Growing up in southern England within 30 miles of the coast, Tania Bacchus was always fascinated by the ocean, especially the “deep ocean floor beyond the continental edges.” In the mid-1990s, her research brought her the rare opportunity to explore vastly uncharted territory at depths of 1,400 feet in a submersible vessel operated by the Harbor Branch Foundation of Fort Pierce, Fla.
“There are maybe six submersibles available to the scientific community in the United States so competition to go in them is pretty fierce. It’s so fascinating you don’t have time to feel claustrophobic,” she says. “If somebody offered me the opportunity again I’d go in a heartbeat.”
Way above sea level at Johnson State, Tania teaches oceanography, earth science and meteorology, among other subjects, and uses statistics gathered from the campus weather station to inform her current research focusing on climate change in Vermont. Tania still relishes trips to the coasts of Maine, Virginia and England where, she says, she is a “beach explorer.”