Having climbed the Seven Summits and explored both the North and South Poles, Victor Vescovo ’84 is setting his sights low. The veteran adventurer is leading a historic effort to explore the deepest points in each of the five oceans. The Five Deeps Expedition began in December 2018, with Vescovo’s successful dive 27,480 feet down into Puerto Rico Trench, the lowest point in the Atlantic Ocean. Then, in early February 2019, Vescovo became the first human to explore the deepest point in the Southern Ocean, the South Sandwich Trench. Aboard his custom submersible, the Limiting Factor, Vescovo descended 24,388 feet to the bottom of the Trench, where he captured high-definition video, collected soil and water samples, and mapped the area with multi-beam sonar.
“I am so proud of the entire team for working in very difficult, near-zero (Celsius) temperatures to launch and retrieve the Limiting Factor. It was an extremely challenging dive technically, but we were able to visit the bottom of the Southern Ocean for the very first time,” said Vescovo. “It was a great day for science and engineering.”
Having explored the bottom of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans, the Five Deep Expedition will continue on to explore the Java Trench (Indian Ocean), the Molly Deep (Arctic Ocean), and the Mariana Trench (Pacific Ocean). The Discovery Channel is following the expedition for a documentary series that will air in 2020.
Throughout his adventures, Vescovo has kept in touch with St. Mark’s, even carrying a custom School flag to the summit of Mt. Everest and to the South Pole. After summiting Everest, Vescovo told The Pride magazine in 2010 that St. Mark’s helped foster the character necessary to attempt and accomplish the Seven Summits. “The most important trait that distinguishes those who summit from those who attempt seems to be persistence. And to make it through St. Mark’s, you have to be persistent.”
Vescovo’s expedition to the depths of the Earth comes just as another Marksman is exploring the furthest reaches of space. In between Vescovo’s dives in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans, fellow alumnus Alan Stern ’75 led his NASA team in overseeing the New Horizons spacecraft’s flyby of an object 4 billion miles away, the farthest encounter in the history of mankind. Now, both Marksmen are excitedly continuing their journeys of exploration, deep below and far above the Earth.