High Chief Reklai Bao Ngirmang of Melekeok bestowed a chiefly title, Mad-ra-dilochel, on Victor Vescovo, an American private equity investor, retired naval officer, space tourist and undersea explorer, at the ceremony celebrating the successful dive into the deepest point of Palau Trench with Chief Madrengebuked, former President Tommy E. Remengeau Jr.
Madradilochel, translated to the messenger of the deep, conveys the Palau Council of Chiefs’ appreciation of Vescovo’s adventurous spirit, kinship with the ocean, and his contribution to the knowledge of the deepest parts of the ocean.
Presented along with the title was a traditional adze as a symbol of a Palauan warrior. An adze, a traditional tool, and weapon, was the most versatile tool before modern times and was often carried by Palauan men. High Chief Reklai, handing over the adze, said it is a reminder that the ocean exploration work was not yet done.
The Palauan adze and a Palauan flag were brought down during the dive into the Palau Trench by Madrengebuked Tommy Remengesau Jr. The Palau flag was presented to President Surangel Whipps Jr., commemorating the special event.
The deepest point of the Palau Trench reached by Madrengebuked and Victor, at 8,040 meters or 26,377.95 feet, is located about 29 miles east of Melekeok State, within the traditional jurisdiction of High Chief Reklai of Melekeok.
On July 18th, Madrengebuked Tommy Remengesau Jr. and Mr. Victor Vescovo became the first two human beings to descend to the deepest part of the Palau Trench, at 8,040 meters.
Madrengebuked Tommy Remengesau said, “Humankind is best served when we understand the top of the ocean and the deepest part of the ocean, for they are one and the same. If we understand better, then we can make better judgments, better decisions, that can then sustain the ocean that gives us life.”
Four days earlier, Traditional Master Navigator Sesario Sewralur and Vescovo also became the first people to reach the bottom of the Yap Trench, a deeper trench than the Palau trench at 8,527 meters or 27,976 feet.
Mr. Sewralur, who had sailed numerous times over the Yap Trench, said he was quite excited to dive into the trench, and he hoped there would be more opportunities to learn more about what is below the deep ocean.