A new opportunity has opened up for thrill-seekers and adventurers: the chance to dive down to the Challenger Deep – located at the bottom of the western Pacific Ocean’s Marianas Trench.
Travel company EYOS Expeditions and diving company Caladan Oceanic have teamed up to offer this unique opportunity to members of the public.
“This is the most exclusive destination on Earth,” said Rob McCallum, the founding partner of EYOS Expeditions.
“Currently, only three manned expeditions have ever been made to the bottom of Challenger Deep and more people have been to the moon than to the bottom of the ocean.”
Follow in the ‘footsteps’ of a Hollywood legend
So if you have US$750 000 to spare, you can join legendary Hollywood director James Cameron as one of the few people on earth to have visited Challenger Deep.
But you’ll need to be quick to book your spot, as for now only three people will be offered this unique opportunity.
According to EYOS, only seven people have ever visited this location, believed to be the deepest in the ocean at 10,920m down.
The launch date for the exploration boat, DSSV Pressure Drop, is in June 2020.
The three travellers – who will be selected on a first-come first-serve basis, will be called “Mission Specialists”.
They will spend eight days with the ‘Ring of Fire Expedition’.
Each dive down to Challenger Deep takes about 14 hours, four hours of which will be spent on the bottom of the ocean.
Caladan Oceanic’s submersible vehicle, dubbed ‘Limiting Factor’ has already made five expeditions to the Mariana Trench and has been pressure tested to withstand a depth of 14 000 metres.
Limiting Factor boasts a 90mm thick titanium sphere which according to EYOS will result in the paying customers experiencing ‘no pressure changes or physiological stresses at all.’
Entertainment such as movies, a gym, and a “Sky Bar” for sundowners will be available.
But guests, who do not require any formal training, can also fully immerse themselves in the technical details of the Challenger Deep.dive as well.
“Whilst onboard, Mission Specialists will be fully integrated members of the team and free to work alongside our sonar operator/ocean mappers, submersible technicians, film production team, expedition management and ship’s officers to gain an insight into the complexities and challenges of hadal exploration,” McCallum explained.
The Challenger Deep mission will begin in in Agat, Guam (just south of Japan and east of the Philippines), from where it takes a day to reach the Marianas Trench.
It forms part of a six-month Ring of Fire expedition to verify some of the ocean’s deepest points and to collect and analyze samples.
Image credit: Five Deeps