James Cameron has triumphantly resurfaced from the Earth’s deepest point – Mariana Trench – where only two men have ever been before.
James Cameron, Avatar and Titanic film director, used a specially-designed submarine to descend nearly seven miles to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, an area 200 miles southwest of the Pacific island of Guam.
As James Cameron, 57, hit the bottom, he tweeted: “Just arrived at the ocean’s deepest pt. Hitting bottom never felt so good. Can’t wait to share what I’m seeing w/ you.”
James Cameron returned to the surface of the Pacific Ocean on Monday morning local time, according to Stephanie Montgomery of the National Geographic Society, where the director is an explorer-in-residence.
He spent a little more than three hours under water after reaching a depth of 35,756 feet before he began his return to the surface.
James Cameron had planned to spend up to six hours on the sea floor.
James Cameron’s return aboard his 12-ton, lime-green sub called Deepsea Challenger was a “faster-than-expected 70-minute ascent”, according to National Geographic.
He began the dive earlier Monday at approximately 5.15 a.m. local time.
“RELEASE, RELEASE, RELEASE!” were the last words James Cameron uttered before beginning the dive, according to a Twitter post from the expedition.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appeared in Cameron’s Terminator films, showed his support for the director via Twitter: “Congrats to my great friend on the deepest solo dive ever. Always a pioneer.”
Richard Branson and Jessica Alba were just a couple of the other celebrities who got behind James Cameron’s journey.
The scale of the Mariana Trench is hard to grasp – it is 120 times larger than the Grand Canyon and more than a mile deeper than Mount Everest is tall.
It was expected to take James Cameron 90 minutes to reach the bottom aboard Deepsea Challenger.
Once there, James Cameron planned to spend six hours collecting samples for biologists and geologists to study.
While it didn’t need it, the submarine James Cameron helped design has the capability to support life for a 56-hour dive.
The first and only time anyone dove to these depths was in 1960.
Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Capt. Don Walsh took nearly five hours to reach the bottom and stayed just 20 minutes.
They didn’t have much to report on what they saw there, however, because their submarine kicked up so much sand from the ocean floor they couldn’t see much.
One of the risks of a dive so deep is extreme water pressure. At 6.8 miles below the surface, the pressure is the equivalent of three SUVs sitting on your toe.
James Cameron said earlier this month that, after a 5.1 mile-deep practice run near Papua New Guinea, the pressure “is in the back of your mind”.
The submarine would implode in an instant if it leaked, James Cameron said.
But while he was a little apprehensive beforehand, James Cameron wasn’t scared or nervous while underwater.
“When you are actually on the dive you have to trust the engineering was done right,” James Cameron said.
The latest dive site, which is at the deepest point in the Mariana Trench, is named Challenger Deep after the British naval vessel HMS Challenger that used sound to first measure its depth.
James Cameron has been an oceanography enthusiast since childhood and has made 72 deep-sea submersible dives.
Thirty-three of those dives have been to the wreckage of the Titanic, the subject of his 1997 hit film.