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You can take a submarine ride in a 'cocoon of titanium' to the deepest point on Earth

April 04, 2020
4 min read
You can take a submarine ride in a 'cocoon of titanium' to the deepest point on Earth
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Looking for a way to get away? Look down. Deep, deep, deep down — all the way to Challenger Deep.

Come mid-May, EYOS Expeditions will launch submarine expeditions to Challenger Deep, a location in the Mariana Trench that, at 38,583 feet, holds the title of the lowest point on Earth. The trip will take up to 14 hours — over four hours to descend; four on the seafloor where divers can explore and film from the comfort of the submarine; and another four to get back up to the surface.

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The ship, known as the Limiting Factor, has two seats, three view ports and high-definition "surround" cameras. It's also equipped with 10 sets of LED lighting arrays so you can light up the terrain, Rob McCallum, Expedition Leader at EYOS Expeditions, told The Points Guy.

Limiting Factor has been pressure-tested in a chamber and has already done five practice dives to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. In fact, it's the only vehicle ever constructed that's capable of multiple dives to full ocean depth. In the submarine, you're completely protected by the 3.5-inch titanium sphere. You won't experience any pressure changes or physiological stresses at all.

"It's extremely relaxing, in the sense that you're in this cocoon of titanium. It’s silent and there’s no perception of movement. So it's very calming and soothing," McCallum said.

Related: Virgin Galactic inches closer to taking passengers into space

The surrounding environment is pitch black after about 500 feet, but because of the LED lighting arrays, you'll be able to see what's around you — including fish, up to around 26,000 feet, and then hadal-zone creatures after that. Hadal creatures, such as flea-like amphipods, have never known daylight and thrive at the bottom of the ocean.

(Image courtesy of EYOS Expeditions and Caladan Oceanic.)
(Image courtesy of EYOS Expeditions and Caladan Oceanic.)

As McCallum explains it, divers "will feel this passion and expertise flying through the ship," because they'll be accompanied by a really passionate team of sonar operators, scientists, ship crew and more.

The dives cost $750,000 per diver, and there are only three spots on each voyage. The three spots on the maiden voyage sold out very quickly, and the dive is scheduled to continue in May despite the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, divers will be tested for COVID-19 before embarking on the journey, a spokesperson for EYOS Expeditions confirmed.

Challenger Deep is arguably the most exclusive destination on Earth. Only three manned expeditions have ever been made to the bottom — to put that in perspective, more people have been to the moon than the bottom of the ocean. In fact, 4,000 people have been to Mount Everest, 562 have been to space and only seven have made it to Challenger Deep.

Before even reaching the dive site, travelers will spend a day at sea on a yacht (dubbed the Pressure Drop), which departs from Agat, Guam. So, if you want to pay for at least part of this trip with miles, stock up on United miles (or Chase Ultimate Rewards points which transfer to United at a 1:1 ratio).

The fastest way to get there from the continental U.S. will be on United flights departing from Honolulu (HNL), but you can also have an AvGeek experience worthy of this ultra-exclusive trip by booking United's Island Hopper. This bucket-list itinerary connects the tiny Pacific islands of Majuro (MAJ), Kwajalein (KWA, though not every Island Hopper flight stops here), Kosrae (KSA), Pohnpei (PNI) and Chuuk (TKK) with Honolulu.

Related:12 things to know before flying the United Island Hopper

Subsequent dives are also going on as scheduled and, if you're interested in joining one, you can email EYOS for more information.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of EYOS Expeditions and Caladan Oceanic.)

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
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    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

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    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees