VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
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The announcement by President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon means that whales, sharks, turtles, rays, and countless other marine species in jeopardy from industrialization and overfishing will now have a blue haven on the West African coast.
After living here in far southern French Polynesia for the past few weeks, leaving is difficult. We’ve come to love the waters and the life they hold, but will especially miss the wonderful people that call this place home.
Kike Ballesteros and Alan Friedlander dive the dangerous and unpredictable Marotiri Shoals, battling the elements to collect scientific data. Curious onlookers, in the form of large predators, come to join them.
With many sharks sighted in Marotiri with fishing hooks protruding from their bodies, it seems that almost nothing is untouched by man. However, human impact can also be positive—will the Expedition be able to help these sharks?
To film animal behavior out of the view of human eyes, the team deploys cameras to drift in the open ocean and record whatever comes their way.
The Pristine Seas team finally arrives at the rocky islets of Marotiri, a violent melee of rocks and waves, hiding a stark environment below.
As the Pristine Seas team examines the corals and algae of far southern French Polynesia, an army of sea urchins and a wall of seaweed pose an intriguing mystery.
After days of diving on fairly fishless reefs, the Pristine Seas team gets a thrill encountering large numbers of sharks swarming around soaring coral towers.
Fishing is normally reserved for those with unique tools and skills, but here on Rapa, sometimes a good rock is all that’s needed… and ancient ancestral knowledge, but that’s already in the bag!
People have survived for centuries on the tiny island of Rapa, carefully managing their resources through an ancient system known as rahui. What lessons does it hold for the rest of the world today?
With winds so strong the waterfalls were flowing upwards, the Pristine Seas crew lands at Rapa Iti and must hike the final miles to make it to the Island Council meeting for permission to begin the expedition.
In anticipation of Pristine Seas crew’s arrival at Rapa Iti, team member Poema du Prel from Tahiti shares her reflections on the mission, and words of inspiration in two languages from her spiritual grandfather.
Paul Rose muses on the differences between ancient navigation and his own modern equipment and methods on the Pristine Seas expedition to Rapa.
As we kick off our new expedition to the tiny island of Rapa in French Polynesia, we really don’t know exactly what we’ll find. It’s the purest form of exploration, enhanced by sheer curiosity and excitement—the very reason that we are ocean explorers.
A new expedition will investigate the untold sea life around the most southern islands in all of French Polynesia. Follow along with updates from the field.