Exploring the Deep

Geoff Mahley, February 10, 2014

A week ago I had the pleasure of touring one of the Hawkes Ocean Technology workshops in Richmond, CA. They specialize in designing and manufacturing deep sea submersibles. Most submersibles, like the one James Cameron used in his exploration of the Meriana Trench, are attached to a ship that raises and lowers the sub like an elevator. While there are benefits to being anchored to a ship, the mobility and area the sub can explore are limited.


What sets Hawkes technology apart from others is its design. The founder, Graham Hawkes, had a vision that underwater navigation can be directly related to air navigation. Their “Deepflight” crafts operate on the same principles as an airplane. As you can see in the pictures, they resemble aircrafts as well. These subs are always buoyant and use propellers powered by electric batteries to thrust the ship as far down as 120 meters safely. Their buoyancy acts as a safety feature so that if there are any problems at depth, the sub will rise to the surface even without power.


The Deepflight crafts are amazing in that they allow you to explore the deep ocean and all of the organisms that are apart of it. There is almost no limit to the number of modifications you can make to the subs. You are able to attach instruments that can collect data about the ocean chemistry, or place cameras all around the ship and make an awesome video like GoPro did (see video below). In the next month the company is taking one up to Lake Tahoe to test out new features and catch a glimpse of the deeper parts of the lake which only one man has ventured into before.


Currently, Hawkes Ocean Technology is selling these subs for a mere 1.6 million so please purchase enough clothing so that we can buy a personal Blood and Bolts deep sea sub, we’ll give you guys rides too.


To quote their brochure “The Super Falcon represents the pinnacle of manned submersible technology. Designed to do barrel rolls with dolphins and spy-hop with whales, the Deepflight Super Falcon will take you anywhere you want to go underwater, in style, safety and comfort.”


Here are a couple of photos I took from my visit and from their website.




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My tour guide and Project Manager Jay Tustin