If anyone needed just a little more proof that being ridiculously rich is totally awesome, Avatar and Titanic director James Cameron and Microsoft-made mega-billionaire Paul Allen gave us a reminder this weekend - with Cameron, a National Geographic "Explorer-in-Residence," diving to the deepest part of the ocean Sunday in a one-man vessel known as the Deepsea Challenger, and Allen traveling to Guam via his big-ass yacht, Octopus, to follow Cameron's dive with "special underwater radio technology" ... and then tweet about it incessantly.
According to the Deepsea Challenge website, Cameron touched down at the bottom of the Mariana Trench at 5:52 p.m. ET. The accomplishment marked only the second time humans had reached such a depth, with Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Capt. Don Walsh accomplishing the feat in 1960.
Equipped with the latest technology and cameras, some of it created from specifically for the project, the Deepsea Challenger - a lime green, two-ton ,torpedo-like vessel - was designed to allow Cameron to capture never-before-seen images and alien-like samples from the bottom of the ocean for scientist to study. Visibility during Piccard and Walsh's 1960 dive to the bottom of the ocean was extremely limited, and no pictures were taken.
According to Allen's Twitter timeline, Cameron spent nearly three hours at the deepest point on earth before starting to resurface. The Challenger Deep area of the Mariana Trench sits at a depth of 35,756 feet.
Upon reaching the bottom, naturally, Cameron updated Twitter on his deep-sea accomplishment, tweeting:
Just arrived at the ocean's deepest pt. Hitting bottom never felt so good. Can't wait to share what I'm seeing w/ you @DeepChallenge
But anyone who REALLY wanted to lowdown on Cameron's dive was following Allen, who kept the Twittersphere informed from the comfort of the 12th largest superyacht in the world.
Some highlights from Allen's Twitter feed:
Arrived Guam. Hope to see James Cameron's #DeepChallenge make 2nd dive ever to bottom of the Pacific's Mariana Trench. Not done since '60.
Just wished James Cameron good luck on his dive to the bottom of Challenger Deep, he visited Octopus will update if weather ok for sub dive.
#deepchallenge sub in the water dive commencing in 10 minutes! Good luck to James Cameron!
I'm on the surface #deepchallenge sub is for only one person. Sub passes 16300 ft half way there. See Deepseachallenge.com almost sunrise.
Depth now 23860 ft as Jim calls it out as he goes down...about to break his own record of 24K off New Britain.
James Cameron now the deepest solo diver in history, 3rd deepest ocean diver ever...25550 ft.
#deepseachallenge for the curious, using underwater audio coms UT2000/3000 at 8K freq to hear/talk to Jim five miles of water...30K ft now
#Deepseachallenge sub now deeper than everest at 32160 speed 2.0 knots not long to seabead now
Now on the bottom 35755 ft!! Plan is for #Deepseachallenge to spend 4-6 hours on the seabed- take samples....Huge Congrats what a relief!!!
#DeepseaChallenge Pressure at bottom is 16,285 Pounds per square inch at that depth. Design pressure was 16,500 ...Yikes/Amazing!
#deepseachallenge sub started return to the surface after a successfull dive welcome back to sea level soon!
Now for a change of pace watching #PDXTrailblazers tip off vs. Golden State 5-5 so far. Go Blazers!
According to reports Cameron is set to brief the world on his underwater findings sometime today. No word yet on whether these findings are to include ultimate confirmation of the fact that being uber-rich allows a person the leeway to do ridiculous stuff like dive to the bottom of the ocean for shits, giggles and filmed science.