Palau Expedition: The Good Side of Bad Weather

In September 2013, Palau’s current President Tommy Remengesau announced his intention to protect 80 percent of Palau’s waters as a National Marine Sanctuary. For the month of September 2014, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala is leading key scientists and filmmakers to explore, survey, and document the diversity and abundance of the marine life that will be protected by the new offshore sanctuary. The team will also assess how well inshore marine protected areas have performed to date.

Storm above, living world below. (Photo by Manu San Felix)

We continue our Pristine Seas expedition in Palau. In 10 days our team
has spent a total of over 250 man-hours underwater. We are
collecting tons of scientific data and shooting unique underwater
wonders. As fulfilling as expedition work is, it is exhausting, and
sometimes hard, especially when it’s rough out there. Today there is a
tropical depression north of Palau. It is so windy that the rain is
hitting us horizontally, and being underwater feels much better than
being on a small, rocking boat.

The good side of this bad weather is spectacular views like this one at the Ulong Channel on the west side
of the Palau reef crest. Our underwater cinematographer, Manu San
Felix, was precariously standing on a sandy bottom with patch reefs,
trying not to be swept away by the strong current; but he could take
this photo showing the contrast between the serenity of the underwater
world and the dramatic storm above.

Read All Pristine Seas: Palau Blog Posts

The Pristine Seas expedition to Palau is sponsored by Blancpain and Davidoff Cool Water.

Changing Planet


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.