Of all the world's vast oceans, the deepest point on earth is called Challenger Deep, the very deepest part of the Marianas Trench, some two hundred miles southwest of the island Guam. It is approximately seven miles deep, which is about seven times deeper than the Grand Canyon. In 1960 Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard were the first to reach the bottom in a two-man sub called the Trieste.
"Since that time there have only been eleven others, for a total of thirteen in all of history," says Jim Wigginton, the most recent individual to take the long plunge into the abyss of Challenger Deep.
"I am the thirteenth person, the first Marine, the oldest to ever reach the bottom, the only person in the world ever to reach Challenger Deep, at around seven miles deep, and also skydive from seven miles high."
The submersible is called the 'Limiting Factor'. It is the only sub that has been certified to take people down to the bottom of Challenger Deep, and unlike any submersible before, it has made multiple trips to the bottom.
The Limiting Factor submersible is a perfectly shaped sphere made out of 90 mm (3-1/2 inch) thick titanium, surrounded by a shell made out of a combination of foam and plastic.
The dive took approximately thirteen hours, including twelve hours under water, with 3-1/2 hours of bottom time.
The Limiting Factor has six thrusters to steer it, searchlights on all sides, dual viewing portals and multiple redundancies for all safety elements.
The Limiting Factor maintains air pressure in its capsule at one atmosphere, even at the greatest depths, where the pressure is 19,000 times greater than at the surface. It can also communicate with the mother ship at the surface, even from the bottom.
Jim set himself his latest challenge of skydiving from a balloon seven miles up and then diving seven miles deep as part of his pledge to the Punya Thyroid Cancer Endowment Fund in support of research into thyroid cancer that took the life of his late wife Nancy.
A former US marine and student of Kangdukwon Taekwondo Great Grand Master Hwa Chong since 1971, Jim learned to set 'impossible' goals for himself--and to achieve them. His legacy of record-breaking sky dives and mountain peaks conquered--too long to recount here--remains a 'work in progress'.
An ex-Marine and former Chairman of the World Kang Duk Won Federation, Jim Wigginton now devotes his life to extemd the lives and quality of life of Stage 4 thyroid cancer patients.Contributions to the Punya Thyroid Cancer Endowment Fund should be written in the check note section. Checks may be mailed to:
Att: Gift Finance and Handling
1000 Oakbrook Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-6815
Thank you on behalf of the Drs and Thyroid Cancer patients!