Ep 15 Transcript with Brendan Traxler of Atlantis Sea Colony

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Carly Jackson: Hello seasteaders! Today, I’m happy to introduce Brendan Traxler, owner of Atlanta Sea Colony. So Brendan, will you tell us how you got interested in underwater habitats?

Brendon Traxler: Wow. Um, I mean, you want the long story or the short story here? Because it could take a little bit. 

Carly Jackson: Let’s go with the short story and then I may ask you to clarify.

Brendon Traxler: Alright. Sure. Yeah, so basically, I mean, the short of it is, you know, Jacques Cousteau in the early 80s on PBS. He instilled that love for the ocean, watching that with my mom growing up and then getting to the nineties, Sci-Fi, TV shows like SeaQuest and stuff like that, just reaffirmed that love.

And is one of those things where this is maybe sci-fi, but you look at Star Trek and other Sci-Fi things and all the technology that has come from that, that is now in, in mainstream. Why can’t the same thing happen with the ocean? And this is back, pre-internet, so I had no idea that a lot of the underwater habitats that had existed at this point even existed.

So from there, I just started researching, dreaming, drawing, and, you know, seeing what actually did work and what didn’t work. And so it’s been like a 25 year old wave of getting to where we’re at right now with lots of lull in between. 

Carly Jackson: That’s really interesting. Um, Joe Quirk has a theory that, you know, those big billionaires who are building rockets to go to space, that they were inspired by the space race in the 60s. And then of course, all the science fiction that was, that was around at that time about space. And here you are, you were, you’re watching slightly different science fiction and being inspired by the underwater version. So that’s great. They just need to catch up with you, I think.

Brendon Traxler: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s interesting that the space race and the ocean race, if you wanna call it that, or whatever it is, has seemed to take the same curves there. You know, the 60s, 70s, were huge for underwater as well with Cousteau and all that. And then it died off and how we are here again with, you know, Bezos and Musk and everybody like that in the space race. And at the same time, there seems to be a lot of, a lot of people working on underwater habitats, to some extent, and, and even, you know, the seasteading aspect too, it seems to really be growing at an exponential rate right now, too. So I think there’s a, there’s some kind of correlation there, too.

Carly Jackson: Yeah. I remember reading something about, there’s a difference between technological innovation on the macro level, like building rockets, building seasteads, those are all macro. And then it seems like in the 90s and early 2000s, people were focused on cell phones and micro level technology. So we’re coming back into a phase. Sounds like you’re, you’re observing, we’re coming back into a phase of the macro technology innovation. 

Brendon Traxler: Yeah, that makes sense. I think, especially with that stuff, you know, cause it sets the foundation, too, where the technology, even though it was there before, especially for all these things, you know, 3d printing, all that kind of stuff. You know, now that it’s so much ingrained into our everyday life, the ability to do a lot of stuff has become a whole lot easier and more cost effective than it would’ve been even 10, 15 years ago.

Carly Jackson: Right. That’s really interesting. I wish, I need to find someone who can who’s studying that trend and we can explore it more. So. Okay. So you’re interested, you were inspired by Jacques Cousteau in the 80s. Now, were you, you were a child then?

Brendon Traxler: Yeah, I was born in 77, so yeah, I was, I was young. 

Carly Jackson: And so then, did you go to school to study something that would help like engineering or design or anything along those lines?

Brendon Traxler: So, no, actually I, a lot of it was self-taught. I took some drafting classes actually in high school, which definitely helped out a lot of the aspects of the thing. A lot of it has just been networking and finding people whole lot smarter than I am to fill in those gaps and stuff like that. That, I don’t know, I have a vision, I have a dream.

I don’t have any background for it. So I’ve been trying to find, you know, we wouldn’t actually, reaching out to marine engineering schools and touching base with students there saying, hey, would you like to hop on board with us and look at what we’re doing and take a stab of that. Because I’ve hit up the Marine engineering firms and it’s one of those things for a small startup that kind of money that are wanting to do designs and stuff like that is just way out of our ballpark at this point in time. So, we’re finding innovative ways to get around that.

Carly Jackson: Okay. So when did you first hear about seasteading and the Seasteading Institute?

Brendon Traxler: So, it would’ve been… Three, four years ago, not too long, honestly, but it was back to my dad because I mean, he knows what I’m into and he is very supportive of what I’m doing. He said, hey, have you heard about this group? Like, Nope. So then I started digging in and really getting into you guys’ social media and, looking up you guys and, and that’s history.

