DoE staffer first Caymanian to dive the Cayman Trench

| 22/08/2022 | 15 Comments
Sabrina Douglas (Photo by Marley Parker, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

(CNS): Sabrina Douglas, assistant geographical information systems (GIS) and field support specialist at the Department of Environment, became the first Caymanian to dive the depths of the Cayman Trench inside Alvin, a specialist submersible, as part of an ocean exploration research project currently underway into this mysterious part of the Atlantic.

Douglas is working aboard the Atlantis with a research team from the non-profit Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution studying the bizarre landscape and unique life in what is also known as the Cayman Trough.

In the ship’s blog about her first dive in Alvin, Douglas said it was a special and unique experience for both her and for the Cayman Islands. “This seems like a really nice mark to make in the world,” she said. “For such a small nation, it’s a big point of pride to say I was the first Caymanian to do this.” 

Aside from the thrill of her first journey into the trench, she is also enjoying the work the team is doing learning about the deepest parts of the world’s oceans, documenting what they see and working on the samples taken during the dives.

Tim Shank, the lead scientist on the boat, explained that the species of shrimp they have found only lives in the waters in Cayman waters. “We haven’t found them anywhere else. It’s one of the things that makes this place so special — a different evolutionary lineage exists here.” 

The Cayman Trench is a drop between two competing slabs of the Earth’s crust. The North American Plate is to the north and the Caribbean to the south. The two plates are pulling apart from each other and sliding sideways.

In 2010, researchers discovered a patch of chimneys, some of the deepest ever found, belching water that’s been heated to 800 by molten rock far below the sea bed. The water carries dissolved minerals, including iron and copper, which have piled up to form the chimneys. The vent site where Douglas was diving contains a higher copper content than any other known vent site in the world and is believed to have some of the highest temperatures of any hydrothermal vent.

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Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    known her since primary school, she has always been a light in my life! so proud of her!

    • Anonymous says:

      Correction she is not the first to dive the Cayman Trench.
      When I was employed by Atlantis Submarine in 1994/95 I was prevlidge to a Deep Dive to 800Ft on there research Submarine with a research student from Minnesota. After completion you were given a certificate and a video. It was a big seller and it cost US$350.00 per person.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Super cool! congrats and keep it going!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Very cool! This was such an enjoyable read! Way to go, Sabrina!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow. Just wow. It must just be amazing to see this part of our world.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Sabrina on being Cayman’s first aquanaut to dive the trench. I knew you were going places after a brief time working with you. Cayman needs more talent like you in the sciences.

  6. Beaumont Zodecloun says:

    Very cool! Congratulations Miss Sabrina for being a part of a historic dive! I am extremely envious. It doesn’t matter how deep the dive was — you were THERE! Awesome good news story.

  7. Orrie Merren 🙏🏻🇰🇾 says:

    Congratulations and way to go, Sabrina. Kudos to you and your colleagues (as well as Alvin).

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow, cool. Well done Sabrina.

  9. Merith says:

    Had to be a civil servant. I am so proud of you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Merith – Your slanted comment is pointless. She is a Civil Servant and thus this is related to her JOB (or training).

      But at least one Civil Servant is doing something!!


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