Engineer Erika Bergman totally understands the thrill Cruz probably felt when he stepped into the tiny submarine Ridley the very first time in Explorer Academy: The Falcon’s Feather. She’s a deep-sea submersible pilot who explores places in the ocean few people have ever seen.
“Every single dive is completely different,” she says. “It doesn’t matter if I’ve been to the spot a hundred times—I always see something new and unexpected whenever I dive.”
Bergman’s work with submersibles inspired Explorer Academy author Trudi Trueit to create the Ridley. And Bergman is an explorer herself, piloting subs all over the world to discover unique underwater ecosystems. Her passion started when she was a kid growing up around water, even spending some of her childhood in Hawaii (just like Cruz!). Her hobby? Tinkering with engines! Eventually she combined that with her love of the ocean and became an engineer, working mostly on ships and subs.
Being an engineer is challenging enough, but working on underwater vehicles takes supersmarts. For instance, salt water eats away at, or corrodes, metal quickly, and submersibles can become unstable at deep depths because of intense pressure. (And you don’t want to spring a leak at the bottom of the sea.) So Bergman has to figure out how to design her submersibles to overcome those obstacles. But developing new ideas and technologies is what being an explorer is all about. Lucky for us—and the ocean—Bergman is up to the challenge.