Patrick Lau is a Sydney-based journalist who covers business, the environment and culture.
Three decades after he represented the Soviet Union as a hurdler, Andrey Alexeenko retains the wiry frame of a track athlete. Except for his shoulder muscles, which bulge alarmingly. Alexeenko has the shoulders of a man who’s spent years reaching upwards to hammer away at something over his head.
As Alexeenko shows off his big yellow submarine, he points out where its refit has been particularly painful or expensive – not in complaint, but as points of interest. Nearly two years after he found a suitable shell and brought it to this Brisbane shipyard, his customisations are almost complete.
This will be the first commercial submarine operating in Australia, accessible to children and centenarians alike. There are a few pretenders – a couple of threeperson, unpressurised quasi-subs up on the Great Barrier Reef, and some private vehicles that get rented out as...