Explorer Sets World Record For Diving To The Deepest Known Point On Earth And The Bottom Of The Ocean Sounds Like A No For Me, Dawg
Victor Vescovo is the real life Leland Van Lew, the base-jumping, crocodile wrestling, volcano luging daredevil from Along Came Polly. Vescovo is a retired Navy officer turned private equity investor and explorer whose idea of fun is climbing the highest mountain on each of the world’s continents.
The 53-year-old Texan has eclipsed the tallest mountains in the world and immediately set his sights on the deepest points of the world’s most prominent oceans. His plan was to dive to the deepest parts of all five of Earth’s oceans.
In December 2018, he became the first person to reach the deepest point of the Atlantic Ocean (27,480 feet), using a $50 million submarine system called DSV Limiting Factor. He followed that up by becoming the first person to reach the bottom of the Southern Ocean (24,388 feet) in February 2019. The Java Trench in the Indian Ocean (23,596 feet) after that, where he discovered a new species.
And May 1, Vescovo has achieved his most insane goal yet, by setting a record for the deepest dive and deepest solo dive ever recorded. Vescova used the Limiting Factor to descend 35,853 feet into the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep—the deepest known point on Earth. The dive beat out the previous solo record held by director James Cameron by 66 feet set in March 2012.
In an interview with Newsweek, the explorer described what the experience was like in unchartered territory:
“The bottom was a flat, beige basin of sorts with a very thick layer of silt. There were some small, translucent animals that gently undulate to move about—but there was definitely life at the very bottom of the ocean, it was not dead by any means. It felt absolutely extraordinary to be in a technical creation by man, with 16,000 psi crushing in against the hull and viewports, and yet I almost felt like I was sitting in an aircraft cockpit. A bit cooler because of the temperature, but it was amazing that human ingenuity and engineering could allow us to easily travel to this extremely inhospitable place to continue exploring our world. I felt very excited and privileged to get to see it, but also very much at peace because it really is a quiet, peaceful, place.”
Being in the deepest part of the pitch black ocean by yourself with no concrete knowledge of what lurks on the ocean floor sounds like my worst nightmare. Here was Vescovo’s biggest concern:
“The biggest risk was probably developing some kind of leak at extreme pressure,” he continued. “When you are down in the ocean, it can be as much as three and a half hours to the surface. A rapid, catastrophic leak or structural failure would obliterate you in a fraction of a second, but a slow leak is something that would have been hard to fix before you could come to the surface—so everything was designed to make that virtually impossible. I feel safer in the sub than I do often driving on a Texas highway at rush hour.”
The unprecedented expedition is being filmed for Discovery Channel. Bout to be lit.