Victor Vescovo, Emden Deep, Hong Konger Ada Tsang, Ada Tsang, Deo Florence Onda, Caladan Oceanic, Horizon Deep, Insider, Philippine Trench

Victor Vescovo, Emden Deep

While the world was in lockdown, one adventurer plunged to the depths of an unexplored ocean trench while another made a record-breaking climb on Everest

Here's what two adventurers saw at these ends of the earth.

18/6/2021 4:27:00 AM

Here's what two adventurers saw at these ends of the earth.

Victor Vescovo , 55, journeyed to the unexplored Emden Deep in March, while Ada Tsang , 44, broke a record for the fastest Everest ascent by a woman.

16 June 2021, 11:26 am·7-min readAdventurer Victor Vescovo and oceanologist Deo Florence Onda waved the Philippine flag in celebration after becoming the first people to ever explore the Emden Deep this March. Meanwhile, Ada Tsang became the fastest woman to scale Everest this May.

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Caladan Oceanic and Ada TsangWhile the rest of the world was in lockdown, Victor Vescovo, 55, journeyed to the depths of the Emden Deep, where no man has gone before.Two months later, Hong Konger Ada Tsang, 44, made it to the top of Everest in the fastest time ever recorded by a woman.

They told Insider about what they saw, and what experiences life at Earth's extremes has to offer.Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.The Emden Deep is the third deepest point in the ocean. It's a place where human life cannot survive and thrive, but US-based adventurer Victor Vescovo found being down there far less lonely and confining than sitting at home during the COVID lockdown.

While the world stayed isolated during the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vescovo, 55, dived nearly 33,000 feet beneath the waves to the unexplored depths of Emden Deep in the Philippine Trench. Together with Filipino marine scientist Deo Florence Onda, Vescovo, became one of the first humans to explore this unknown part of the Earth in a manned submersible on March 23. It is the third deepest point on the planet, after Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench and Horizon Deep in the Tonga Trench.

Two months later, a Hong Kong woman broke another world record - this time, on another of the planet's extremes.Insiderreported that Ada Tsang Yin-hung, 44, reached the summit of the 29,031-foot peak on May 23. She was the fastest woman to do so, completing her ascent in 25 hours and 50 minutes.

But just what did these two adventurers see at these ends of the earth? And what does the planet have to offer mankind even in its harshest, most inhospitable environments? Insider spoke to Vescovo and Tsang to find out the answers to these questions.

A teddy bear at the bottom of the oceanVescovo went more than 6.2 miles beneath the waves in deep​-sea submersible DSV Limiting Factor.Verola Media/Caladan OceanicEnsconced in a deep-sea submersible more than 10 kilometers beneath the waves with no one but oceanologist Deo Florence Onda for company, Vescovo did not know what to expect. The organization behind his expedition, undersea tech company Caladan Oceanic, had earlier mapped the broad contours of the expedition area with sonar. But Vescovo and Onda were both none the wiser as to what they would see at the bottom of Emden Deep until they got there.

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Story continuesThe duo took four hours to make their descent and spent around three hours on the ocean bed, exploring its soft, undulating planes and observing the marine life. Vescovo was shocked, however, to find what he described as "a variety of plastic debris" floating in those dark waters.

"There was a teddy bear, some discarded shirts, and most memorably, what was definitely a recyclable plastic bag," Vescovo said to Insider.Vescovo speculated that the plastic waste likely found its way into the Emden Deep because the Philippine Trench is located along one of the most commercially traveled sea lanes, where trash is often dumped directly into the ocean.

"There's a sheer volume of pollution and human contamination because people often think that if they put plastic into the ocean, it'll just disappear," he said.Despite this tragic sight, Vescovo still found beauty in the experience, calling the sojourn an other-worldly experience.

Vescovo told Insider that every trench he has been to has its own character."Deep ocean trenches seem very similar at first glance, but each is different. The Mariana Trench is incredibly vast, while the Tonga Trench is violent and rocky," he said.

He added that he found the sand-like dunes of the Emden Deep gentle, soft, and peaceful, while the bottom of the Arctic Ocean looks much more jagged and mountainous in comparison."I guess what drives me is this inherent sense of intense curiosity that was cultivated in me when I was a child. I've always wanted to know more, and to get to the other side of the hill to find out what lay beyond," he said.

Everest showed this record-breaking female climber the goodness of humanityAda Tsang, 44, reached the peak of Everest in record time this May.Ada Tsang/HandoutAda Tsang Yin-hung says it was the power of the human spirit and the acts of kindness she saw while traversing Everest that truly moved her.

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