Cameron vs Mariana Trench

The DeepSea Challenger submarine, built for the DeepSea Challenge.
© Photo by Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

This is too cool not to send up a quick announcement about! After 50 odd years, a human is plumbing the depths of the Mariana Trench! Acclaimed Canadian film director, underwater explorer and screenwriter, is putting his money, and life, where his mouth is. After describing the state of today’s deep sea exploration as “Piss Poor”, he has descended to Challenger Deep in a custom built and specially designed submarine christened the “DeepSea Challenger”. If successful, he will be the third person in the world to visit the deepest point of our ocean, nearly 11km from the surface. The last visitors were in 1960, when Jacques Piccard and Lt.(N) Don Walsh, who descended in a bathyscaphe named Trieste.

Earlier this weekend, James Cameron had said that he would descend, “Weather Gods permitting”, apparently they are both permitting and encouraging! Best of luck to James Cameron, and hopefully he’ll bring back some amazing data and photos! This post will have regular updates as this develops!

UPDATE: 1503hrs PST:
James Cameron has reached the bottom, almost 11km down! He’ll spend the next four to six hours taking samples before returning to the surface!

UPDATE: 1520hrs PST:
James Cameron is currently operating at 10898m below the surface. That’s over 1000 ATA for the divers at home!

UPDATE: 1903hrs PST
James Cameron has returned to the surface, after a faster than planned 70 minute ascent from 11km down! He’s reportedly fine, although stiff from being in a standing position for the last few hours.

UPDATE: 2004hrs PST
According to CBC reporting, James Cameron plans to make a documentary with the footage he’s filmed at depth. While he was there, he also collected numerous samples for various scientists and set a record for time at depth. The team aboard the Trieste was only there for about 20 minutes!

UPDATE: 2235hrs PST
Well, this has been a monumental day, where a truly historical act of exploration has occurred. Thanks everyone for following my post, and once he releases pictures, I’ll have the link posted to both the Facebook and Google+ pages. James Cameron has done a great service to exploration and scientific advancement, and hopefully gave deep sea research the shot in the arm that it needed to get it going again in the minds of the public!

About the author

Graeme is a professional diver, qualified as a PADI and SDI Divemaster, DCBC 40m Unrestricted Commercial Scuba Diver, 30m Restricted Surface Supply diver, and CAUS Scientific Diver Lv.2. Graeme has an Associate Degree of Arts in Environmental Studies, where he focused on archaeology and physical geography, and an Advanced GIS certificate.