Our aquanauts begin with a short "training" session on the mothership. This consists of a general introduction to the DeepSee submersible, an all-important safety briefing and finally the parameters of the scheduled dive including position, depth, geology and expected species to be encountered. Of course, there can always be surprises where deep encounters are concerned. Each adventurer is then outfitted with a fresh, cotton one-piece jumpsuit and special footwear for the trip below.
The sub pilot and one or two passengers then board the submarine as it floats within the protective hull of the Argo. Boarding is as easy as simply stepping into the cockpit and requires no special coordination or skill.
The extreme depths we explore are a serious undertaking. The safe operation actually requires two pilots at all times: one for the sub and another aboard the dedicated support boat, TopSee. TopSee also carries an in-water specialist to assist with the sub's final stage checklist just before decent. Surface to sub communication between the two vessels is maintained throughout the dive.
Regardless of the dive site, the DeepSee is always towed to the target area by the control skiff TopSee. The sub is given a final check of all systems both externally, by the dive technician in the water and aboard as the pilot completes his pre-dive procedures. Now situated above the dive target with all systems go, the sub is disconnected and she is free, using her own power to complete the dive.
During the dive, the control skiff is constantly monitoring, guiding, assisting and following the submersible, employing its high tech tracking and communication equipment throughout the duration of expedition.
You are welcome to bring your own still and video cameras onboard with you during your adventure. After the completion of the dive, passengers will also receive our souvenir DVD, a compilation of videos and images of prior encounters from some of DeepSee's early dives.
Normally, the sub can perform two dives each day, one in the morning and another scheduled for the afternoon. A total of four passengers per day will have the opportunity for this once in a lifetime experience.