By Ebonie Sampson, Rutgers student
On January 5, 1999, at about 4:30 p.m., I
learned that I was going to get the chance to journey to the
bottom of the ocean. I was extremely excited. Then, as I stood
there with a full cup of water in my in hand, I suddenly realized
that going to the bathroom the next day would be really difficult
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The reasonI would be spending
nine hours in a small titanium ball with two other peopleand
So then I knew the first thing I had to do
was stop drinking. This was not easy because everyone made a
point to let me known how good everything they had to drink tasted.
The next morning I awoke bright and early,
around 6:30 a.m. I am not sure if it was the alarm clock that
woke me or the butterflies, but I was wide awake and ready for
I climbed into Alvin around 8:30 a.m. and
they sealed the hatch. The next thing I know I was being lowered
into the water. At about 25 meters the pilot asked me if I was
sure I wanted to do this, and even though the butterflies were
even larger than before, I quickly nodded my head with a big
As I watched out my small port hole, I saw
the water change from a light blue to a fluorescent blue to black.
At this time we had reached the bottom and the subs lights were
turned on. The very first things I saw were big rocks and a cliff.
The cliffs in the area were frightening because it seemed as
though we would fall over and disappear. After awhile, though,
I got pretty comfortable being at the bottom of the ocean.
Among the most interesting things I saw were
the black smokers. I was amazed to see they really did look like
smoking chimneys. I also saw crabs, star fish and sea anemones.
There were also these funny fish that gathered head first in
the holes in the rocks.
At about 4:30 p.m. we began our ascent to
the surface. I would like to have explored the bottom a little
longer, but it was time to go. The trip up was a lot of fun as
well. The pilot let me drop the subs weights and inform the ship
of our depth on the way up. When I finally reached the surface,
I was greeted with two buckets of ice watera bath that everyone
gets on a first dive.
It was all worth it!
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