DEEPSEE Celebrating 10 years of exploration.
This month we have celebrated the 10th birthday of our deep see submersible operation! My how time flies when you’re having fun.
10 years is an important benchmark for the operation, a telling touchstone of an interesting story of vision, challenges and achievements.
Let’s rewind the clock 11 years to when we were in the concept phase of development:
We dreamt of opening a new frontier of ocean exploration for avid divers, scientists and documentary productions.
We were driven by exciting ideas to explore and experience firsthand a mysterious world seen by very few.
With this spark of an idea in mind, next came the second stage of turning this dream into reality: construction.
Building the perfect submersible to fit our requirements was not a simple task. After much research, we chose the perfect manufacturer to join us for the long run: SeaMagine, from California.
SeaMagine design and engineering is ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) approved, which for us is a stamp of manufacturing safety and quality.
After joining forces with such a reputable company, our new submersible began coming to life right before our very eyes. SeaMagine engineers painstakingly transformed our demanding (and sometimes crazy!) ideas into reality. After a process that took almost 2 years to complete, together we co-created the DEEPSEE as we know her today – a one-of-a-kind, 3-person submersible rated to 1500ft. It is simultaneously a work of art and a highly maneuverable, perfect-for-observation filming and science platform.
As a part of having to work under the ABS’s rigorous standards, our engineers had to certify every single piece of material went into the sub to the satisfaction of the inspectors. One of the regulations demanded that the two acrylic spheres of the submersible be replaced every 10 years – a highly specialized process that is no easy task.
Earlier this year, again with the help of SeaMagine engineers, we replaced the Acrylic hemispheres with new ones. In order to make sure we’d completed a job well done, we had an ABS inspector lower the sub down to 1,875ft (unmanned) as a pressure test. To our great relief DEEPSEE passed the test with flying colors!
Yet just having a submersible is only telling half of the story…
A sub needs a mother. More specifically, it needs a mother ship.
Our sub needed a vessel with enough deck space to host the submersible on board. It needed a big crane to launch and retrieve it every single day (which is no easy task considering the DEEPSEE weighs 7.5 tons). Oh, and not to mention the 4 hydraulic winches to control the ropes.
May we present to you the MV Argo: The perfect, custom-designed mother ship for the DeepSee.
The Argo is set for the high end, avid diver, with all services in mind, including nitrox generator and deck arrangement for science and diving expeditions alike.
Fitted with an appendix bay as an extension to her original stern, the Argo has basically a built-in parking lot for the sub once it is launched into the water. This makes boarding the sub as easy as a walk in the park.
Once we created the right tools for the task, we had to look at the next crucial factor – the crew.
Developing operation protocols, applying the US Coast Guard Pilot Training program, and selecting the right candidates was only just the beginning. A training program like this requires 6 months of long days at sea, plenty of new systems to learn and development of great teamwork skills. These are just a few elements of the job description. Today, with the 4th generation of DEEPSEE pilots’ accumulated knowledge, we have a seasoned team of technician pilots working the sub.
Exploring and discovering the depths surrounding Cocos Island during the first couple of years of operation opened a whole new universe. We discovered creatures that were brand new to science as well as unknown animal behavior. We submerged with guests from all over the world as well as film crews and scientists as Cocos Island showed us the great potential hidden down in its deep waters.
Before we knew it people from all over the world began chartering us for international projects. We traveled from Isla Guadalupe, Mexico in the north to Isla San Ambrosio of Chile in the south. We began working with big names like National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. Scientists and private wealthy individuals also wanted to traverse this secret world with us, to travel to the edge of light and explore inner space. Our vision of exploration of uncharted ocean was coming to life.
Today, after 2,350 dives, our operation is ready to take on any challenging project with in our depth of range: from conservation and science projects to pharmaceutical missions to collect new spices that might help in future cancer treatment. With today’s rising interest protecting the precious resource that is the ocean, we are seeking to use our platform to support long-term expeditions and become strategic likeminded partners.
This coming December, Argo and DeepSee will visit the Galapagos Island for a month. On board we’ll be hosting a team of filmmakers and scientists from National Geographic who are interested in documenting the health status of the archipelago as a part of their ongoing project known as “Pristine Seas.” ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/explore/pristine-seas/about/
For now, DeepSee immersions are available at Cocos Island. Join us and reserve your seat for the experience of a lifetime.
Explore the unknown with us!