Historic Meeting Unites Cuba and the U.S., Taking Collaboration on Ocean Research & Conservation to a New Level


Cubans and Americans display the flags of both nations following a historic 2-day meeting in Cancún, México on collaboration in marine science & conservation

CANCÚN, México — In a historic meeting co-organized and led by the Washington, DC-based Center for International Policy and the Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, a group of 15 Cubans and 15 Americans met in Cancún, Mexico to develop a plan for taking joint marine research and conservation activities between the U.S. and Cuba to a new level. Collaboration between U.S. and Cuban scientists has been exceedingly difficult because of the decades-old U.S. embargo, even though research is a permitted activity and U.S. scientists are allowed to travel to Cuba. Complicated logistics and ever-changing politics have prevented all but a few U.S. institutions from successful collaborative projects in Cuba. [Read more...]

Filmmakers Honored for Film, Arctic Tale

Breathtaking Imagery, Touching Story Brings Awareness of Global Warming’s Arctic Impacts to Millions

Sarah Robertson and Adam Ravetch are presented with the Lowell Thomas Award at The Explorers Club in New York (Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

NEW YORK, New York — Our good friends and colleagues Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson of Arctic Bear Productions and the Arctic Exploration Fund made their Hollywood directorial debut this year with the hit, feature length, theatrical film ARCTIC TALE. They were recently honored for this important achievement, and the important conservation message the film conveys, with the presentation of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award at the Explorers Club in New York. The award is named in honor of famed adventurer and broadcast journalist Lowell Thomas and is awarded to those who have pushed the limits of discovery, knowledge and human endurance and have excelled in communicating the importance of exploration and the field sciences to the general public. [Read more...]

Expedition to the Bering Sea Concludes Successfully with New Insights, New Questions

A bald eagle sits atop Unalaska's Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ascension with Esperanza at anchor in background. (Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

A bald eagle sits atop Unalaska’s Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ascension with Esperanza at anchor in background.
(Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

With a Terabyte (1,000 Gigabytes) of high-definition video, photographs and other data, along with numerous biological samples, now making their way around the world to scientists, policymakers and public forums, new insights and perspectives are emerging as the hard work of reviewing this vast volume of new data moves forward. The science team and sub pilots have departed Esperanza, which is continuing west along the Aleutian Island chain, continuing important outreach to local communities. The ship will eventually continue west to Japan.

Before departing Dutch Harbor, the science team/sub pilots made the first public presentation of its findings, including imagery and videos, to the community of Unalaska. The following day, members of the community were invited aboard Esperanza during an Open House to meet with the crew and see the ship up close.

Greenpeace Ocean Specialist, John Hocevar (left) and Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner, George Pletnikov (right) lead community outreach event in Unalaska, Alaska. (Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

Greenpeace Ocean Specialist, John Hocevar (left) and Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner, George Pletnikov (right) lead community outreach event in Unalaska, Alaska. (Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

Though the at-sea portion of the expedition has concluded, much work lies ahead in the analysis and review of the information collected. In addition, planning is underway for events to bring the new imagery and insights to the public, so stay tuned. Also, the team continues to review chart data regarding the pinnacles reported to be in the Zhemchug Canyon area which purportedly rise within 20 feet of the surface. Such features would certainly be biologically important, so the search will continue.

Pribilof and Zhemchug Canyons revealed diverse and complex ecosystems, rich with corals, sponges, fish and other marine life. They also revealed striking human impacts from trawlers, damage that was documented during the expedition. For a reflection on the conclusion of the expedition, read David Guggenheim’s latest OceanDoctor blog post entitled, “A Sea Turtle is Born in Alaska.”

The Esperanza carried two manned submersibles, a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) and an international research team to the Bering Sea for a three week survey of Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons,to map and document deepwater corals living at depths of more than 1,000 feet. The expedition was conceived of and was led by Greenpeace. [Read more...]

Esperanza Sets Sail from Dutch Harbor: Bering Sea Expedition Under Way

DeepWorker submarines aboard Esperanza as the ship heads north into the Bering Sea, leaving the Aleutians behind. (Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

DeepWorker submarines aboard Esperanza as the ship heads north into the Bering Sea, leaving the Aleutians behind. (Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

The Expedition to the Bering Sea officially got under way as the M/V Esperanza departed Dutch Harbor, Alaska on Friday, July 27 at 4pm Alaska Daylight Time. The Esperanza will steam through the night — for roughly 15 hours — to its first destination, Pribolof Canyon near the Pribolof Islands in the Bering Sea. The first DeepWorker dives are scheduled for Saturday morning.

In June, an international team of researchers and conservation specialists recently completed a week of intensive training and preparations for this Greenpeace-led expedition to Alaska’s Bering sea. The Esperanza is carrying two manned submersibles, a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) and the research team to the Bering Sea for a three week survey of Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons, specifically to map and document deepwater corals living at depths of more than 1,000 feet. [Read more...]