James Cameron's Odyssey into the Mariana Trench
Two weeks back, James Cameron flatly defied all possibilities of
danger by cruising into the fathomless watery abyss of Mariana Trench.
The news that a celebrated film-maker deliberately exposed himself to
high peril in the deep sea left me (and the world!) in open-mouthed
wonderment. James Cameron's historic odyssey rekindled my passion to
know what Mariana Trench is and why he braved such a risk in the deepest
reaches of Mariana Trench.
Though Cameron is generally identified as a reputed film-maker, his
ruling passion has been to explore deep sea and to draw material for his
films. However, Cameron's off-repeated journeys to the wreck of Titanic
whetted his appetite for exploring the bottom of Mariana Trench (perhaps
to encounter monstrous creatures to be recreated in his future films).
As Cameron says, he plunged into the Mariana Trench to uplay latest
information about the deepest point of the sea.
But what is Mariana Trench? Geographically it is a great pit of
incredible depth situated near Japan in the Pacific Ocean. What is most
surprising about the Trench is its depth of 11 kilometres from the
surface of the ocean.
To illustrate this, the watery hole is deep enough to submerge Mt
Everest, the world's highest mountain, even with two kilometres of water
above the peak. Varieties of small fish such as sole, and flounder are
revealed to live in Mariana Trench in spite of the high water pressure
at the bottom. Cameron enjoyed record-breaking success as the third
person to have crossed the deepest point of the sea in history.
At the final stage of his journey to the ‘netherworld’, this Canadian
film maker could have drawn a long breath of relief.
Cameron exploited a high-tech submariner called “Deep Sea Challenger”
which is an extra special machine meant for the journey. The Australian
company which designed the machine is said to have taken eight years to
The submariner has been produced in such a way that it has the
capacity to hold only one person, This bullet shaped submariner records
the average speed of 500 feet per minute in the water.
“As I descended slowly into the dark waters, I felt as if I was
travelling through the universe. Through the glass of the submariner, I
could see nothing but darkness. As soon as I got to the bottom of
Mariana, I radioed to my team on the ship that everything was ok with
As Cameron landed on the bottom, he felt that he was walking on a
jelly-like substance on the sea bottom.
Strangely enough, he encountered no unusual sea-creatures not even
ordinary fish except for a few small prawns.
As a film-maker, James Cameron at the bottom of Mariana Trench must
have been astounded by the total absence of sea creatures (let alone
‘fabulous’ crabs, octopuses or massive fish with sharp teeth.!)
Until this strange discovery, we too have laboured under the
considerable misapprehension that the deep sea is the perfectly natural
environment for bigger, unusual fish and other creatures.
In complete contrast to Cameron's expectation to see a ‘primitive sea
bed’ with fabulous surroundings and hitherto unseen or unheard of
creatures, he saw jelly-like ground and dark water.
He surveyed the bottom for three hours and captured everything
through his latest 3D cameras. As he later acknowledged, the walk on the
bottom of the Trench seemed to resemble that experience of walking on
Throughout his exciting hours on the gloomy and dangerous world,
Cameron felt that he was standing on another strange, depopulated
planet. Nevertheless, these three hours must have been the dealiest but
most significant spell in Cameron's life and this experience deserves to
be called an exceptional adventure - much more exciting than the like in
Cameron did not forget to obtain samples from the sea bottom in the
course of his three-hour ordeal under eleven kilometres of water in
Wherever the light form the submariner fell, Cameron noticed bizarre
landscape which has been enshrouded by dispiritingly dark water for
millions of years.
For Cameron, it was a bleak world - a completely peculiar world with
no mark of life of any type and he felt as if he was strolling on the
As he acknowledged, he was overwhelmed by the strange sensation that
how undersized he appeared against the barren and unexampled terrain of
He might have been impressed by the rare landscape which falls beyond
the boundaries of human imagination. Now and then a variety of tiny
creatures that resembled shrimps hit the sides of the submariner.
In whatever way, James Cameron's risky expedition into the Mariana
signals the first delving by man into the deepest point of sea in the
history of deep sea exploration. The solitary and uninhabited
apprearence of the place greatly astonished him because, as a film
maker, he would have expected more dramatic atmosphere in the deep hole.
He could not spend more than three hours under-water as he detected a
technical defect (probably a fuel defect) in the submariner.
Sensing the forthcoming danger he steered the machine up the water
and as he claims, the return journey took up 70 minutes. After a
helicopter monitored the submariner, the ship made arrangements to hall
it up on board. Diving into deep sea has been his hobby from his
childhood. During his lifetime, Cameron has travelled 72 times to the
bottom of deep sea.
Out of it, 33 cruises have been made to the wreckage of Titanic which
probably inspired him to create his cinematic masterpiece ‘Titanic'.
It is important to note that Cameron had a special training to keep
his body folded in the small pilot's cabin of the submariner which he
used to probe the bottom of Mariana Trench.
During 58 years of his life, James Cameron has left a choicest legacy
of films which comprise ‘Titanic’, Avatar, Terminator’, Aliens (serial),
‘The abyss’, ‘True lies’ etc. When questioned whether he discovered
anything worth while for his next cinematic work, he expressed his
confidence that everything he saw will enrich his imagination and future
films will reflect the effects.