Kelly Walsh this past Father’s Day weekend completed a dive to the Challenger Deep, the same patch of ocean bottom that his father Don Walsh did back in 1960.
The younger Walsh dove to approximately 10,925 meters (35,843 feet) in the Western Pool, the same area that was visited by Kelly’s father, US Navy Captain Don Walsh, who was the pilot of the bathyscaph “Trieste” during the first dive to the Challenger Deep in 1960.
Kelly Walsh’s 12-hour dive, coordinated by EYOS Expeditions, was undertaken aboard the deep-sea vehicle Triton 36000/2 “Limiting Factor” piloted by the owner of the vehicle Victor Vescovo, a Dallas, Texas-based businessman and explorer.
The dives by father and son connect a circle of exploration history that spans 60 years. According to Kelly:
“It was a hugely emotional journey for me. I have been immersed in the story of Dad’s dive since I was born — people find it fascinating. It has taken 60 years but thanks to EYOS Expeditions and Victor Vescovo we have now taken this quantum leap forward in our ability to explore the deep ocean.
“The leap in technology from 1960 is immense. Dad spent 20 minutes on the bottom and could see very little. I had the opportunity to spend four hours on the bottom with excellent lighting and a 4K camera running the whole time. We had complete control over our vehicle; great lighting, maneuverability and a comfortable cabin whereas Dad had none of those things. The ‘Limiting Factor’ is an amazing vehicle; a true platform for exploration and a credit to the ‘out-of-the-box’ innovation at Triton Submarines.”
Don Walsh is a longtime active member of EYOS’ Advisory Board, where he helps connect the company to the latest developments in modern exploration and science. Walsh was onboard the support vessel Pressure Drop last year when Vescovo made his first record-setting dive and was on deck to congratulate him upon returning to the ship.
According to the elder Walsh:
“Kelly’s Mom and I are so pleased and proud that Kelly got to experience the same adventure I had 60 years ago with the Navy’s Bathyscaphe Trieste. He grew up with the continuing story of my history with deep ocean exploration, and now he’s part of it.”
Kelly Walsh becomes the 11th person to have visited the Challenger Deep. Earlier this month, astronaut and oceanographer Dr. Kathy Sullivan, the first American woman to do a space walk, became the first woman to dive to that depth.