Carly Jackson: Okay. So you, so three or four years ago, that’s when I started with the Seasteading Institute. So that’s great. We were able to connect. 

Brendon Traxler: Yeah. Very cool. Yeah. And maybe is that, maybe you taking over has, this aspect has led to better social marketing or whatever it may be. And that’s why I heard from you guys. 

Carly Jackson: Yeah, that was part of my focus coming in, was to focus on building our community. So, and it’s great. You know, we’ve seen in the last year, we’ve seen so many new projects and you’re a big part of that, of showing me, like, how do we welcome in these projects and offer support where we can and build the community of people who can, who can learn from each other and help each other develop successful seasteads?

Brendon Traxler: Yeah, absolutely. 

Carly Jackson: When I say seasteads, I’ll just say that right now, I’m including your underwater designs. I feel like they fit within the definition.

Brendon Traxler: I agree. I think it’s one of those things where it doesn’t instantly thought of that. But if you look at the definition, I think it falls right into.

Carly Jackson: And so that brings me to my next question. So your focus on underwater, starting with that inspiration, and you’ve just stuck with that underwater inspiration and not thought about, surface level building.

Brendon Traxler: You know, I have, especially, you know, after talking with the Ocean Builders and stuff on those, Chad, over at the Ocean Builders, we had them on our podcast and stuff like that a couple years ago.

And he had said, you know, at the very beginning, he was interested in underwater as well, but it migrated from that. So it got me thinking why. It makes a whole lot sense, but it’s one of those things where I think that my passion is here is underwater. I’m a huge fan of the sun. So, you know, it’s one of those things where it’s like, if I can avoid that all joking side, I mean, there is, there’s some legitimacy to do that, but it’s one of those things where it is a very niche area that there’s not too many people doing that for one reason or the other.

So it’s where my passion has always been, is underwater. So that’s why I stick with that. And yeah, pretty much that it’s more selfish reasons than anything. I mean, there’s definitely business applications to it as well, but a lot of it comes from selfish motives. 

Carly Jackson: So you mentioned the sun and I think for me personally, that would be a big issue. I need my sunshine. And so what are some of the other concerns when thinking about humans living underwater? You know, pressure, water pressure, and then access to sun, you know, other potential health issues. How do you work with that? 

Brendon Traxler: Yeah. Yeah. I think a lot of it’s a psychological aspect too. Especially at the first, you know, they’re gonna be smaller tin cans for the most. You know, what our project is working on basically on a shipping container size living area. Obviously you can expand upon that with modules and stuff along those lines, but it’s still a small area that you’re enclosed in.

So I think the access to immediate top side access is important because yeah, you’re gonna either have to deal with claustrophobia, psychological aspects of being contained down there. The lack of sunlight. There’s a bunch of different areas that you have to factor in that you need to be able to get in and out as freely as you in and out at your house for the most part, without having to put on a bunch of equipment and swim to the surface.

Carly Jackson: Are you able to start looking at those as design challenges for your habitats?

Brendon Traxler:  Yeah. I mean, we’ve got, so we’ve got a, from you guys, we saw our own Discord community. And from that, we’ve had a bunch of people come in there and we’ve actually, delegate some of those design aspects as far as, like, a docking collar per se. So if you wanted to eventually have like a mini submarine or something like that dock to an underwater habitat, how does that all play out? So it’s one of those things where obviously we’ll have to address that sooner or later. Right now we’re just working on our prototype. So it’s one of those things where you’re gonna scuba dive down to that.

We’re not, we’re not going all out yet on that, but down the road, that is one of those things where: How do you do it? Do you have an elevator system, a stairway system to the surface, you have a tunnel with a whatever? It may be like a train or whatever, like not trained, but like a rail system or something like that. Or do you have a submarine that docks with it, um, and so forth, um, or a tunnel to the land. If you’re close enough, there’s bunch of different aspects that could come into play. And I think a lot of them will come into play, especially. More and more habitats, hotels, business applications, colonies, whatever, start to get planted out there in the ocean.

I think you’ll see a bunch of different ways to, and even ways we probably haven’t even thought of and talked about right here are used to get people to and from a location without them getting, we I’ve almost said, you know, if my grandmother cannot come visit it, then it’s not ready yet because it needs to be available to anybody no matter how old or anything to be able to come and visit and leave it at will, too.

