It’s April 2019, and an expedition team awaits news from its submersible, which is miles down in the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. Suddenly, they hear the voice of explorer Victor Vescovo. He’s telling them, “At bottom.” These two words confirm that the daredevil has gone further down beneath the waves than any person in history.
As the submersible settled in the cloud of sediment it had stirred up at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, Vescovo marked the end of a long dive. So long, in fact, that he now held the record for the world’s deepest descent. Indeed, at 36,000 feet, he was nearly 7,000 feet lower than Mount Everest is high.
Dark and cold, under enormous depth pressure, the Challenger Deep depression could hardly be less hospitable to life. Nonetheless, in his four hours at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, Vescovo did encounter living beings. And as he looked out on the alien yet tranquil world of the deep, something quite shocking also caught his eye.