We just headed out from Denpasar, Bali for the central part of the Java Trench. Before we arrived, the DSSV Pressure Drop cruised the length of the trench to identify its likeliest deepest points – something that had never comprehensively been done before with a sonar of this capability. Our massive, ship-mounted EM124 sonar is telling us that it is a close call, but it appears there are three likely deepest points: one off to the far west, one in the center due south of Bali, and one off to the east. However, it appears that the one in the center is the deepest, so we will head there first.
We also just got word that the Indonesian government, completely by surprise and for no apparent reason, denied our request to do a scientific dive with them and their researchers. The law is a bit vague about what we can do in their Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ), since we are not going to be doing anything “economic” like fishing or looking for oil. We are heading out anyway, so we can at least dive in the water, test our systems, cameras, underwater navigation gear, and basically conduct more sea trials while also trying to dive to the bottom of the Indian Ocean. No harm in that, surely.