Carly Jackson: Sure. That’s, I like that. That, the grandmother standard. So I’ve heard you mention before some projects, and it sounds like you can draw from, from existing research. You know, how, what are some of the psychological problems? What are the physiological problems that come up? So I’ve heard you talk about Aquarius, Tech Tight, and Sealab programs. Can you tell us a little bit about those?

Brendon Traxler: So most of those, you know, were, especially Tech Tight and was back in the 60s. As far as design element, I just think it’s a beautiful underwater habitat, which maybe I’m a little weird for think that that’s sexy, but whatever it is, and you know, they were, most of these were science led, you know, it was the government or whomever was funding was a lot of these. Tech Tight was a little bit of a hybrid. Actually the designers of Tech Tight went on to build La Chalupa, which is now Jules Undersea resort, under Sealab, down in Key Largo, Florida, where you can actually go right now and spend the night in the only real underwater hotel there is out there.

But yeah, and segueing over to Aquarius. And again, there’s still an existence. Sealab was Navy as well, but they had a lot of correlation between that and space. There was a lot of testing between, you know, being underwater and being in space as far as analogs and stuff like that. And Aquarius has kind of taken that over too, with being an analog for NASA. That gets used a whole lot for that aspect, too. So you look at not only what we can take from the ocean as far as other underwater habitats, but we can take from space as well and implement into underwater living and even, you know, with seasteading as well. Cause it’s, you’re out and away from the facilities in the everyday that we were used to.

And how do you implement that? The difference with all the other habitats that have come before. When you scuba dive down to them, you got pressurized to the, the pressure down there. So when you went to, wanted to leave, you couldn’t just swim to the surface, depending on how long you were down there and how deep it was. It may take hours or days before you can come back up to the surface cause you have to decompress. So that’s one of the design elements we have to avoid in order to make this available to everybody. 

Carly Jackson: So what does that mean? That you have to keep the habitat pressurized a certain amount? So people can come up to the surface at will?

Brendon Traxler: Right? So what plays out is, so every time you go 30 feet deep, it’s another atmosphere. And each time you do that, that changes how much saturation your body takes. As you dive, anybody that scuba dives understands that, you know, deeper, you go, the less downtime you have at the bottom, because you need that time to come back up to the surface to let your body reacclimate.

So the goal obviously is one atmosphere, the surface level atmosphere. You need to keep your habitat at. There’s a bunch of different design ways. You can do that, but usually it’s you make the walls thicker and the deeper you go. So it can combat against that. So that’s why our prototype is only sitting around 20 foot. So we don’t deal with going past that 30 foot mark, where people started to deal with issues where you got decompress coming back up. So, you know, if you go and spend the night, like Jules, they’re at 22 foot, if you go spend the night right there, you can come right back to the service. No problem. After spending all night down there, or if you spend a week down there, it does make any difference.

But if you would move that 10 more feet and go below that 30 foot mark, you start spending more than a day down there. You end up having to start thinking a longer and longer time to come back to the surface. As we talked about Aquarius, their around 66 feet, I think, and you’ve got an hour, you can go down there. You can be there for an hour, but after the hour you start getting into saturation aspect and you then are stuck in the, hey, now I’m stuck here. It’s gonna take. A long time to come back up to the surface, a little technical there, and especially dealing with pressures and all that kind of stuff. But it’s one of those things where you have to make sure that you’re staying at that one atmosphere to allow people to come and go at ease.Sorry. If that was a little bit more technical and over the top than what you’re asking there. 

Carly Jackson: No, no, no. That’s what I want. I wanna learn all of that. So are there other, I wanna say more cultural stumbling blocks or to get people to consider living underwater? Like, what are some of the immediate reactions you get from people when you tell them that you’re interested in underwater living?

Brendon Traxler: Usually laughed at. I mean, that’s a lot of people do this and that’s crazy, you know? Or, let’s use the grandma, for example, when I told my grandma, she’s like, well, I’m not going there type of thing. But it’s one of those things where people are, you know, immediately think underwater, they’re gonna get; what if it leaks? What if a claustrophobic? You know, I don’t wanna drown, you know, I’m not gonna get eaten by a fish, all these different things that people usually say.

It’s a lot of education, I think, with anything that we’re doing with this fringe type of stuff that it’s all about education and. Explaining to people. Now, your preconception is this because that’s what media has shown you through movies and all this kind of stuff, but here’s what really what’s, what’s going down.

