Eye on the Sanctuaries Expedition: Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
From October 21-28, 2016, OceanGate Inc. and OceanGate Foundation continued the Eye on the Sanctuaries Tour with an expedition to the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary near San Francisco, California. The multi-day expedition used 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.
Dive sites included:
Ituna Shipwreck: 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.
Cochrane Bank: At least one sensitive species, a black coral colony, had been documented here, an observation that greatly extended the northern range of this species. Manned submersible dives to survey a larger portion of the bank in the future will assess if additional black coral colonies or other sensitive species exist on the bank.
Rittenburg Bank: The Rittenburg Bank is a highly diverse and productive area, with one of the highest densities of sponges found along the west coast.