James Cameron got tired of hunting expensive prostitutes for sport using trained falcons on his private yacht recently, and instead decided to become the first man to take a solo trip to the lowest point on Earth, the 35,756-deep Mariana’s Trench, 200 miles southwest of Guam. Reaching bottom, Cameron tweeted (yes, he tweeted from the bottom of the ocean): “Just arrived at the ocean’s deepest [point]. Hitting bottom never felt so good. Can’t wait to share what I’m seeing [with] you.”
And James Cameron knows a little something about hitting bottom, considering he once ordered a cargo plane to drop a crate full of naked Indonesian boys covered in the finest talcum powder into his backyard, running out of the house screaming THE BOYS ARE HERE! THE BOYS ARE HERE! chasing after them in his footy pajamas, paddling their bottoms with ping pong paddles until the pink flesh shone through the powder, at which point he tossed the boys aside and said “these are spent, order more.” [credit: Doug Stanhope]
The scale of the trench is hard to grasp — it’s 120 times larger than the Grand Canyon and more than a mile deeper than Mount Everest is tall.
Cameron made the dive aboard his 12-ton, lime-green sub called “Deepsea Challenger.” He planned to collect samples for biologists and geologists to study.
The first and only time anyone dove to these depths was in 1960. Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Capt. Don Walsh took nearly five hours to reach the bottom and stayed just 20 minutes. They had little to report on what they saw, however, because their submarine kicked up so much sand from the ocean floor.
The director of “Titanic,” ”Avatar” and other films used a specially designed submarine to dive nearly seven miles, completing his journey a little before 8 a.m. Monday local time, according to Stephanie Montgomery of the National Geographic Society.
He plans to spend about six hours exploring and filming the Trench. [Reuters]
Well, that’s what he planned, anyway. He had to cut his journey three hours short because of a hydraulic leak.
The descent took 156 minutes, but after he noticed the fluid leak, Cameron decided to end the mission early and his ascent took just 70 minutes.
“I saw a lot of hydraulic oil come up in front of the port. The port got coated with it. I couldn’t pick anything up, so I began to feel like it was a moment of diminishing returns to go on,” he said. “I lost a lot of thrusters. I lost the whole starboard side. That’s when I decided to come up. I couldn’t go any further — I was just spinning in a circle.”
Cameron had told The Associated Press in an interview after a 5.1 mile-deep practice run near Papua New Guinea earlier this month that the water pressure at these massive depths “is in the back of your mind.” The submarine would implode in an instant if it leaked, he said.
Luckily, his hydraulic leak was less serious. His sub was spotted by helicopter and he was picked up by the support vessel the Mermaid Sapphire shortly afterward.
“It was bleak. It looked like the moon. I didn’t see a fish… I didn’t find anything that looked alive to me, other than a few [shrimplike] amphipods in the water,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I got to a place where I could take interesting geology samples or found anything interesting biologically.”
National Geographic will chronicle the adventure in 3D at theaters and later on TV. [Fox]
Aw, poor guy. He sounds like Homer Simpson in that episode where he orders a giant beer in Australia. “Yeah… I guess it’s pretty deep.”
It turns out deep-sea diving expeditions are only so interesting if they don’t come with a DVD autographed by a celebrity impersonator. It’s too bad, I could’ve put him in touch with my Ed Harris guy. Anyway, later this week, Cameron plans to use DNA trapped in a fossilized stalactite found in Africa to clone an ancient giant rodent so that he can make his dogs fight it. “God, I’m so bored,” said Cameron in a statement, shoveling bundles of money into a giant furnace.