In 1994 Sylvia Earle invited me to Santa Barbara, California so I could watch the sea trials of the brand new pair of Deep Rover submersibles her company Deep Ocean Engineering had just completed. Unlike their single occupant predecessor, these submersibles were capable of carrying two passengers to depths of 1000 meters. The pair of submersibles were originally built for the French cable television company Canal Plus to explore and film the oceans. More recently they were used by film-maker and engineer James Cameron to produce the IMAX film “Aliens of the Deep.” 

At the time of the sea trials a thick algal bloom had taken place and the visibility was pretty poor, being less than 10 feet.  While viewing this clip you will note the deep greenish cast that was ever-present during my short stay. In the second dive, Graham Hawkes, the designer of the submersible is at the controls, with Sylvia Earle seated on his right.  Graham had me hitch a ride on one of the manipulators descending to about 100 feet. After filming for a short while, Sylvia and Graham continued deeper while my dive buddy and I returned to the surface support vessel.

For a good read, Sylvia has written a book called Sea Change which takes the reader on a journey of exploration, underwater adventures and inspiration and provides a poetic and personal view of the oceans that makes our planet so blue.

Deep Rover Sea Trial