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Members of Indonesian Sea Nomad Tribe Can Stay Underwater for Up to 13 Minutes at a Time, Thanks to Their Unusually Large Spleens

Known as ‘Sea Nomads’, the Bajau people have wandered the waters of southern Asia for thousands of years, living in house boats and free diving for fish. They’ve long been known for their ability to stay underwater for long periods of time, but until recently, no one really knew how they were able to keep their breath for so long.

According to a recently published study from Cambridge University, the Bajau people have 50 percent larger spleens than their land-dwelling neighbours, which plays a key role in how long they can stay underwater. It plays a key part in what’s known as the “human dive response” or “dive reflex”, preferentially distributing oxygen to the brain and heart, and enabling submersion for long periods of time. As the heart rate slows, blood is directed to the vital organs, and the spleen contracts to push oxygenated red blood cells into the circulation. In an average person, the spleen can boost oxygen levels by 9 percent, but even more in the case of the Bajau, due to its unusually large size.

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Professional Poo Diver Loves His Stinky Job

Brendan Walsh is a professional sewage diver who, believe it or not, actually loves his job. He’s covered in poop for a large part of the day, every day, but that doesn’t seem to bother him at all. He runs a commercial diving business in Melbourne and he has been doing the job for over 25 years. “My company will do any job that involves wetness,” he proudly declares. “As long as there’s a fluid of some kind, we’ll attack it.”

But what in the world would anyone need to dive into a sewer for? Well, as it turns out, there are plenty of reasons. “Mostly we do general maintenance at the sewage farms but it could be rebuilding pumps or clearing blockages,” Brendan explained. “We found lots of false teeth but mainly male and female hygiene products. When we come back out we often have condoms hanging off you. People also don’t chew their corn,” he joked. Australia’s sewage farms need divers because they use bacteria to break down their waste, and not chemicals.

“It’s definitely not a job for the faint-hearted,” Brendan admitted. “It’s more thick than normal diving and you can’t see anything no matter what. It’s more like walking than swimming when you get down there.” Despite that, he says that working with sewage is like working with ‘brown-gold’. “I love my job and always have. I’m a passionate diver from way back, and I’m a mechanic. I’ve never worked a day in my life because I combine my passions. You can’t do a job well unless you love it,” he said.

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Jacob’s Well – America’s Stunning-Yet-Deadly Diving Spot

Jacob’s Well, in Wimberley, Texas, is one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Named after a biblical reference, the well has claimed the lives of over eight divers, but judging by the large number of thrill seekers who choose to dive in it, that doesn’t scare many people.

On the surface, Jacob’s Well looks like a harmless spring that feeds Cypress Creek. Its mouth is just four meters wide, and looks like a calm water body, revealing very little of the dangers that lurk within. The well has four chambers extending several feet below the surface. Local dive shop owner Don Dibble puts it perfectly: “This is the horror side of it.” The first chamber is a straight drop of about 30 feet, after which it angles down to 55 feet. This chamber gets sufficient sunlight, so it is bright and populated with algae and wild life.

The second chamber is 80 feet deep, and houses a false chimney that looks like a way out of the well, but in fact traps divers. Richard Patton, a student at Southwest Texas State University lost his life in the chimney in 1983. A restricted opening from the second chamber leads into the third, which is a small room with unstable gravel. Divers must be careful not to dislodge the gravel in order to navigate this chamber successfully.

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