"Our dives in the Chesterfield Reefs near New Caledonia have been full of surprises. Sometimes it is hard to tell who is more surprised, us or the fish."— Enric Sala, explorer-in-residence and Pristine Seas director

Photograph by Enric Sala

Picture of anemone in New Caledonia
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Last year the governments of New Caledonia and Australia announced their commitment to create a large marine park in the Coral Sea extending across the maritime boundary between these two countries. However, a large portion of the Coral Sea in New Caledonia, in particular the remote Chesterfield Banks on the western region, had barely been explored. National Geographic partnered with the Waitt Institute and the Institut de Recherche Pour le Développement (IRD) of New Caledonia to explore, survey, and film these remote reefs through a Pristine Seas expedition. The expedition took place from November 1-21, 2013, and the team traveled to the Chesterfield and the Entrecasteaux Reefs on the North, as well as to Petri and Astrolabe in the East. The main objectives of this Pristine Seas expedition were to fill gaps in scientific data on this area, and to produce a documentary film.

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An underwater paradise in the remote Pacific Ocean will be protected—thanks in part to National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project.

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