OceanGate Inc. and OceanGate Foundation continue the Eye on the Sanctuaries Tour with an expedition to the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary near San Francisco, California. This multi‑day expedition will use the 5‑man submersible Cyclops 1 to explore the ocean depths to 500 meters (1600 feet) to expand our understanding of the distribution and abundance of deep-sea fish, corals and sponges within the sanctuary.
- Create a detailed sonar map of the Ituna shipwreck.
- Provide baseline data of fish, deep-sea corals, and sponges in rocky substrate and submerged shipwrecks.
- Observe predatory behavior of sharks and whales.
- Conduct community outreach events to share the results of the expedition with students, educators, journalists, policy makers and the general public.
Planned Dive Sites
The 2016 expedition is targeting three primary dive locations to better assess and understand the distribution and abundance of deep-sea fish, corals and sponges within the sanctuary. Specific dive sites will be selected during each mission based on expedition objectives, weather conditions and other factors.
On March 13th, 1920 the steamship Ituna, en route from San Francisco to Reedsport, Oregon with a cargo of machinery and cement, foundered in a storm approximately 15 miles northwest of the San Francisco Lightship. This expedition is a rare opportunity to assess and compare biodiversity on rocky substrate and the biodiversity found on shipwrecks.
At least one sensitive species, a black coral colony, has been documented here, an observation that greatly extends the northern range of this species. Manned submersible dives to survey a larger portion of the bank will assess if additional black coral colonies or other sensitive species exist on the bank.
The Rittenburg Bank is a highly diverse and productive area, with one of the highest densities of sponges found along the west coast.