Taking a Swim in the Mariana Trench
The Marianas Trench in the western Pacific is the deepest known spot in the ocean with a maximum known depth of 10,984 meters (36,037 ft). On my first West-Pac deployment in the Navy we had a swim call in the deepest part of the ocean!
So why go swimming there? Well when the Captain says “All Hands Swim Call,” that means everyone in the ocean, at the deepest part, both for fun but also training on how to abandon ship.
Now swimming in the middle of the ocean, from a warship is not like going to the beach where your toes can touch the bottom … this was 36,000 feet deep, with a swift current and a known area for sharks!
First we launched small boats with armed sailors to protect the crew from any sharks. Next, you either had to jump off the main deck or climb down the ladders. I jumped off and climbed back up.
The swim itself was refreshing but short, and the ocean currents strong. By the time our turn was done, we were all exhausted from the heavy currents and now had to climb the web ladder back up to the main deck.
So while I never went diving to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, like James Cameron, I did swim in the deepest part of the ocean.
Which is pretty cool.