DSSV Pressure Drop, a state-of-the-art deep ocean research vessel, has invited the Micronesian Voyaging Society to join them on the first-ever expeditions into the Palau and Yap ocean trenches.
Palau’s former President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. and Grand Master Navigator Sesario Sewralur will accompany Pressure Drop’s owner, Victor L. Vescovo, as passengers on deep-sea dives into the trenches aboard the vessel’s submersible Limiting Factor.
The trenches, located off the Eastern coasts of Yap and Palau, are two of the deepest in the world, each measuring more than 26,000 feet (8,000 meters) deep. Until now, no human has visited their deepest points.
Sewralur is scheduled to descend to the bottom of the Yap trench aboard Limiting Factor on July 15th. President Remengesau Jr.’s dive into the Palau trench will follow three days later on July 18th. Vescovo will pilot the submersible during both dives with Rob McCallum serving as Expedition Leader.
Each dive will last roughly eight hours, with three hours to descend and ascend and two hours exploring the bottom of the trench. Throughout the dives the team will record new footage of these never-before-seen environments and collect data for marine researchers, potentially including live specimens of deep-sea marine life.
“Micronesian Voyaging Society’s goal is to preserve our culture’s strong connection to the ocean around us. Relying on traditional star navigation to sail around the ocean, our fore-fathers could not have dreamed that it would be possible today to explore the depth of the oceans as Palau’s former President Tommy Remengesau Jr. and Yap’s Master Navigator Sesario are about to do using the latest modern technology” said Micronesian Voyaging Society President Shallum Etpison.
President Remengesau Jr.’s dive into the Palau Trench will reach the deepest point in the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, a massive marine protected area that the people of Palau rallied their Congress and the Remengesau Jr. administration to sign into law in 2015. The Sanctuary protects 80% of Palau’s national waters and includes huge areas of unexplored deep sea habitats.
“Not much is known about the deepest parts of the ocean – but we know there’s interconnectivity and relationships of the ocean surface to the very bottom and the diversity of marine life in between” remarked President Remengesau Jr.
DSSV Pressure Drop has been systematically exploring the ocean’s deepest points since 2017 and visited every 10,000+ meter deep ocean trench on the planet in 2020 and 2021. The group previously mapped the Palau and Yap trenches in 2019 using the vessel’s advanced sonar.
“We seek to explore the trenches, the first time these areas will be seen by human eyes. We hope to be able to collect specimens and samples to enhance humankind’s knowledge of these incredible places” said McCallum.
Palau International Coral Reef Center and the Micronesian Voyaging Society will host a reception for the expedition team when they return to Koror on July 20th. The Micronesian Voyaging Society is grateful to partner with DSSV Pressure Drop on this historic undertaking.

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