While rumors continue to swirl regarding director James Cameron's planned dive on the Mariana Trench, another wealthy explorer is wasting no time in deciding to take the plunge.
Or should I say, five plunges.
Richard Branson announced today that his Five Dives Expedition will take himself and fellow explorer Chris Welch in a submersible to the deepest points of the world's five oceans. The journey will be documented by the BBC using 3-D, Imax-quality images for a forthcoming cinema film named "Oceanic".
Unlike Cameron's planned two-seater submersible, these dives will be for one only - something Branson and Welch plan on alternating. A second, robotic sub, will reportedly also dive and capture footage.
“This project will unlock the world’s greatest wilderness allowing us to film underwater in a way that has previously been impossible” said Neil Nightingale, creative director for BBC Earth. “94% of all known life is aquatic and this expedition will uncover never seen behaviour and footage. Quite simply we don’t yet know exactly what we will find, but it’s potentially the most exciting project a wildlife filmmaker could work on.”
The planned dives include the Mariana Trench (Pacific Ocean 35,911ft), Puerto Rico Trench (Atlantic Ocean, 28,232 ft) Molloy Deep (Arctic Ocean, 18,399 ft), South Sandwich Trench (Southern Ocean, 23,737 ft) and Diamantina (Indian Ocean, 26,401 ft).
It's estimated that the expedition will travel some 28,000 miles across the seas and take two years to complete.