With the Deep Life trip, dive into the jungles of marine animals

With the Deep Life trip, dive into the jungles of marine animals

“He goes! “ At this signal given by Captain Emmanuel Pierre Bardot, two frogs switch hands at once, on either side of the rubber boat that has taken them to the dive site, not far from the lighthouse at Pointe du Vieux-Fort, at the southern tip of Guadeloupe. After a short conversation, the divers disappear below the surface. Soon after, another pair did the same somersault and let themselves fall, neck-first and fins-in-the-air, into the waves of the indigo Caribbean Sea. Breton’s navigator and her teammate in turn submerge, leaving the boat in the charge of two crew members.

About ten kilometers south of the lighthouse, the Saintes archipelago juts out on the horizon. To the north and east, dominated by the volcanic summit of La Soufriere, dormant since its volcanic eruption in 1976, the mountains of Basse-Terre island, covered with dense vegetation, rise from the shore. To the west, blue as far as the eye can see. But unlike the tourists who indulge in various water activities in this idyllic setting, the team led by Emmanuelle Pierre Bardout and her husband, Ghislain Bardot, head of the Deep Sea Exploration (“Deep Life”) expedition, has a busy work program.

Read also: Emmanuelle and Ghislain Bardot: they explore the seabed to save the planet

The impressive size of the equipment carried by divers testifies to this: between underwater impellers and closed-circuit diving suits – more suitable for studying underwater animals, since they do not release bubbles – their huge package weighs almost fifty kilograms. enough to allow them to reach, in a few minutes, depths unusual for scientists. It is useless, even in such transparent water, to try to follow it with your gaze from the surface. “We are going down to 120 meters today and collecting samples of gorgonians, black corals, soft corals and sponges.”Ghislain Bardot summed up in English, during the daily ritual of the dive briefing, just a few minutes before the team took their place aboard the Zodiac. In relation to corals, gorgonians are these highly branched, fan-shaped organisms. But now is not the time for poetry. “The main goal is to stay safe.”the leader of this international science mission reminds his attentive and focused audience during the long statement of technical instructions.

Under the Pole diver Nicholas Mollon measures the diversity and coverage of living species using a quadrupole, equipment with a high-resolution camera that creates a representative picture of the sea floor.  In Guadeloupe, April 7, 2023.
In the shallow waters of the dive sites, marine animal forests consist of gorgonians, sponges, and corals, and are home to many species.  Under the Pole he considers these shallow areas as landmarks of his in-depth work.  In Guadeloupe, March 27, 2023.

Departure of the Concarneau in March 2022 on board the ship Why, a 19.50-meter-long aluminum sailboat, the Deep Life expedition set itself the goal of studying mesopelagic ecosystems, located between 30 and 200 meters below the ocean’s surface, at various points in the world, in order to assess impacts. Human activity and climate change in these still unknown environments. Thus, contributing to their protection. In this area, accessible only, for its lower part, to the most experienced professional divers and intrepid record-hunters, the pressure becomes difficult to bear, while a faint bluish glow still comes from the surface. The environment plunges into a somewhat dark twilight depending on the transparency of the water. A semi-darkness between the serenity of the surface and the perpetual darkness of the abyss.

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