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.
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.