Voyage to Clipperton—One of the Most Remote Tropical Islands on Earth

The crew of the Pristine Seas Clipperton Island expedition stands ready to embark on their voyage. Photo by Brian of Undersea Hunter

We love this moment.

After months of researching, planning, and organizing, we are all on board the dive expedition boat, Argo, here at the dock in Manzanillo, Mexico.

Our happiness can be measured in the enthusiastic way we are lifting and carrying our huge pile of dive and camera gear, drop cameras, pelagic cameras, underwater video stations, science sampling kit, shark and tuna tagging gear, and seemingly endless heavy bags and black pelican cases.

It’s heavy work. Every single square inch of space is full and there is a noisy, happy buzz.

Tonight we start our passage of 540 nautical miles of open Pacific Ocean to reach tiny, uninhabited Clipperton Island, one of the most remote tropical islands on Earth and the only atoll in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. The more that we learn about it, the keener we are to get out there and start exploring this wild place.

Our thoughts are on the unexplored deep waters of Clipperton and the surrounding seamounts. We can’t wait to study the mysteries of the outstanding number of endemic species. Per area, this tiny atoll is home to more endemic species than anywhere else on Earth.

Clipperton is the easternmost coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Stephane Dugast
Clipperton is the easternmost coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Stephane Dugast

We have a lot to do before we sail and in the next few hours tons of fuel will be taken on, the three person submarine will be checked, the four workboats prepared, our recompression chamber checked and “blown down” to 60 feet depth to make sure that it’s in perfect working order, and the dive compressor will be inspected to ensure that it provides our breathing gas, nitrox, at the correct percentages.

This could be a rough passage and so we’ll stow everything securely—or as described in the elegant time-honored language of the sea, “made ready for sea.”

We’re certainly ready for sea and hope you are too! Please join us by following Pristine Seas on this blog, Instagram, and Facebook!

Changing Planet


Meet the Author
Paul Rose is an ardent explorer, television presenter, journalist, author, and Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society, and an Expedition Leader on the Pristine Seas team.