First Taiwanese Native Dives to Challenger Deep

DALLAS (June 23, 2020) – In another world first, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) research scientist, Dr. Ying-Tsong “Y.-T.” Lin, joined explorer Victor Vescovo and EYOS Expeditions in Triton Submarines’ Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Limiting Factor in a deep dive to the bottom of Challenger Deep’s central pool (over 10,900 meters) making him not only the first person born in Taiwan to go to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, but also the first from the Asian continent to do so.

Vescovo said of the dive, “We are so pleased to have partnered with Y.-T. and Woods Hole on this dive and showed the access we can provide to any individual who wants to regularly and reliably visit any point on the ocean floor.” He added, “I was also happy to make the descent with the first person from Taiwan in a first for that country – and continent – since I strongly support the special U.S.-Taiwan relationship.”

It was Vescovo’s seventh dive to the bottom of Challenger Deep, and he became the first person to visit all three sections of the marine feature: its Western, Central, and Eastern “Pools,” which together stretch more than 48,280 meters (30 miles) west to east across the bottom of the Pacific, and which are all deeper than 10,881 meters (35,700 feet).

Because he is an expert in deep ocean acoustics, measurement, and tracking, Dr. Lin’s involvement in the expedition was important in advancing further exploration and understanding of how sound waves propagate in the deepest parts of the ocean. His dive was conducted with specific scientific goals in mind. His goal was to test the performance of deep-water acoustic instruments and seek ways to improve error terms on multibeam sonar. Given the state-of-the-art Kongsberg EM124 sonar onboard the Deep Submergence Support Vehicle (DSSV) Pressure Drop, Dr. Lin was afforded the ability to work with specialized technology in a very unique location. Additionally, Dr. Lin wanted to study ultra-deep voice communications and deep-water geo-location.

“It was an amazing experience to make the 10,000-meter dive with Victor on the Limiting Factor,” said Y.-T. Lin. “It is an impressive piece of technology that provided me – someone who had never even been in a submersible before – with a visit to the very bottom of the ocean. I now have a perspective for my research work that I had never had before. I am also so proud to represent WHOI, and my birthplace Taiwan, and become the first person from all of Asia to make the descent to Challenger Deep. I would like to share this dive and my passion and enthusiasm with all my friends!”

For more information on Dr. Lin, please visit his directory profile here.

The People’s Republic of China is reportedly testing a manned submersible named the Shenhai Yongshi that could also one day dive to the bottom of Challenger Deep. To date, however, China has not made a manned descent to the lowest point of this marine feature.

All releasees, as well as footage and photos of each section of the mission, will be available to view on Follow us on Twitter @CaladanOceanic, Instagram @CaladanOceanic and Facebook @CaladanOceanic for ongoing updates.