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Btw, that’s a new world depth record!


Heather Stewart and Kate Wawatai on the submersible Bakunawa
Heather Stewart and Kate Wawatai on the submersible Bakunawa

Two women have claimed an unintended world record, following a submersible dive on which they became the deepest-ever all-female dive-team.

They didn’t have to dive to the world’s deepest point to claim the title – a depth of 8km was enough. Focused on their scientific mission, it had occurred to them that their dive must be a record-breaker only during the descent.

Their deep-submergence vehicle was Bakunawa, built by Triton Submarines and well-known to divers for its many exploits under its former name Limiting Factor. The name changed when its record-breaking pilot Victor Vescovo sold it to Gabe Newell’s Inkfish ocean-exploration research team in 2022.

The divers who set the latest record were marine geologist Prof Heather Stewart of the British Geological Survey team based in Edinburgh, and Kate Wawatai from New Zealand, an experienced submersible pilot.

The Triton all-depths submersible Bakunawa, owned by Inkfish
The Triton all-depths submersible Bakunawa, owned by Inkfish

They completed their 10-hour dive in the South Pacific’s Nova-Canton Trough on 16 April, during one of a series of four three-week expeditions from Samoa to explore the location on behalf of the Minderoo-University of Western Australia Deep-Sea Research Centre. The mother ship was the research vessel Dagon.

For Stewart it was her fifth deep submersible dive since 2019. She specialises in the science of how geological features such as fracture zones act as channels for the deep-ocean currents that help to regulate climate.

Also read: Challenger Deep Expedition to the Deepest Point on Earth, If ‘micro-buckling’ doomed Titan, it looks avoidable in future, Wonders of the abyss – world’s deepest octopus caught on camera

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4 days ago

that’s not a dive


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