Carly Jackson: Sure. And that makes me think of like, people get into cars every day. But if you went back to 1920, when cars were brand new technology, and you said, this thing will go 90 miles per hour, they’d probably say the same thing. Right. They probably did. They need to see it in action. So have you shown your grandmother pictures of some of those gorgeous underwater hotels?

Brendon Traxler: Oh yeah. And she just shakes her head and says, well, that’s nice or whatever, but yeah, she’s kind of stubborn like that, so, she’s not gonna change her mind.

Carly Jackson: Gotcha. Okay. So let’s talk about the ecosystem, cause I’ve heard you say that you want your habitats to improve the ecosystem. So tell us a bit about that. 

Brendon Traxler: So, yeah, it’s one of those things where it’s a question that especially early on when our social media presence started getting bigger and bigger, that people would hit us up, all familiar was like, just leave the ocean alone. You know, we do enough damage already. And all that’s true. And I saw how, I don’t know who said it, but there was somebody and they had said something similar to this, that, you know, by us being underwater, it raises awareness to an extent too.

If people are sitting there and they’re looking out their window every day, are they going to wanna trash it as much. You know, people say again, say on this, like, well, look at the roads right now when you’re driving down. There’s trash all the time there too. And I get that, but I think that as a business owner, it’s in our best interest to do everything we can to keep those waters as pristine and beautiful as possible, because nobody’s gonna want to go stay at an underwater habitat if it looks like garbage outside. So there’s that. So, I mean, there’s different even on your guys’s social media, there’s been floating houses and stuff like that that have grown coral outside of them in an underwater room to draw fish and stuff. There’s a bunch of, we can do to seed the environment around there, whether it be with coral or plant life or whatever to enhance what we’re putting in there.

Obviously, wouldn’t putting anything in the ocean. You’re going to disrupt the environment temporarily. But that’s why it’s in, we need to be stewards of what we’re doing there and making sure that we are going back in tenfold if possible, you know, replenishing what we may have disrupted. And it’s been shown too that, you know, habitats anything stuck under water. It attracts all types of life. So it’s gonna be one of those things where, the battle is constantly gonna be keeping it clean. So it does the environment doesn’t take over what we’ve created there too. So it’s gonna be a, it’s definitely going to enhance it. It’s just at what level and how quickly.

Carly Jackson: Right. So I know that some of our seasteaders, Ocean Builders in particular, is looking at incorporating the coral design so that the coral becomes part of the structure and helps keep it floating at the right height. So is that, are you looking at some solutions like that? Of like, with boats? One thing we hear sometimes is why not just live on a boat?

And one of the major, main arguments is that you have to clean barnacles off a boat, but if you can build a seastead that benefits from having barnacles on. Is that possible? Just, you know, are you, is it able to keep a structure for human use, you know, still workable, but also have the sea life using it too. Like, I don’t wanna compromise any structure, you know what I mean? 

Brendon Traxler: Right. Yeah. Yeah. And the other thing is, as long as it start covering up your view port, your windows and stuff on those lines too. So it’s negating that view outside too, but yeah, a hundred percent, you know, it’s one of the things. When I saw what Ocean Builders was working on with that, I was like, man, yeah, that’s brilliant. That can definitely be incorporated to not only almost any sea, but especially underwater too. There it’s a no brainer why you wouldn’t do something similar to that on your habitat, you know, because why not?

Carly Jackson: Right. So, how do you see, I’ve heard you talk about in our Seasteading Social, which people should definitely go back and listen to, if they haven’t already, you talked a little bit about a symbiotic relationship between underwater habitats and surface seas. So can you tell us again, you know, how you see that working out?

Brendon Traxler: Yeah, I mean, obviously ideally, it’d be nice to have some kind of symbiotic relationship there because, you know, we, especially, you know, a lot of them can be moved, especially you got a hurricane or something coming through there, some kind of catastrophe move, move your seastead out of the way.

Whereas if we’re deep enough underwater, it doesn’t really affect us that much, but we could be an escape area for that. I mean, there’s a bunch of different business applications or personal application you can see from that, whether it is energy storage, you know, even maybe dealing with waste relocation, not looking at it from a purely standpoint of what do you do with people? What do you do with the byproducts or the necessities that the sea may need? Now, I understand that most of the people are designing their seasteads that incorporate all these things on there. But at the same time, I think that some of those could benefit both ways. You know, we ideally would want someplace on surface to tether power, communications and stuff at first, too, as well at the same time, I see it as you know, you could, especially if you’re looking at, in from the standpoint of a resort or a getaway type of thing. Part of, you spend half your time up on the seaside, half your time in an underwater hotel type of thing, too.

