At Bottom of Pacific, Director Sees Dark Frontier

From The New York Times:

CamNo sea monsters. No strange life. No fish. Just amphipods — tiny shrimplike creatures swimming across a featureless plane of ooze that stretched off into the primal darkness. “It was very lunar, a very desolate place,” James Cameron, the movie director, said in a news conference on Monday after completing the first human dive in 52 years to the ocean’s deepest spot, nearly seven miles down in the western Pacific. “We’d all like to think there are giant squid and sea monsters down there,” he said, adding that such creatures still might be found. But on this dive he saw “nothing larger than about an inch across” — just the shrimplike creatures, which are ubiquitous scavengers of the deep.

His dive, which had been delayed by rough seas for about two weeks, did not go entirely as planned: his submersible’s robot arm failed to operate properly, and his time at the bottom was curtailed from a planned six hours to about three. It was not entirely clear why. But he did emerge safely from the perilous trip, vowing to press on. The area he wants to explore, he said, was 50 times larger than the Grand Canyon. “I see this as the beginning,” Mr. Cameron said. “It’s not a one-time deal and then you move on. It’s the beginning of opening up this frontier.” National Geographic, which helped sponsor the expedition to the area known as the Challenger Deep, said that Mr. Cameron, the maker of the movies “Avatar” and “Titanic,” began his dive on Sunday at 3:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, landed on the bottom at 5:52 p.m. and surfaced at 10 p.m. He conducted the news conference via satellite as he was being rushed to Guam in the hope of reaching London for the debut on Tuesday of “Titanic 3-D.”

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