“We are really excited to see this project come to life,” said FOMT Chairman Ignacio V. Cabrera. “Our goal with this exhibit is to give our community and tourists a way to interact with our monument and learn more about what we have there.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ship Okeanos Explorer conducted exploration missions of the Mariana Trench in 2016. ROV Deep Discoverer (a robot) made daily dives from 250 to 6,000 meters and provided live video feedback to scientists aboard the ship. The photos in this exhibit are still-captures from video footage obtained during those dives. Several possible new species were found during this mission.
"This is fantastic, and we applaud the Friends of the Mariana Trench Monument for undertaking this initiative to bring the Monument to the CNMI community using the Okeanos Explorer information and images from the Marianas expedition," said Heidi Hirsh, Natural Resource Specialist with Marine National Monuments Program based in Hawaii.
The exhibit was coordinated by Laurie Peterka for the Friends of the Mariana Trench and funded by the Marianas Visitors Authority and the Northern Marianas Hotel Association. All images are courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas. Image printing and framing were donated by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Gloria Cavanaugh, HANMI Chairwoman, added “The HANMI is pleased to be involved in showcasing to our people and to our tourist the beauty of the CNMI. We tend to take advantage of the fact that we are surrounded by the deepest waters in the world. Without the Okeanos Explorer project, the beauty in our waters would never have been discovered. We are thankful to NOAA and the Pew Charitable Trusts for bringing these rare images for us and our guests to enjoy.”
The exhibit will move between HANMI member hotels for 24-months and be shared with community outreach partners on request. Inquiries can be directed to Laurie Peterka at firstname.lastname@example.org.