So, like I say, there’s a lot of different, even research, you know, the nice thing about being in a pressurized or it could be a pressurized environment is you can change the oxygen levels in the concealed environment of an underwater habitat. So plant growth can be affected on that, health, for, you know, whether medical reasons and stuff along those lines. There’s a lot, there’s a lot that can be done. And once again, you can do all a lot of these things, similar on a seastead as well, with hyperbaric chambers and pressurized vessels and stuff along those designs. But that’s kinda where I see it. We’re a bunch of different possibilities. And like I say, there’s probably a thousand more that are gonna crop up that we haven’t even thought about.

Carly Jackson: So I’d like to talk a little bit now about starting a seastead business. So it’s a new, whole new industry. And so I’d like to know a little bit about how you’ve approached it. So, Atlantis Sea Colony. What is the life cycle of it? Is it an incorporated business? When did that happen? And how did you make that decision?

Brendon Traxler: Yeah, so it is, it’s an LLC. I started that finally three or four years ago. We’d had the, websites been up since the early 2000s. So it’s like, we’ve had a footprint on the Internet for a couple decades now. It’s one of those things where I, is one of the things where I can either keep on sitting here, talking about it and telling it to people and dreaming, or I can actually do something about it finally and take a risk and do something. So I incorporated the business and, you know, started funneling more money into it, and marketing and bringing on people to help out all volunteers at this point in time.

But it’s one of those things where all this stuff is such a new from a business standpoint. Obviously you said this, a lot of stuff has been around for decades, but from a business standpoint, it’s how do you classify a lot of this stuff? What are we doing? You know, when I was filling up the documents for creating the business, it’s like classify your business. Well, I don’t know. I mean, we’re an underwater habitat. There’s no classification for anything like that. So you gotta, engineering or whatever it may be, and that’s just from the business side of things, but yeah, it is very difficult cause, and that’s one of the struggles, I talked to, you know, some people close to the business like that.

I was like, I just don’t know how to properly market sometimes what, what we do because it can do so many different things. And nobody understands it and nobody else is doing it or has done it really. So there is no legwork to run off of. Like I said, all the other habitats in the past have been always military for the most part. So you can’t really go off of them because we’re definitely not in the military arena. So yeah, it’s a interesting dynamic that we have to deal with. And I think probably a bunch of the seasteaders running the same situation too, is how do you define and how do you build on something that hasn’t really existed before?

Carly Jackson: Yeah. I run into that with the nonprofit, when they try to categorize what kind of nonprofit we are, it’s like, it’s… There’s no category yet for us. So hopefully we’re carving that out. So you mentioned, you’re bringing on some people to help, who is part of your team and how are they helping?

Brendon Traxler:  So anybody’s whose seen our stuff. You know, Adam, he does most of our stuff. He’s been a friend for years. So he came on as wanting to be involved with something bigger and support me. And he just really fit in as far as… He’s a whole lot more outgoing than I am. So sometimes he’ll take the lead on some stuff that I would’ve normally put the brakes on, but at the same time he’s moving things forward.

He’s made me think on some things and changed some things. So it’s one of those people. That’s not a “yes man”, that has definitely come on to help understand what we’re doing and then question what we’re doing. And so that’s definitely helped out. And then because we have Patreon supporters and stuff like that, we’ve actually, one of our Patreons has really come on board and is actually working on some material for us doing some deep dives on underwater habitats to make some vods on that.

And actually him and me are planning a trip back to Jules this summer as well. So he’s done some good work on trying to get some contacts as far as interviews for once. The whole thing with, you know, interviews, as you know, it’s one of those things, we’re just getting the, the name out there and it’s more networking and bringing to light other people’s stuff as, at the same time, bringing to light what we’re doing.

So there’s that. And then we’ve got, like I say, I am working with one college student right now on some engineering stuff and yeah, that’s really right now, and of course I use my sister from time to time for any type of financial stuff since that’s her background. So keep it in the family there, but, yeah, that’s pretty much the team, as of right now.

Carly Jackson: Would you call Atlantis Sea Colony a startup? Like, are you looking, actively looking for investors?

