Return to Transcripts main page

CNN 10

CNN 10 Special Edition Takes Us To A Remote Part Of The Deep Blue Sea. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired February 08, 2022 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz. Thalassophile is a word you don`t hear very often. If you know what it means and especially if you

happen to be one, you are going to love this special edition of our show. Simply put, a thalassophile is someone who loves the sea, and the deep blue

is where we`re headed today.

Specifically, the deepest known part of the ocean. Start in the Pacific, if you find the northern Mariana Islands on the eastern part of the Philippine

Sea, you`re only about 330 miles northeast of the Mariana Trench. It`s located seven miles beneath the ocean`s surface. It`s what National

Geographic describes as a scar in the Earth`s crust.

This trench extends for more than 1,500 miles and it`s 43 miles wide on average. So this a pretty big gouge on the ocean floor, and if you go to

the southern end of it you`ll find it`s deepest point. This remote place is called the Challenger Deep. It takes patience to get there, even after you

sail right over it.

Submersibles that can withstand the pressure take hours to dive this deep, and even though thousands of people have climbed to the top of Mount

Everest, which is five and a half miles higher than sea level. Only a couple dozen have reached the seven mile depth of the Challenger Deep, so

it`s largely unexplored.

But we know someone who has been there, his name is Rob McCallum. He`s from New Zealand. Last April, he and Australian Tim Mcdonald became the first

people from their countries to dive this record depth. They were kind enough to provide us with the video you are about to see, and I had the

opportunity to interview Mr. McCallum about the experience not long after he hit rock bottom and then resurfaced in the Spring of 2021. So hold your

breath, and let`s dive in.


ROB MCCALLUM, DEEP SEA EXPLORER, FOUNDING PARTNER OF EYOS EXPEDITION: It`s the last unexplored frontier on Earth. We know very little about this --

this region, what we call the Hadal Zone, which is that area of the ocean below 6,000 meters or 20,000 feet.

AZUZ: You can`t just get there in a normal submarine. What sort of vehicle does it take to withstand the pressures there?

MCCALLUM: I guess, a very interesting question, because pressure is entirely relative. When a spacecraft goes up into space, they`re only

experiencing a pressure change of one atmosphere between the inside of the spacecraft and the outside. We are dealing with a pressure differential of

around 1,000 atmospheres.

So, we dive in a titanium sphere, which is able to withstand 100,000 tons of pressure. Just on the hatch, through which we get into the submarine,

just the hatch alone, has 2,200 tons or around five fully laden Boeing 747`s pushing down on it.

AZUZ: That`s -- that`s incredible. I mean, somebody can`t go out and -- and buy that. How does one acquire a vehicle like that?

MCCALLUM: This vehicle was made for this specific purpose. It was designed and built by Triton Submarines in Florida, specifically to be able to

voyage down through 7 and 1/2 miles of water comb to get to the bottom. And that`s why it`s got, kind of, an interesting shape. It looks like a pillow

that`s on it`s side and that`s so that it can drop down through the water comb very, very quickly.

AZUZ: You said very quickly. How long does it take to get to that depth?

MCCALLUM: It takes around 4 and a half hours to get to the deepest point of the world`s ocean. We go down through the water at about six feet per


AZUZ: And coming back?

MCCALLUM: We release ballast weight on the bottom to -- to just spring us off the bottom and head toward the surface, and so it`s about a 3 and 1/2

hour ride home.

AZUZ: What are you seeing when you get to the ocean floor in the deepest part of it?

MCCALLUM: This is the most fantastic part of what we`re doing. It`s true exploration. You know, we never know what we`re going to see. Every dive

has yielded something fascinating, often something new to science. We are seeing creatures for the first time. We are discovering entire landscapes

which were previously unknown.

AZUZ: That`s still a full day just in travel time. So how much time does that give you on the ocean`s floor?

MCCALLUM: We try to stay down for 3 to 5 hours on the bottom. You know, it`s a big investment of time and energy. It takes the entire team to get

this vehicle prepared and get it down, and so we -- we try every minute possible on the bottom. Our submersible has three viewports.

One for each of the occupants (inaudible), so one central one will allow us to see down to the sea floor and we`re also surrounded by very high-

definition cameras that are all linked to a screen in front of us. And we can look in any direction outside, and that`s important because we don`t

really know where we`re going. We`re almost always the very first humans that have ever been there. And so although we have a three dimensional map

that we`ve made the day before, we need a very good view outside to see what`s coming.

You know, for humans, we don`t really fear what we can`t sense. So in an airliner, and you`re looking out. You don`t naturally think of the wind

going past at 500 miles per hour and it`s minus 50 out there and it`s not enough air to breathe. Just, I can see a town or I can see a track and it`s

the same in the sub.

There`s no sensation of movement. There`s no sensation of sound. You can`t hear or feel anything from outside. It`s just a very peaceful, relaxing

cruise into the unknown. I think that we know so little about the ocean that we barely understand what questions to ask, let alone have the ability

to -- to understand the answers.

My role and the role of -- of the team that I work with is to simply open the door. This is the first vehicle of all of human history that has the

ability to reach the deep ocean, in any ocean, at any depth, at any time. It`s a -- it`s akin to the Wright Brothers, with the first flying machine.

This was just the first baby steps.

AZUZ: I know the technology might be a way, a way from creating a, sort of, ocean exploration station that withstand depths like that, but we have

reported on there -- there is more funding and investment in underwater exploration stations. I mean, how important would you feel those would be

as contrast and well let`s say the International Space Station.

MCCALLUM: Both are important. Don`t get me wrong. I`m not taking a shot at space travel, but you know, space is a vast void, a vacuum that so far has

proved to be lifeless. The ocean is nothing like that. The ocean is full of life. You know, right from the surface all the way down to the very, very

bottom. I think before we leave home and start exploring the heavens, we should at least explore our own backyard more thoroughly.

I think that many of the answers to our collective future are going to be found in the ocean, and some of those in the deep ocean. The answers to how

we`re going handle all the carbon in the atmosphere. The answers to the dynamics of our ocean and how we can arrest the decline of the ocean, but

also the things that we might discover in terms of valuable compounds for medicines and that sort of thing.

AZUZ: So why do you think there`s so much interest in space exploration, when we could be exploring what we have right here?

MCCALLUM: I think it`s a simple as when we gaze up at the heavens, we -- we have a sense of wonder. What`s out there? What can we find? We always look

skyward because we`re terrestrial mammals. We -- we -- we look up to the heavens. When we look into the water, you really don`t see that much.

We see an opaque plain -- platform that we pull fish out of, maybe go for a swim in, but we don`t actually go too far down. You know, my dive was about

36,000 feet. Most humans never get below about 300 feet. So there`s a long way to go yet.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What is the most abundant fish in the world? Herring, Bristlemouth, Minnow or Sunfish. Scientists believe the most

numerous fish in the world are Bristlemouths or light fishes.

That`s our catch for today. It is surely fun to take a deep dive in such a "mar interesting" topic. There`re "oceans" of possibilities. Sights to see.

Facts in the "swim" beneath the surface. "Schools" of thought, I mean, what better way to get a "gyro education" than to "immerse" yourself in a

"current" event.

Today`s shout out goes out the Grenada High School located in Grenada, Mississippi. There is one place we look for the schools we mention. It`s

our You Tube Channel at So please subscribe and leave your comment on our most recent show right there. That`s all for our

show today. I`m Carl Azuz.