James Cameron, known for such movies as ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’, has completed his journey to the deepest known point in any of the world’s oceans — the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Guam.
“Just arrived at the ocean’s deepest pt,” Mr. Cameron said in a Twitter message earlier on Sunday. “Hitting bottom never felt so good. Can’t wait to share what I’m seeing with you.”
He reached a depth of 35,756 feet and stayed there for about three hours before going back, said the expedition team. The Hollywood director had planned to spend up to six hours on the sea floor.
“Cameron collected samples for research in marine biology, microbiology, astrobiology, marine geology and geophysics,” the organization said.
Cameron spent his journey to the ocean’s bed in a specially designed submarine called the Deepsea Challenger. The dive began at around 5.50am Monday local time, after being delayed for several days due to bad weather.
He gave his team the instruction to begin the dive and send the 12 tonne, lime-green vessel into the ocean by shouting: “Release, release, release.”
“We’re now a band of brothers and sisters that have been through this for a while,” marine biologist Doug Bartlett told National Geographic News from the ship before the dive.
“People have worked for months or years in a very intensive way to get to this point,” said Bartlett, chief scientist for the ‘DeepSea Challenge’ program, a partnership with the National Geographic Society and Rolex. (The Society owns National Geographic News.)
“I think people are ready,” added Bartlett, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. “They want to get there, and they want to see this happen.”
As CBC News wrote, the trench is 120 times larger than the Grand Canyon and more than 1.6 kilometres deeper than Mount Everest is tall. His return was a “faster-than-expected 70-minute ascent,” reported National Geographic.
“Before surfacing about 500 kilometres southwest of Guam — where an expedition ship’s crane plucked his sub from the sea — Cameron spent hours hovering over Challenger Deep’s desert-like seafloor and gliding along its cliff walls,” the society said in a release.
According to USA Today, the film director has been keen on oceanography since childhood and has made 72 deep-sea submersible dives. Thirty-three of those dives have been to the wreckage of the Titanic, the subject of his film, which is due to be released in a 3-D version next month.
In a 2010, Cameron explained his early love for science fiction and tales of exploration. “The Jacques Cousteau shows actually got me very excited about the fact that there’s an alien world here on Earth,” he said.
“I might not go to an alien world on a spaceship someday — that seemed pretty unlikely. But [the ocean] was a world I could really go to right here on Earth that was as rich and exotic as anything I had imagined from reading these books.”