Dr. Joe MacInnis is quite a remarkable man, just describing his accomplishments would fill several blog posts. He was the first scientist to swim under the North Pole; he's been to both the Titanic and Edmund Fitzgerald; he is a regular collaborator with director James Cameron; and he is a licensed physician.
Joe MacInnis' new book Deep Leadership: Essential Insights From High Risk Environments, was completed shortly before his recent expedition to the Mariana Trench with James Cameron, who was a prime example of the leadership Joe MacInnis described.
The Indigo Non-Fiction blog is proud to present this exclusive post from Dr. Joe MacInnis.
Earlier this year, I was the journalist and backup physician on James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge expedition. After a series of practice dives in his radical new research sub, he made an epic, seven-mile, solo dive into the Mariana Trench.
I had just finished writing my latest book, Deep Leadership: Essential Insights from High Risk Environments. Much to my delight, during the three-month long expedition, Cameron and his team repeatedly displayed the essential traits of deep leadership that I had written about in the book. As an example, here’s a scene on the ship as Cameron piloted his sub to the ocean’s greatest depth.
The communication centre was a small room located on the ship’s bridge. It held video screens as well as the audio and sonar equipment that allowed us to track the sub’s spiraling free fall toward the center of the Earth. Fifteen team leaders were jammed into a space no bigger than a kitchen.
The tension in the room was thicker than a Newfoundland fog. Cameron was far, far below us and there wasn’t anything we could do if he got into trouble. As he approached the bottom everyone took a deep breath. He was inside a place that was freezing cold, forever dark, and where the pressure bends steel. The compression on his pilot sphere was equivalent to the weight of 26 space shuttles.
I looked at the men and women in the room studying the sub’s performance data and listening to the faint sound of Cameron’s voice. They had invested eight years of cool competence, fierce ingenuity, and team genius in its design and testing. It was the ultimate expression of their mental resilience, physical robustness, and strategic imagination.
It’s not often you write a book and see it come to life in the great waters of the Western Pacific. There are moments when I think it was meant to happen. There are moments when I think it was sweet dumb luck.
James Cameron emerging from his seven mile dive. Credit: National Geographic
James Cameron on deck. Credit: Dr. Joe MacInnis
Dr. Joe MacInnis was the electronic journalist and backup physician for James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge expedition. During the thirteen dives he kept a daily journal and took video and still photographs. His journal was posted on the National Geographic website www.deepseachallenge.com
The Indigo Non-Fiction Blog would like to thank Dr. Joe MacInnis for taking the time to write this blog for us.