Changing Planet

In a Bubble of Air in the Deep Pacific

When you are aboard our three-person submarine you sit inside a completely clear sphere giving unrivaled views and the most obvious, wonderful feeling of living in a bubble of air in the deep ocean.

The descent was spectacular. Five silky sharks accompanied us down to 150 feet, then as we went through the thermocline at 240 feet we lost the blue light, moved into the darkness, and hit a dense “soup of life” layer full of plankton—the very start of oceanic life.

In total darkness we arrived at a steep wall bursting with bright yellow sponges, delicate cup corals, groups of scorpion fish, and a surprise moray eel. We survey by writing in a log book to record everything we see. We film the entire dive and use lasers to help us size our discoveries.

Three hours might sound like a long dive, but it goes fast and the ascent into the light and these evocative, most beautiful blue waters comes too soon.

Exploring the deep waters surrounding Clipperton Island in a submarine is not only a tremendous privilege, it is essential so that we can understand the complete ecosystem of this outstanding island.

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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.
  • eric chevreuil

    The marine ecosystem is threatened by purse seiners that come to clipperton on regular basis, most of them illegally. (Only Mexico has a fishing agreement with France) Legal and illegal senners are regularily seen deploying their nets over the reefs, close to the shores. The sharks, historically varied and numerous (Hammerhead, silk, galapagos, white and black tips and occasional Tigers) are most gone and juveniles are the only one left in this natural nursery (ask Mauricio!). At $1000 a pound in the Californian black market, one must wonder how many shark fins are harvested on Clipperton. Also, with the low price of fuel, Asian ships are now seen on these remote reefs…helicopters, explosives, FADs, purse seine….everything goes, even a night according to pictures and testimonies from concerned Clippertonians!

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