port Sudan, the seven inhabitants of an underwater village celebrated last week the end of a full month beneath the waves. For the village's mayor, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, 53, co-inventor of the Aqua-Lung that made modern skindiving possible, it was a double-barreled occasion. Down on the bottom, he celebrated his 26th wedding anniversary, and his wife Simone dropped in with a cake in a waterproof container.

The houses of Cousteau's underwater village are strong-walled steel chambers, roughly cylindrical. One of...

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