Submersible dives in Elliott Bay

Eye on Elliott Bay aboard Cyclops 1

During the third week of June, the OceanGate crew treated Seattle area students and media to rare glimpses of the depths of Elliott Bay during four dives to a maximum depth of 450 feet.

Cyclops 1 prepares to dive in Elliott Bay.

The crew mobilized on Monday to transport Cyclops 1 from our home base in Everett to Bell Harbor Marina in downtown Seattle. After a crane launch from the pier, Cyclops 1 was prepped and ready to dive starting on Tuesday.

After a test dive in the marina to assess system functions and buoyancy, Cyclops 1 was towed to Pier 59 for our first dive. The team descended to view a bait cage that the Seattle Aquarium has used to attract sixgill sharks. After safely navigating around the submerged pilings near the cage, the team explored a submerged canyon to a depth of 130 feet. Joining this dive was Ben Romano, who wrote an Xconomy article about his experience, and Gus Gates of the Surfrider Foundation who posted to his blog.

Cyclops 1 decends near the Seattle Aquarium.

Day two of diving included two dives to the wreck of the MT6, which is a sunken railcar barge about 1/4 mile from downtown Seattle at a depth of 450 feet. Our first dive included Ben Griner, a local explorer who discovered the wreck and has documented its condition using a bottom scan sonar towed from a surface vessel. The second dive included two students from Seattle Central College and Christian Sarason, Executive Director of the OceanGate Foundation. These two students were part of a 5-person team that won the second Open The Oceans Contest where students compete in an academic contest to design experiments that are conducted by OceanGate crew during submersible expeditions.

Pilot Tym Catterson at the controls of Cyclops 1.

On day three we returned to the MT6 with two additional students from the winning team, along with Wendy Rockhill, Dean of Math and Science at Seattle Central College. The objective of the dives for the student team was to capture additional 3D sonar scans of the wreck, create a documentary-style video of the experience, and capture visual data of the wreck.

Students from Seattle Central College pose before a dive in Cyclops 1.

For the OceanGate crew, our objectives were to perform additional testing of Cyclops 1 in preparation for the kickoff of our Eye on the Sanctuaries Tour in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in August.