This October, you can be an official “mission specialist” in the deeps of the Exuma Sound in the Bahamas. In doing so, on the Bahamas Deep Sea Survey, you’ll help two scientific organizations learn more about deep sea sharks and other species far down below.
The organizations offering the opportunity are The Cape Eleuthera Institute, a research facility, and OceanGate Expeditions. U.S.-based OceanGate is a group of scientists, filmmakers, and more committed to manned explorations of the ocean depths. And by “depths,” OceanGate means down to about 13,000 feet (4,000 meters). It owns and operates two five-person subs, with a third sub in build. It’s perhaps most famous for leading an expedition to the wreck of the Andrea Doria in 2016, the first such trip, in fact, in more than 20 years. (On a side note, OceanGate is also leading a sub dive next year to explore the Titanic.)
OceanGate is supplying the sub, Cyclops 1 (above), for the Bahamas Deep Sea Survey. The cape Eleuthera Institute is providing its facilities and its knowledge of the region. From October 1 to 14 this year, you can join one- and three-day missions with them. Both in the sub and on shore, you’ll be active participants in the research. OceanGate will train you as well. For example, you can learn to observe the sharks and other sea life, take photos, or assist in sub navigation, according to your interests and abilities.
OceanGate will actually have Cyclops 1 on site off the Great Bahama Bank continental shelf for a year. The upcoming trips are phase one of a multi-phase exploration. Since the depths are rarely explored, the goal is to gain far more knowledge of the sea life and better manage the region as a natural resource.
Stockton Rush, OceanGate’s CEO, says the year-round warmth, clarity, and plethora of deep-sea organisms make Exuma Sound ideal to investigate. “The deep water near the coast makes it a perfect fit for shore-based operation and use of Ms. Lars, our mobile subsea launch and recovery system,” he explains. “This is a great opportunity to advance scientific discovery as our Cyclops 1 can venture far below scuba depth to 500 meters,” he additionally says.