Ocean aficionados and governments from all over the world have gathered in Bali for the start of the 5th Our Ocean conference. It’s called ‘Our Ocean, Our Legacy’ to remind us all of the critically important need for all of us to act to regenerate ocean life and build its resilience to change. This annual gathering was started by my friend Secretary John Kerry, and has already generated commitments to ocean health totaling around USD 18 billion with pledges to protect 12.4 million square kilometers in marine protected areas. Here’s wishing the Indonesian government great success as they take the helm this week and steer us towards innovative solutions for tackling today’s most pressing ocean challenges like climate change, overfishing and marine plastic debris.
While I have looked up to the stars my whole life dreaming of exploring space, I have also always wanted to learn more about the largely unexplored space all around us – the ocean and make sure that we are all doing our bit to protect it. So while I unfortunately cannot be in Bali this week, I’m very excited to be joining an historic expedition to the bottom of the iconic Blue Hole in Belize later this year.
As an Ocean Elder and founder of Ocean Unite, ocean advocacy is a huge passion of mine. For this trip, Ocean Unite are teaming up with Aquatica Submarines on a journey to the ocean floor. It will be all about raising awareness of the need to protect the ocean, as well as undertaking some fascinating technological experiments. Of course, I’m bringing my kiteboard too – just in case!
You will be able to follow every step of the way as we livestream our submarine dive to the bottom of the Blue Hole in Aquatica’s Stingray 500, joined by Fabien Cousteau, Harvey Flemming of Aquatica Submarines and many ocean experts. I’m looking forward to talking to Fabien about ocean conservation in the most unique setting imaginable.
The Blue Hole is one of the ocean’s most magical wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At 420 feet deep, it is the largest sea sinkhole in the world. The team will carry out a high resolution 3D sonar scan of the Blue Hole for the first time, which could be crucial in showing a living record of sea level variations and climate change over the past 100,000 years.
While the ocean covers more than 70 per cent of the Earth, more than 80 per cent of it is unmapped, unobserved and unexplored – so there is plenty to learn. We need to do all we can to protect the ocean, and progress is being made. Ocean Unite’s call to action to safeguard 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030 is gaining traction, notably in the UK recently, but so much more needs to be done.
The Blue Hole name was famously coined by Jacques Cousteau, Fabien’s grandfather, who used his thirst for adventure as a platform to educate people about ocean conversation and scientific progress. It will be an honour following in his flippers at the Blue Hole. Now, I wonder what we’ll discover…