"We’re up at 3:30 in the morning, sitting out in the rain, staying up late working on equipment. But it all becomes worth it when you see that amazing video—seeing things that no one has ever seen before."—Kyler Abernathy, National Geographic remote imaging specialist
Photograph by Enric Sala
In September 2009, National Geographic Fellow Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle, and a team of leading marine scientists from Central America and across the globe gathered together in Costa Rica. Destination: Cocos Island—Isla del Coco, ringed by some of the most shark-rich waters anywhere—and the submerged and all-but-unexplored summits of the Gemelas (“Twin Sisters”) Seamounts.
While Cocos has helped define the world’s image of an untouched island paradise for centuries, the Gemelas Seamounts have lurked, mostly unseen and unknown, beneath hundreds of feet of seawater. But marine creatures know them as fertile and important waypoints on their wanderings. These rich feeding grounds may be critical to the survival of many of the migratory predators that pass through them.
The team worked with local marine scientists and conservation organizations to document these aquatic ecosystems. The data, they hope, will help to establish new scientific baselines for intact—and critically important—environments.
A World Apart
An underwater paradise in the remote Pacific Ocean will be protected—thanks in part to National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project.learn more
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