I was fortunate enough to be staying at the Hotel Urban in Brisbane the lead up to the Queensland Museum’s Deep Oceans Exhibit. I say fortunate because several experts had been called in to overlook the exhibit prior to its opening. The Queensland Museum is nothing if not thorough and they wanted everything to be right.

The experts were deep sea divers, bathynaughts (?); those intrepid souls who surround themselves with flimsy metal and descend into the Stygian darkness of the deeps. And I was fortunate enough to meet with them in the lounge of the Hotel Urban. Together we drank coffee and they told me of the wonders they’d seen.


You wouldn’t believe it, but even under of tons of sea water life exists (the pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench is 8 tons per square inch). Strange, almost unearthly, creatures scavenge around hyper-thermal vents that emit highly acidic fluids somehow – somehow – enabling life to exist.

Trieste-Don-Walsh-2What staggered me was that no has been able to recreate the dive of Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. These two brave men descended to the bottom-most part of the world in 1960. They descended 35,800 feet (deeper than Everest is high) and to date are the only two men to have ever done it.

I admired the Hotel Urban for a moment, grateful for its serenity. but inwardly I promised to see the exhibition.

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