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When the 6-foot-2 Cameron climbed into the cramped sub, his head hit one end and his feet the other. It was warm outside because it was near the equator; it was toasty inside, temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit, because of the heat given off by the sub’s electronics. It felt “like a sauna,” he said.

But as he plunged into the deep, it grew cold inside the sub as the waters outside dropped to around 36 degrees, he said.

The pressure on the sub was immense _ comparable to three SUVs resting on a toe. The super-strong sub shrank three inches under that pressure, Cameron said.

“It’s a very weird environment,” he said. “I can’t say it’s very comfortable. And you can’t stretch out.”

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Online:

Deepsea Challenge: http://deepseachallenge.com

Branson’s Virgin Oceanic: http://www.virginoceanic.com

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Follow Seth Borenstein at http://twitter.com/borenbears