Changing Planet

Desventuradas Expedition: This Is Why We Are So Excited

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala is setting off on his first big expedition of the year: to explore the remote islands of Desventuradas, hundreds of miles off the coast of Chile. Follow his adventures throughout the next month.

We have been at sea for almost two days, sailing on a straight line to the Desventuradas Islands. Yesterday we saw two whales, dolphins, storm petrels, petrels, and a masked booby, which pooped in mid air and hit me and my camera, as I was watching its flawless flight with admiration. Within the immensity of the Pacific Ocean, the probability of being hit by a bird is, when you round it up, zero. Everyone laughed and said “this is good luck!” And good luck we must have, because the seas have been flat, the sky blue, and the sailing smooth.

These two days at sea we have been assembling the cameras and the diving gear, checking the guides to the fish and invertebrates of the region, and making plans for our first day of work underwater. It pays off to have long lists of tasks before the expeditions, and detailed inventories of expedition gear, from our diving rebreathers to pencils. All are essential to the success of our expedition, and missing one could jeopardize our entire mission. Even the humble pencils are key; without them we could not be writing underwater and collecting data on the diversity and abundance of fishes, for example.

Enric Sala preparing diving and camera gear in the “camera lab” that Undersea Hunter built for this Pristine Seas expedition. (Photo by Manu San Félix)
Enric Sala preparing diving and camera gear in the “camera lab” that Undersea Hunter built for this Pristine Seas expedition. (Photo by Manu San Félix)


Tomorrow morning we’ll arrive to the Desventuradas. We don’t know what we’re going to find. This is why we’re going. This is why we are so excited.


This expedition is supported by Blancpain and Davidoff Cool Water.

Learn More

Follow All the Desventuradas 2013 Blog Posts

Watch Google Science Fair Hangout With Enric Sala From Chile

Enric Sala’s Pristine Seas Expeditions


Marine ecologist Dr. Enric Sala is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence who combines science, exploration and media to help restore marine life. Sala’s scientific publications are used for conservation efforts such as the creation of marine protected areas. 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, 2006 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, 2008 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum.
  • Andres

    Enric, nice to hear about the see conditions and visibility. During this season, that area normally mixes light rain and sunny periods during the same day. Good luck!

  • cristina

    ¡¡ beautiful weather!!. Love to see more underwater images, and I also expect you to find value places to protect. Good luck with your dives and send to you and all the team all big hug. Regards from Formentera

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