This morning, Captain Stuart Buckle eased the 2,000-ton Mermaid Sapphire to within 400 yards (366 meters) of the Cape Jaquinot shore. The ship was so close we could see the trunks of big trees, the smoke of a cook fire, and the blue shadows of the coral reef.
After long, sun-hot days on the Mermaid Sapphire and late-night conversations with captain Stu Buckle and his crew, the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition team have come to understand an essential truth:
Today Jim Cameron did all the things he’s been dreaming about since he began the engineering development of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER eight years ago.
Yesterday, Jim tried to take the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER on a test dive to 3,281 feet (1,000 meters). He was in the water for less than an hour when technical difficulties with the boom camera and life-support system brought him back to the ship.
The day before yesterday, director John Bruno and Jim Cameron flew over the great blue Jacquinot Bay and its cradle of cloud-wreathed mountains. The fast-flowing rivers, stands of huge trees, shoreside villages, and sparkling blue waters have a land-before-time quality.