Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wendy Benchley's Submarine Dive

span style="font-style: italic;">This post is contributed by expedition team member Wendy Benchley.

Elation! I have gone into the ocean depths in a submersible!

It was a terrific adrenaline rush to watch the clear blue water rise higher and higher on the plexiglass dome while sitting in a first class seat, with a 360 degree view. I'm hooked! No heavy tank, no jaw ache from clenching on a regulator, no clearing clogged ears! Only the lovely sensation of sinking slowly, so quietly down to a ledge on the seamount.

Avi Klapfer, the sub's designer and our pilot, maneuvered DEEPSEE with remarkable skill around the seamount until we were out of the strong current and resting peacefully on the bottom. We were surrounded by hundreds of beautiful pastel trigger fish. It was a special moment. On our way up we saw a school of tuna and some jacks. It was reassuring to finally see a few schools of larger fish in the Sea of Cortez.

There were no giant manta rays, but my trip into the deep was an incredible thrill and privilege. In fact, this whole trip has been an incredible thrill and privilege.

- Wendy Benchley

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