The Last Voyage?
The Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Alvin finished a five-month overhaul in Woods Hole in early April and returned to sea April 19 aboard support vessel Atlantis for what may be Alvin's last voyage. The three-person sub, with more than 4,100 dives to depths of 4,500 meters (14,764 feet) to date, is scheduled to be replaced in 2009 with an improved vehicle capable of reaching 6,500 meters (21,320 feet). After certification dives off Bermuda, the sub will begin the 2006 diving schedule in the Gulf of Mexico, then head through the Panama Canal to the Pacific for continued studies along the earthquake prone mid-ocean ridge between Mexico and the states of Washington and Oregon. Alvin is the only deep-diving human occupied vehicle in the U.S. and the most active of only five similar vehicles in the world.