First video from James Cameron dive released

Filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron emerges from the Deepsea Challenger submersible after his successful solo dive to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, March 26, 2011. AP Photo/Mark Theissen, National Geographic


(CBS/AP) Footage from James Cameron's dive to the deepest known point of the ocean has been released in a video from expedition sponsor National Geographic.

The footage, which starts at 1:09 in the above YouTube video, shows an empty ocean floor, devoid of life.

The "Avatar" director described the scene as "desolate" in a conference call Monday with reporters following his return to the surface.

"I just sat there looking out the window, looking at this barren, desolate lunar plain, appreciating," Cameron said.

Cameron spent three hours at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, nearly 7 miles down.

Cameron also said he had hoped to see some strange deep sea monster like a creature that would excite the storyteller in him and seem like out of his movies, but he didn't.

But that was OK, he said, it was all about exploration, science and discovery. He is the only person to dive there solo, using a sub he helped design - the Deepsea Challenger. He is the first person to reach that depth - 35,576 feet - since it was initially explored in 1960.

Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard made the only other visit 52 years ago.

He spent time filming the Mariana Trench, which is about 200 miles southwest of the Pacific island of Guam. The trip down to the deepest point took two hours and 36 minutes, starting Sunday afternoon U.S. East Coast time.

His return aboard his 12-ton, lime-green sub was a "faster-than-expected 70-minute ascent," according to National Geographic, which sponsored the expedition.

Cameron is a National Geographic explorer-in-residence.

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