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Sapphire Abyss

An exploration to the bottom of Dean’s Blue Hole

The next frontier for our team is in the underwater depths of Dean’s Blue Hole. In the first descent of crewed submersibles, equipped with LED lights and underwater drone technology, our scientists will be able to venture into some of Earth’s least hospitable conditions in search of unprecedented findings. To date, Dean’s Blue Hole has been virtually unexplored. Venturing into uncharted waters, our team will have to “expect the unexpected.”

Why Dean’s Blue Hole?

Dean’s Blue Hole is an enigma for geologists studying underwater caverns. It is the largest of its kind in the world, and yet very little is known about it, including how it formed more than 15,000 years ago.

Its extreme depth (663 feet, 202 meters) makes Dean’s inaccessible to even the most experienced divers and its remote location makes it incredibly difficult to launch major surface-based operations. Dean’s has a unique “vase” configuration with a narrow opening near the surface relative to a much wider cavern chamber below.

Challenges Our Team Will Overcome:

Uncharted Water. Dean’s is virtually unexplored. There is a certain amount of unpredictability our team will face in new territory.

Currents and Thermal Layers. Geologists believe there may be openings along the walls of the main chamber that connect Dean’s to the Atlantic Ocean. This can potentially cause unforeseen currents and thermal layers that could interfere with underwater operations.

Pressure and Visibility. At the floor of the cavern, our team will be subject to extreme pressure—almost 300 pounds per square inch (psi), about 20 times greater than what we feel on the surface. Due to the narrow opening near the top of the main chamber, light will not penetrate the lowest points of the cavern, so our team will be operating in complete darkness.

Remote Location. Dean’s is located on one of the more remote Bahamian islands. There are limited facilities and nothing substantive nearby. We will be relatively isolated should our team run into severe problems or emergencies.

“What Lurks Beneath.” Locals believe that Dean’s is a portal to hell and the Devil himself lurks in the black depths. Each year, several people drown in Dean’s due to a variety of misfortunes. We fully expect to find human remains and prepare to handle those situations with proper respect for the families.

Expedition Crew

Kenny Broad

Science Team Leader

Scott Parazynski

Lead Explorer
Chief Medical Officer

Guillermo Söhnlein

Expedition Leader