Guam – Canadian Filmmaker James Cameron hopes to descend to the bottom of the Marianas Trench this week, but U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh has already been there.
Walsh, who made the nearly seven mile dive along with Swiss Oceanographer Jacques Piccard in 1960, is on Guam to witness the next journey down the Challenger Deep. Cameron is expected to make a solo descent in his specially designed Deepsea Challenger sometime in the coming days.
“Its like comparing the Wright brothers airplane to the 747,” Walsh said of the difference between his bathyscaphe, the Trieste, and Cameron’s submarine. “It’s just about the same time span, half century.“
[photo courtesy National Geographic]
Lt Walsh and Piccard spent only about twenty minutes exploring the ocean floor but they did see a flat fish before silt blinded their view.
“Well just before we landed we saw a flat fish which looked like a small halibut,” Walsh remembers. “As we landed we stirred up a big cloud of sediment and that wasn’t unusual.”
With today’s advanced technology and a team of scientists involved in Cameron’s exploration, Lt. Walsh is sure new species will be discovered.
“Its like saying if no one’s ever been out there in that jungle, ‘You think you’ll find anything new?’ You can take that and bet on it, Las Vegas” Walsh remarked.
As for his advice to the next man to take the challenge,
“Have fun,” Walsh says. “If you’re not having fun you’re doing something wrong and I don’t mean laughing and giggling fun, professionally rewarding fun.”