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Daily Diary #6 — June 14, 2013
This morning, as we followed the sub into the driveway of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) after driving through the night from Washington, D.C., we were flooded with a series of different, conflicting emotions. Our entire journey had been leading up to this moment, and as we watched the truck pull into the place that the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER will call its news home, a mixture of immense pride, joy, and sadness brewed in all of us. For the last 14 days, we have called ourselves a team but become more like a family. Each day has been long and full of hard and often frustrating work, but our genuine belief in the mission of the DEEPSEA America tour has made every minute of this adventure remarkable.

From the beginning, we set out to educate and inspire kids, at first unsure of how receptive they would be or how much success we’d find. We were nervous about the possibility that we had overestimated their interest and ability to engage with this type of material, never expecting to find that we had underestimated their curiosity. It was at our first stop at the Perot Museum in Dallas when our fears were permanently laid to rest and our confidence began to blossom, as we were met by hundreds of brilliant, curious future scientists who were dying to ask questions and embrace answers. We found that with every conversation, the kids taught us just as much as we taught them about inspiration and their importance to the future of the world.

Our momentum snowballed as we interacted with new people at every museum, truck stop, aquarium and cheap motel where we stopped along the way, all leading up to the moment this morning when the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER rolled in to meet its new family at Woods Hole. Recalling the pure joy that we felt during the many adventures of the last two weeks made it hard to say goodbye to the CHALLENGER, and even harder accept that after today, we will be going our separate ways. The thought of not spending 12 hours a day crammed together in an RV making phone calls and blog posts and endless jokes is a sad one, but as we watched the sub be lifted out of its cradle and touch ground, we sighed with relief and thought only one thing: mission accomplished.

Onlookers celebrate arrival of DEEPSEA CHALLENGER. WHOI engineers will study the sub’s technology for future exploration.

David Wotherspoon, and John Garvin of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE team at ceremony to mark arrival of DEEPSEA CHALLENGER at WHOI.

Nicolas Bingham, Ty Boyce and Walt Conti—  all pivotal members of theDEEPSEA CHALLENGE team.

Students from the Chatham Middle School listen as James Cameron describes his sub and its expedition to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.

Passing of the torch— WHOI Director and President Susan K. Avery accepts a piece of tape used as a safety check on the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER. The tape was used as a symbolic marker the transfer of the possession of the sub from Cameron to WHOI.

Dalton Abbott of the DEEPSEA America team.

One of the remarkable workshops at WHOI.

James Cameron takes reporters from Japan’s NHK network on a vertical tour of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER.

James Cameron points out features of the training sphere— identical to the sphere embedded within the sub.

The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER comes to Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, June 11.

Kids hard at work drawing their own submarines.

A group of students participating in a submarine design challenge.

Panoramic view of the crowd that came to see the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER.

The crowd listening to James Cameron speak on the importance of curiosity and innovation.


We had a great day in Washington DC today. More to come soon!

via nationalaquarium 10 notes


Explorer & Academy-Award winner, James Cameron, will be bringing DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, the  world’s only piloted submersible capable of diving to full-ocean depth, to Washington, DC on June 11, 2013!

Cameron piloted the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER to a depth of 35,787 feet in the Challenger Deep, an area located within the US Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, last year. He became the first person in history to reach the Challenger Deep as a sole pilot!

Stop by Woodrow Wilson Plaza next Tuesday to see the submersible, James Cameron, Susan Avery, President and Director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and National Aquarium CEO, John Racanelli! 

Daily Diary #5 — June 7, 2013
The event in Atlanta yesterday was another great success, both in terms of public and press turnout. After leaving our hotel in the early morning and walking a few blocks to the massive, ship-like building of the Georgia Aquarium, we were greeted by a team of excited employees and eager early arrivers. There was a buzz in the air that was almost palpable, reminding us of the feeling we got when we first walked onto the scene in Dallas and were welcomed by a similarly remarkable crew. It wasn’t long after we arrived that the event began and a number of brilliant speakers took the stage, each of them unique but delivering a similar message about the importance of innovation, inspiration and discovery.

Tong Tong, left, documenting the aquarium’s cafe with Nafsika at lunch.

‏Chuck Kalb of Rolex with key DEEPSEA CHALLENGE team members, displaying their commemorative Rolex expedition watches.

Dijanna Figueroa, left, and David Gallo, middle, talking to Sven Lorenz from the Charles Darwin Foundation.

As the sub sat on display for the next five hours, many visitors came and went. Hundreds of people, some very young and some very old, marveled at the sight of this bright green machine and listened intently as the on-site expedition scientists and engineers explained the intricacies of the sub and its feats. One little boy, who was there even before we arrived, asked question after question, engaging Dr. Chris Symons in an impressive dialogue that allowed her to show off her expertise and left him in awe. Mission accomplished.

We must admit that this job comes with perks. Throughout the day, we all took turns being led around the incredibly beautiful aquarium by seasoned tour guides. Walking through, we were awed by each and every exhibit, from the frogs to the albino alligators, and literally stunned silent by the aquarium’s biggest attraction— a 6.3 million gallon tank that holds a myriad of sea life, including massive sawfish, manta rays, and three fully grown whale sharks.

‏Frog exhibit.

As incredible as it was to see these creatures through the glass on the the main floor, it barely compared to what we got to do next. On what they called a “behind the scenes tour”, we piled into an elevator and took it to the highest floor of the aquarium. When we stepped out, we we were standing at the top of the aforementioned massive tank, looking down into thirty feet of water to watch these creatures from above. Suffice it to say, a 15-foot whale shark swimming by at surface level, close enough to reach in and touch, was up there in the “best life moments” list for every one of us.

When we returned to the sub after our detour, we noticed something amazing: the same tenacious little boy was still there, five hours later, asking questions and discussing the sub at length with Chris. In a conversation with his mother at the end of the day, she said that he had insisted on staying the entire time, inspecting the sub and wanting to learn everything he could about it. In the short time that we’ve been on the road, we have met a lot of children like this who bring the STEM method of education to life in a highly personal way, teaching us as much as we have taught them and providing us with the necessary fuel to continue on this journey. With all the time and energy we spend making calls to press outlets and various venues, trying to make sure we are making as big a media splash as possible, it has meant everything to have moments like this that remind us of the significant number of young lives that have been changed from the time we left Los Angeles just six days ago.

Jim Cameron talks to Dalton Abbott of the DEEPSEA America media team about the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition.