You can take a submarine ride in a ‘cocoon of titanium’ to the deepest point on Earth
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
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.
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.
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.
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 courtesy of EYOS Expeditions and Caladan Oceanic.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.