Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

Eye on the Sanctuaries Expedition

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.
Submersible pilot and navigator aboard Cyclops 1 during a dive.
Sub pilot, dive crew and Cyclops 1 aboard the launch and recovery platform in the Gulf of the Farallones.
Cyclops 1 aboard the launch and recovery platform descend to begin a dive.