Branson's latest toy: Underwater Necker Nymph

Not content with conquering space, Richard Branson looks to underwater tourism with his new underwater craft.

Hawkes Ocean Technologies

I want to be more like Richard Branson. I'm sorry, I meant Sir Richard Branson. He may not be the absolute richest guy around, but he has enough wealth to use it in some awesome ways. Right now, he's using it to buy a personal submarine that carries a pilot and two well-off visitors for extended underwater excursions.

Above, you'll see the Necker Nymph. It's a carbon fiber personal submarine made by Hawkes Ocean Technologies that you can rent out if you're lucky enough to be staying on Branson's $88k-a-week Caribbean island. The fee is only $25,000 a week, so yeah, it's totally doable if you're one of his friends.

Right now Branson has just one Necker Nymph, and it's expected to arrive on his island this weekend. But in true Branson--sorry again, Sir Branson--fashion, he reportedly plans to plant the $575,000 swimming wing at resorts around the world. A pressurized version could conceivably get down to about 36,000 feet, or almost 7 miles.

Sure, Bill Gates and his wife (along with Warren Buffett) are using their billions to cure all the diseases in the world, which is cool and all, but that's not Branson's style (though he is charitable, too).

No, one day he decided he wanted a spaceship . Since he can't just buy one, he gave some smarties a bunch of money and said, "Build me one." So they did, and now the company, called Scaled Composites, is helping to launch (ha!) the industry of space tourism. If Branson wants a toy that doesn't exist he builds it. Then he finds a way to make money on it. That's what's happening here. And it is awesome.

I want to go to either space or into the gaping void of the ocean. I, clearly, need to make friends with Sir Richard Branson.

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.

     

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