Brendon Traxler:  We’ve talked to a couple investors in the past. Yeah. I mean, I’m not opposed to, I think we’re, we’ve got a business plan. We’ve got, we know what we’re focus is. We know what we’re trying to do even a whole lot better than two years ago. So yeah, I would definitely entertain investors at this point in time. Would love to actually get the prototype built this year. That’s how, that’s how confident we are in the designs that we do have in what we’re working on. So yes, money goes a long way as we, we are all very aware that it’s money at this point in time for a lot of us that’s holding up our projects. So, yeah, absolutely. 

Carly Jackson: I’m glad you brought up your prototype. Can you tell us a bit about that whole process of designing the prototype and you know, what questions you need to answer with the prototype and challenges getting it in some water?

Brendon Traxler: Yeah, well, hold the water out. That’s the biggest question right there. But no, it’s one of those things where once again, this is where Adam came into play. Cause I get very set on my mindset on this is what I want. This is how I want it to look and I’m not gonna deviate from that, you know? So he, so we ended up stripping it back saying, hey, let’s just, you know, what’s the, the bare, the bare level that we can go with to cut costs for one thing, but not cut safety at the same time.

Obviously we don’t, I’m gonna be spending the night in there. So I wanna make sure it’s gonna. So that’s what we started stripping it back to, hey, we don’t need the pressure environment cuz as long we been 20 feet. So we don’t have to worry about having really thick walls with it being close to shore. We don’t have to worry about it generating its own water or oxygen or electricity or anything like that. So we can pump it all in from the surface. We can strip it down to, we need a building or a habitat that we’re stuck underwater, that will hold out the water at the same time. Allow somebody to spend the night in there, spend a day in there or whatever it may be and go from there.

Obviously there’s some things that you’ll, we’re going to try to do different than some habitats have done in the past. And that’s one of the reasons why trying to go simple with it. So we test out some of the design elements. But yeah, that’s basically, basically how it is, is how can we do this on a smaller budget since alot of it is being self-funded short of investors coming along and how do we do it safe. But at the same time, I wanted to make sure that what we’re doing sets the foundation for what’s gonna come next. And so that a lot of the design elements and that the structural elements will be used when we go into phase two, or I call it the “bring to market design” where this is the one we will be putting out in the ocean.

Carly Jackson: And so, can you tell us a little bit more detail? So you said that you want your design to be doing something different than what habitats have been used for in the past. So tell us again, what are some of those differences for you? 

Brendon Traxler: Yeah. So one of the big things in, I was talking to a friend several years ago, who’s also built an underwater habitat for NASA, is an analog system back in the 90s for NASA. And he was talking about one of the biggest struggles is getting the thing underwater. Because, like I said, I think in the Seasteading Social is, you picture a balloon. When your in the pool and you try to push a balloon underwater. It doesn’t want to go because it’s a structure filled with air and it’s not gonna go underwater.

So how do you get something that’s full there down to the bottom of the ocean or bottom of lake bed or whatever it may be going in the past. They’ve always filled it with ballast or whatever, and sunk it to the bottom. And then, you know, with tons of weight, they’ve held it on the bottom of the. The one thing I think that we can do different is it’s a two, our prototype is gonna be a two part thing. It’s gonna be the main structure and then the base. So we’re just gonna drop the base, cause it’s just steel and concrete for the most part and level it out on the bottom. At that point in time, then we can tether the main habitat to it and pull it down onto the base. The difference there is that you can raise it and lower it as need be.

If you, if something goes wrong, you don’t lose the whole thing. We can raise it back to the surface. We can replace it, we can fix it, whatever, and then we can bring it back down again, is what we’re gonna shoot for. Everybody I’ve talked to seems to think this is gonna work till we actually do it. I don’t know. We’re actually gonna, hopefully this summer, I’m gonna get some mockups, some scale down versions and start testing around with that too. But that’s the biggest design element that we’re gonna test on, on the prototype. 

Carly Jackson: And what sort of industries do you think will be the first adopters of going underwater?

Brendon Traxler: That’s a good question. You know, it’s a blue revolution. Blue revolution, let me talk there. It’s starting to get a little bit of hype, you know, you look, look at the fishing industries and stuff along those lines. And I think that if that wave continues, no pun intended there, that it opens up to everything.

I don’t see any application necessarily that can’t translate from land to the ocean. I’ve talked extensively about underwater data centers. My background’s in IT. And then you look at Microsoft has tested this out, actually with putting a data center underwater for extended periods of time. There’s tons of benefits from that from cooling costs to electrical costs to, they even saw, Microsoft said that their servers lasted longer in this environment.

