If Elvis' infamous air-conditioned doghouse was considered the height of excess in the 1960s, the insane luxuries we have at our fingertips today make Elvis look like nothin' but a hound dog. Case in point: personal submarines. I only recently discovered their existence, after two friends returned from their Bahamas honeymoon with pictures and stories of such craft (pictured). I was instantly both appalled and jealous -- who ever heard of such a thing? Wait, I wanna do that! Turns out that their "submarines" are actually known as "breathing observation bubbles," and are rather limited compared to full-on submarines, which, yes, you can buy -- or build -- yourself. To wit:
This Russian man built his own submarine, registered it as a boat with the Russian boat registry, and regularly pilots it back and forth between Helsinki and St. Petersburg at speeds up to four knots. If that sounds like fun to any of you, consider for a moment how many bathrooms, burger joints and Motel 6s are between Finland and Russia underwater. (Uh, let's see ... carry the two ... oh, none.) Luckily, this man strong like bear. Link.
Aquarius Personal Submersible
Going up in price range a bit, there's the Aquarius, a $1.5 million plaything that'll keep you breathing underwater for up to 72 hours, dive to 100 meters and race along at a sharklike seven knots.
For all you Trumps out there, there's the Phoenix 1000, which aside from having a terrible name (who wants to entrust their life to a submarine that's risen from the proverbial ashes?), will put a dent in your pocketbook to the tune of $78 million ... hypothetically. (They still haven't sold one yet. Any takers?) Before you laugh it off, though, check out these specs: at more than 200 feet in length and outfitted with more rooms than the house I grew up in (as well as it's own docking minisub), it's more of an underwater yacht than a submarine. This ain't your WWII veteran grandfather's claustrophobia-inducing hellhole.