James Cameron is a scuba diving celebrity who’s been to the deepest part of the Mariana Trench
Film director James Cameron isn’t only a celebrity scuba diver, but he’s also been to the bottom of the deep Mariana Trench too.
James Cameron is a scuba diving celebrity and film director and has the title for being the first person to successfully solo dive to the deepest part of the Mariana Trench; Challenger Deep. James Cameron also holds the accolade of having two of the four films that grossed over $2 billion.
Who is James Cameron?
James Cameron was made even more famous directing fantasy movie Avatar. Ranked fourth in terms of the highest grossing film director under the likes of Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Michael Bay.
James Cameron was born on 16th August 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario Canada. He has an estimated net worth of around $700 million, earning huge revenues from his enormously successful films.
He’s famous for films like Avatar, which took 15 years to make from Cameron’s original 80 page document for the film.
He’s directed two of the four films ever to gross over $2 billion worldwide, which were Titanic and Avatar. He also directed The Terminator with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Titanic and underwater film The Abyss.
James Cameron scuba diver
Prior to diving to the deepest part of the ocean, James Cameron was already a certified scuba diver. He first scuba dived in California and he has a love of the oceans and scuba diving. He explains diving as giving him a feeling of being in an alien world.
“I learned to scuba dive in a pool. It wasn’t until I moved to California that I ever even scuba dived in the ocean. But I just loved it. I loved this idea that there was this alien atmosphere right here on planet earth. I knew that I was never going to be an astronaut and visit another star system or land on another planet, but I knew I could explore an alien world right here.” James Cameron
Why did James Cameron go diving and go to the deepest part of the ocean?
Was it the film the Abyss he directed that got James Cameron thinking about diving to the depths of the deepest part of the ocean? Or was it because he was listed in Times Magazine as 100 most influential people in the world? With a wealth that most can only dream of, Cameron has got the funds to do almost anything he wants.
“All 7 billion people on the planet can’t go to all these places, but if one person goes, and they bring back the story, then everybody goes in spirit.” James Cameron.
But whatever his reason for wanting to be the very first person to become the first successful solo diver to the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, Challenger Deep, he did it.
This had been a dream of his ever since he was a young boy. When he was a young boy two men went to the Mariana Trench in 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh. He recalls knowing about Don Walsh when he was dreaming about doing the trip himself.
In fact Don Walsh was part of James Cameron’s expedition. Don was one of the last people on the trip to bid him good luck. He was also the first person Cameron saw on his return to the surface.
“Good luck, have fun.” Were Don Walsh’s words to James Cameron as he got into Deep Sea Challenger.
Where is the Mariana Trench?
The Mariana Trench is located in the Pacific Ocean, just east of the 14 Mariana Islands. which is not far from Japan.
It’s the deepest part of the earth’s oceans. It’s also the deepest location of the earth itself.
How deep is the Mariana Trench where James Cameron dived?
James Cameron’s journey to the bottom of the Mariana Trench was confirmed by members of the National Geographic expedition.
His dive depth on arrival at the lowest point on the planet measured 10,898 meters (35,756 feet).
On his way to the bottom, Cameron passes a number of amazing milestones, including:
- The last trickle of sunlight 1,000 metres (3,281 feet);
- The Deepest diving whale 2,500 metres (8,202 feet);
- Titanic’s final resting place 3,800 metres (12,467 feet);
- Bismark depth 4,877 metres (16,000 feet);
- The snailfish which is the deepest living fish ever filmed 7,700 metres (25,262 feet);
- As deep as Mount Everest is high 8,850 metres (29,035 feet).
- The bottom of Challenger Deep (Mariana Trench) 10,898 meters (35,756 feet).
His deep diving submarine is called Deepsea Challenger.
At the depth of 10,898 metres the Deepsea Challenger shrinks by 7 cm under the pressure. James Cameron compares the design of his lime-green sub to a seahorse, which also swims upright (see video below).
The round-trip from the surface to the bottom of the trench and back to the surface again took James Cameron seven hours. But the whole project took seven years to achieve.
The reason it took this long was because the design of the sub called for things that didn’t exist, which means these things had to be invented before the submarine could be built.
The journey back to the surface took around 70 minutes. That’s a speed of 156 metres (512 feet) per minute. That’s the equivalent of going at 9.36 kilometres per hour (5.82 MPH).
Not only would a scuba diver be crushed at the depth that James Cameron went to, but they wouldn’t be able to come to the surface at this speed either.
At the depth of 10,898 meters (35,756 feet) it’s a pressure of eight tons per square inch. It would simply crush an ordinary scuba diver immediately. At the bottom of the Mariana Trench the water column above James Cameron was exerting a pressure of 1,086 bars (15,750 psi).
This is more than 1,000 times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level.
Video of James Cameron’s trip to the deepest part of the Mariana Trench
In the above National Geographic video, they give various reference points of his dive to a depth of 10,994 metres (36,070 feet).
On the dive down James Cameron’s submersible was carrying a specially made experimental Rolex watch.
The watch is named the same as his sub, the Deepsea Challenge. The watch was put on the hydraulic manipulator arm of Cameron’s submarine.
You’ll see it strapped to the robotic arm as he manipulates it at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
But there were also two other Rolex Watches attached to its hull too.
Rolex scaled up their technology, which was developed for the Rolex Deepsea divers’ watch. The original watch is waterproof to 3,900 metres (12,800 feet).
So this original Rolex divers’ watch could be used to dive down to the Titanic, which is sat at a depth of 3,800 metres (12,467 feet). Except that this too would be too deep for a scuba diver to dive to.
But the Deepsea Challenge Rolex Watch is guaranteed to a depth of 12,000 metres (39,370 feet). All the watches survived the trip.
It’s clear that a scuba diver would never go these kind of depths, but it certainly prooved a point.
I hope you enjoyed this article about James Cameron scuba diving and his trip to the Mariana Trench
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about James Cameron scuba diving), please comment below with your questions. Please share your seahorse story and the best place in the world you’ve found to scuba dive, snorkel or swim with them.
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Have fun and be safe!