So there’s that you look at food production, whether the fishing takes care of itself, type of thing with what’s being done there, but you need plant growth and stuff along those lines. So you could have greenhouses. Again, you can regulate the oxygen levels underwater so you can get the best growth outta your plants.

Carly Jackson: Yeah. I saw something. I saw something about greenhouses under water and it also was great for pest control.

Brendon Traxler: Yeah, absolutely. Then for me, personally, I deal with sinus issues tons. So it’s one of those things where man, I’m not gonna have to deal with that anymore. If I’m underwater, cause I’m not gonna have to deal with all that. So that’s one of my selfish reasons for wanting to do it. But then you look also, so somebody hit me up and says, hey, what about, like, the preppers and stuff on those lines? What if you had like, a shelter for lockup? Absolutely. You could have the ultra rich buying underwater habitats for doomsday prepping or whatever too.

So, I mean, there’s, there’s that. There’s energy, you know, the wind farms and stuff along those lines. If you got a local place to store, Excess batteries and stuff like those lines you could do that. I don’t know how much of a need there is for that, but it is a possibility. And so, like I said, there’s a bunch of different applications that you can run into when you start building off the water off the coast.

Carly Jackson: All right. So you mentioned before you had Adam come on to help with educating the public, basically. And so tell us a bit about that. So you do these weekly livestream videos?

Brendon Traxler: We do. Actually, the week we’re recording this. It was actually, we did our last one for a while. It’s something we’ve been doing for over a year where we do a weekly, every Tuesday night, we’d come on, open up to the public, usually have topics on there. We talk about different stuff. We’d have interviews on. We feel like it’s run its course. We’re still gonna do ones every once in a while. It’s just not gonna be every week. A lot of times we turn those into our podcast as well. So which, you’ve been on the podcast, you’ve been on the live as well. So you’ve been on all of our stuff, but yeah, it’s one of those things where everything we can do to get the word out there as far as what is going on in the ocean.

Not only just with underwater habitats, but just in general. Because I think there is a lot that’s going on and that, just people don’t know about it. So I figure if there’s one little thing we can do, I think we need, we need to do that. And so that’s why we started doing the podcast. Well, not the podcast, but the live every week, like I said, we’re still working on some interviews for that, whatever Patreon his name is Babe, actually. He’s working on some of stuff for underwater habitats. And so we’ll be doing regular lives and events on Tuesday nights and stuff, but it’s just not gonna be every week going forward.

Carly Jackson: And so doing those live streams, is that what helped you build your Patreon? Or did you have the Patreon before that?

Brendon Traxler: It definitely helped it. It was one of those things where, it was one of those things where that, and honestly, in the Discord too. I think they went hand in hand there with, with the live, we were able to communicate back in real time with people and in a live environment. And it was one of those things where they could see and hear our passion and what we’re doing in here. So I think that there’s a connection with being able to not only hear the inflections in your voice, but actually see it too. And we’re able to show stuff off. And on a weekly basis, we were able to be very caught up.

Sometimes I, you know, I would write the episode or we’re gonna do that night, the day of, so it was really caught up with what’s going on in the world. And stuff along those lines. And then of course, obviously we give a shout out to our Patreons and stuff along those lines. And we threw it out there, hey, if anybody, you know, is good at speaking and wants to come on, or even take over the live for that standpoint, if we wanna delegate that off to somebody else. That was one of the perks we were thrown out there to our Patreons. If they, you know, try to give them more skin in the game, I guess.

Carly Jackson: That’s really interesting that, because underwater living is not something that most people are thinking about on a daily basis. That it humanizes you and Atlantis Sea Colony. And I know, you know, I’ve seen seasteaders be demonized in the press. And even if you’re interviewed by a friendly member of the press, there’s a distance there between you and the reader. But if you’re just showing up as yourself on a video every week and can communicate live, I think it goes a long way to building trust and building the concept that, no, these are real people they’re not out to scam you. They’re not out to pull anyone. They’re just trying to get support for their idea.

Brendon Traxler: And that was, that was a big portion of it too. That’s why Adam, was one of the discussions we had, cause he’s like, man, we don’t need this every week. I’m like, my whole purpose for doing it ultimately was I wanted a track record that showed that, hey, we’ve been talking about this for a long time.

We’re not some fly by night organization that just came up and had some pretty designs on our website that we’re serious about this. And here’s who I am. Here’s what I’m doing. If you have questions or you think we’re fake, you go back and look at our track record. We’ve been doing this for, our YouTube channel has, I don’t know how many hundreds of videos on it now from stuff like the created interviews, we’ve done live streams and along those lines, and it’s something we’re not gonna stop with because I, the more we can get out there in was my opinion, the more it validifies who we are and what we’re doing. Now I know that’s, it seems to be in the underwater habitat world. We’re the only ones that feel that way. Cause everybody else I’ve talked to is like in ghost mode and wants no notoriety. Doesn’t wanna talk about what they’re doing at all. So maybe we’re wrong, but that’s just my opinion. 

Carly Jackson: Oh, that’s interesting. Okay. So there are other folks in this space, but they’re not interested in being in the public eye.

Brendon Traxler: Very much so. I actually talked to one last week who just popped up. He said, I don’t wanna post anything until we have something in the water. And I was like, okay. I mean, I get that. And then there’s another person I’ve talked to on the phone a couple times. You know, he puts stuff out every once in a while, but he’s very similar.

And then there’s, we have a counterpart over in Turkey that actually we have on tomorrow with. He’s very anti social media, as far as posting anything out there, actually we’re doing this event tomorrow and he was, I had a fight to get the thing to even be broadcast on the internet because he didn’t want stuff out there. I’m like, I don’t get it. I don’t get it. But, you know, everybody’s got their own vision and their plan on how they’re gonna do it. It just, to me, it seems like you’d want that out there. Even if, to me, it holds me more accountable because if I’m saying these things, I have to act on them. I can’t just sit back behind a screen, post stuff and then never do anything with it.

Carly Jackson: Are these other projects able to get funding or like, how do they know if they have customers out there? Like, this is just my ignorance. I don’t know how a, how business navigates that without having their public presence.

Brendon Traxler: Yeah. No. And none of ’em do, and that’s that’s the problem is everybody funding is always the Achilles heel for all these. A lot of these guys have some really good designs and some really good ideas. Some of them are, you know, are very good on that, that financial front, where they’re doing the legwork themselves. They’re reaching out to people and they’re saying, hey, here’s what we’re doing and stuff along those lines. And maybe that works. Maybe they know the right keywords and stuff to say to people or have the right context.

But it’s one of those things where if I was investing my money in something and I went to your website and there was nothing there, or there was very little there. And there’s no track record for you. Like the one company that I just talked to last week, the first thing I did. I checked their domain name and see how long have you been registered as a domain. It’d only been a couple months. I was like, all right, what are you guys doing? Cause you’re obviously brand new, but you’re making some big bold claims. So it’s one of those things where it’s mind boggling to me to some extent, but who knows? They may know something. I don’t know.

Carly Jackson: Yeah. That is interesting. Well, that is all I had to ask you about today. So is there anything else you wanna talk about or let the seasteading audience know about Atlantis Sea Colony?

Brendon Traxler: Find us, you know, our social media stuff. I’m sure you’ll post it out there, but it’s all atlantisseacolony.com. We’ve got all of our links to everything out there. Anybody that’s interested join our Discord. That’s always a great place to come or just check outside our social media stuff. Or hit me up. I’m always more than welcome to talk, you know, do video talk, phone calls, whatever I love talking about this stuff, whether it’s above the ocean or under the ocean, obviously I’m more knowledgeable about under the water, but I just love talking about it. And I’ll talk about it all day long.

Carly Jackson: And what is your next step with Atlantis Sea Colony? What are you working on right now?

Brendon Traxler: Right now we are actively getting together a hard price list for everything we need for this prototype so that we can know exactly how much money we’re, or a good estimate. Obviously, when you’re doing something new, you never know exactly how much it costs. You’re gonna be, cause stuff’s gonna come up. But a better idea of exactly how much, what we need. We have an idea how much we need. We’re fine tuning some costs on that, the kind of idea so that we can either approach investors or put it out there for crowdfunding purposes and say, hey, you wanna throw some money at this thing and help us build this?

Carly Jackson: Okay. So I think we’re great. And, you know, thank you so much, Brendan. You’re my first interview of season four. So thank you so much Brendan.

Brendon Traxler: No, thank you for having me.


Catching up with Atlantis Sea Colony

Join our March 2023 Seasteading Social to talk with Brendon Traxler about his underwater habitats.