Chris Welsh’s Voyage into Unknown Depths
If you’re looking for an accomplished entrepreneur come adventurer, you don’t have to look much farther than in the direction of a gentleman called Chris Welsh. Having just completed intense competitive sailing which when all rounded off means 25,000 miles of oceans being crossed, Chris Welsh is embarking on yet another daring venture but this time into the depths of the planet’s oceans. Chris Welsh is the co-founder and pilot of a unique submersible that’s capable of taking a man deeper and for longer periods of time than any other has been able to before. Welsh has quite a few feathers in his cap being more than just a very accomplished sailor and aviator, he is an adventurer in the truest sense of the word. He takes a challenge head on with pure relish and these deep sea dives are going to be some very exciting and rewarding first ever challenges.
Welsh was born in Newport Beach and spent his youth under a Californian sun, gaining a great foundation for the many sailing adventures he later embarked on. With five LA to Hawaii crossings under his belt as well a LA-Tahiti-Tonga-Auckland-Tasmania crossing which included skippering his superb 65 foot (20m) racing yacht called Ragtime. In 2008 he won the LA to Tahiti Transpac Race and winning class in the Sydney to Hobart Race. This great racing boat has taken Chris and his crew from San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas and in 2010 won the Double Handed Guadalupe Island Race.
Welsh is also an accomplished pilot flying single engines, multi engines, IFR, Seaplanes and helicopters like the rest of us drive a car. His passion for testing his endurance includes cross country dirt biking and swimming with great whites in the waters around the Caribbean island of Guadalupe.
His past sailing experiences and his passion for adventure made him the ideal candidate to join forces with Virgin’s founder Sir Richard Branson on an expedition to places where no other person has yet ventured and which the rest of us can only dream of going to. This has to be one of the greatest adventures this century. He will be piloting a sub designed by Graham Hawkes, a man well known for his innovative and forward thinking when it comes to submersibles.
Hawkes is recognised the world over as one of the best in the business. His design for the Virgin Oceanic’s adventure is the only manned submersible capable of reaching depths never before explored by any human beings. Sir Richard Branson, forever the adventurer together with Chris, have put together a team of true professionals dedicated to the success of this fantastic underwater journey. Welsh will be the first to go down and Branson taking over for the second dive.
The dives begin this year, in fact in the not too distant future and will continue right through 2012 and possibly way beyond. These first time explorations of the ocean’s depths are more than just a little exciting as the sub will gather valuable data from a hitherto mysterious underwater world. Dive one is planned in the Marianna Trench, which measures 7 miles (11 kilometres) straight down to the ocean’s sea floor. This is not the first time this deeper than deep trench has been explored, but it will be the very first occasion a sub that flies more like a plane than anything else has ever been able to achieve it. Back in 1960 two men, Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard went straight down to the bottom of the trench and back up again and they did it in a craft known as a bathyscaphe called the Trieste. Chris Welsh on the other hand will glide through the trench in the Hawkes designed submersible, cruising along the deepest point on the planet and then coast the whole length of it for around eight mind boggling hours, amassing data and photos as he ventures along the trench.
The second daring dive is planned to another of the worlds deep underwater ravines, the Puerto Rico Trench which just happens to be the deepest point in the whole of the Atlantic Ocean. Sir Richard Branson will be at the helm for this dive, navigating his way through 8 kilometres, over 5 miles of a hitherto unseen underwater channel. The subsequent dives will take underwater pilots to areas of the Artic, Southern and Indian Oceans all of which have never before been explored. These incredible dives are going to open up a mysterious under water world offering oceanographers and scientists the opportunity of researching our oceans like never before. When you consider that only 3% of the planet’s sea beds and floors have been explored to date, you start to appreciate how valuable the data retrieved from these dives will actually be. A very interesting and fascinating adventure is about to take place with many people on the edge of their seats waiting for information to be retrieved and then carefully studied.
The planning behind this adventure has been intense and the timings of the dives are crucial which means the team that’s been brought together are true professionals, dedicated to making the whole venture happen and succeed. A lot of scientific testing has been carried out with extra testing having been necessary hence the reason the initial dives were pushed back till now. At the depths this unique submersible is going to be diving, there’s no margin for error whatsoever.
Marine life on our sea floors have never been studied which makes Chris Welsh one of the luckiest guys on the planet. When he takes the sub down for the first time in the Atlantic Ocean he will be the first man to see what’s really down there, a bit like the first man as stepped out onto the moon. Sir Richard taking the second dive is going to be privy to some amazing underwater landscapes and marine life which is what I call more than a adventure, it’s getting into unknown territories which in today’s smaller world is pretty hard to find. These dives are going to provide oceanographers with a whole new lot of data that will keep them busy for years to come. All thanks to two of the greatest adventurers around today, Chris Welsh and the tireless Sir Richard Branson.