The DeepSee submersible is the incarnation of a common dream, by two very uncommon men: Avi Klapfer, founder of the renowned Undersea Hunter fleet of dive, film and research vessels, along with his long-time friend, the real estate developer and avid underwater photographer, Steve Drogin.
In order to revolutionize deep submersible diving, Avi and Steve began by setting a clear and exceptionally lofty goal. They insisted on an ambitious design that would create a new type of vehicle: a sub designed from the bottom up on the duel mantras of safety and simplicity. The design conception joined the innovative operational objective of a drastically shortened dive-cycle to an innately more streamlined and comfortable embarkation process.
To make their vision a reality, Avi and Steve selected the highly qualified and experienced team of engineers at SEAmagine Hydrospace Corporation of Claremont, California. Enthusiastically receptive to the mission of creating a new class of submersible, the team began a three-year process of design and development. With rigorous quality control throughout its development and exhaustive testing by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), this once futuristic dream has become a reality.
Other submersibles require a passenger to remain seated inside the sub for extended periods of time both before and after the dive, while the support vessel prepares to launch, launches and then later retrieves and secures the sub after each dive mission. In contrast, DeepSee was designed to allow its passengers to safely and effortlessly step aboard and disembark the sub while it is floating tacitly within the protective hull of the mothership Argo. This is precisely the revolution! How quickly, effortlessly and casually one can undertake such exceptional adventures. DeepSee has ample room for a pilot and two passengers to sit comfortably, so you can share this astounding journey with a friend.
Of course along with DeepSee’s innovative design comes her operational mission, which has always been to collect data and capture live images of the diverse life forms in the deep ocean. To accomplish this, she is equipped with a high definition video camera, digital still cameras and an impressive array of HID lights. DeepSee also boasts a fully articulated, manipulator arm for collecting samples or retrieving scientific instruments. Passengers are welcome to simultaneously use their own video and still cameras as well, through the subs optically-corrected, acrylic sphere.
DeepSee made her first dives at Cocos Island back in 2006. During these initial explorations, we were thrilled to notice that the sub blended so well with the surrounding environment that the marine life largely ignored her! This allows us to get really up-close and personal with the creatures just outside our cockpit. It was also supremely satisfying to see how agilely DeepSee handles and performs, navigating or hovering with precision just a few feet above the rocks and corals while causing no disturbance to the marine environment.
Discoveries made during just these few initial trips were nothing short of breathtaking. We have discovered several seamounts and deep vertical ridges as well as species that have never before been seen at Cocos. One is the prehistoric looking Ateleopodid (Guentherus altivela), also known as the jello-nosefish. Another rarity we often encounter is the goosefish (Lophiodes chaulinaris) and the crowning glory, the prickly shark (Echinirhinos cookei). Prickly sharks are regularly encountered at depths ranging from 185-380 meters (605-1250 feet) in a newly explored deep area we have named, “The Canyons”. This was the first time that this species of shark has been seen at Cocos and one of the few time it has ever been seen, much less filmed, in its natural, deep-ocean habitat.