No humans had visited the Yap and Palau Trenches until the last few weeks, when explorer Victor Vescovo was accompanied to the bottom of Yap Trench by Master Navigator Sesario Sewralur of Micronesia for the Yap, reaching a depth of around 8,929 meters (29,295 feet). Former President of Palau, Thomas Rememngesau, joined Vescovo in the dive to the lowest point of the Palau trench at 8,027 meters (26,335 feet).
“It was a great privilege to pilot the first human descents to the bottom of the Yap and Palau trenches with Sesario Sewralur and Former President Tommy Rememngesau, both very prominent members of their local communities. I believe both of these areas have been overshadowed by the larger and even deeper Mariana Trench to the northeast, but these isolated trenches have their own geological history and characteristics that are worthy of their own deep ocean exploration,” Victor Vescovo, Founder of Caladan Oceanic, said in a press statement seen by IFLScience.
These dives conducted scientific analysis of the areas, collecting samples that will be analyzed in Albania and Australia. The explorations report deep see habitats similar to the Mariana Trench, but with more wildlife given that these trenches are significantly shallower.
The teams also report high vertical walls created by the Caroline tectonic plate going under the Philippine plate. At the Yap Trench, Sewralur and Vescovo moved up along a wall over one kilometer (0.6 miles) high.
"The world benefits from knowledge and information we can learn from the deep. Thanks to the courage and innovation of Mr. Victor Vescovo and the Pressure Drop team, the totality of the ocean can be better understood and respected for mankind's sake,” said Former President of Palau Tommy Remengesau Jr.
Separately to the dives, the ship mapped the trenches extensively with their onboard multibeam sonar system. This was used to prepare for the exploration – identifying the deepest and most exciting areas – and they will be also shared with the local communities and international scientific institutions. The ship is part of the GEBCO 2030 project, which aims to map the entire seafloor by the end of the decade.
These two are only some of the achievements Vescovo and his team have reached this year. Earlier this month, Vescovo descended to Challenger Deep together with Dr Dawn Wright, the first Black person to ever visit the deepest point in the Ocean. Vescovo also went to space a few months ago, flying on a Blue Origin rocket.