"What a privilege it is to be able to feel what it is like to be in an unexplored and intact corner of the sea—and what’s more—in my own country! Who knew that this wonder existed?"—Alex Muñoz Wilson, vice president, South America, Oceana

Photograph by Enric Sala

Picture of fish in Desventuradas
Share Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Twitter Share to Twitter More...

The Desventuradas Islands (the 'unfortunate islands' in Spanish), located 530 miles off the coast of Chile, are one of the most mysterious and unknown places in the Eastern Pacific. San Ambrosio (uninhabited) and San Félix (with only a small garrison of the Chilean Navy) had likely never been filmed underwater, and there was very little scientific information about the underwater world of these islands. The Pristine Seas project identified the area surrounding the Desventuradas Islands as one of a handful of potentially pristine environments left in South America.

In February-March 2013, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala led an expedition to these remote islands in collaboration with partner Oceana Chile to explore, survey, and film this unknown world, from the surface to thousands of meters below.




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


Help your students learn about ocean life, human interactions with the ocean, and the ocean’s physical geography.


our partners