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What was your unforgettable dive?

Brooke Morton asked several well-known divers to talk about her best dive.

Oddly enough, the deepest dive – or the most adrenaline – rarely makes an indelible impression and is remembered for a lifetime. Hardly. The moments that change something in us, change our ideas about what is possible in the world around us, will remain in our memory for a long time.

We talked about this with National Geographic photographer David Dubile, oceanographer Sylvia Earle, Philippe Cousteau Jr. and his wife Ashlan.

David Dubile
Scorsby Bay, Greenland

What was your unforgettable dive?

Biography: Underwater photographer David Dubile is the most published author of National Geographic magazine (75 publications to date). In addition, David has published 12 books on the beauty and diversity of the underwater world. Member of the Royal Geographical Society.

I dived with sharks in French Polynesia, with crocodiles in Cuba, with sea lions in Australia. I plunged onto the battleship Arizona in Pearl Harbor. But what I love the most – that changes every second, surprising with something new – these are icebergs. This is an absolute and accurate metaphor for the ocean. You see only a small part on the surface, the rest is hidden below the surface of the water – invisible and plastic. Mysterious, beautiful, ready at any moment to suddenly appear in front of you.

Diving among icebergs from the outside seems to be a simple task, but it is extremely dangerous. You must carefully choose the right place. Never approach an iceberg with holes – it will roll over. I was in the zodiac, which was supposed to drop us off near the iceberg. Before we managed to get close enough, the iceberg capsized – its lower part was on the surface, and the upper one went under water. If we were in the water at this moment, we would perish.

What was your unforgettable dive?

I was lucky to work with National Geographic magazine and the Lindblad Expedition ships – we visited places where it is impossible to get otherwise. Each of the ships is a magical flying carpet, which is ready to deliver its passengers to the most distant, lost corners of the world – such as the west coast of Greenland and Scorsby Bay. This bay reaches 200 km in length, it is bent by a snake, crashing deep into the island. If you are lucky, then it can be free of ice for several weeks in September – and then you can go into it. There we found a great place to dive. Ice on the edges of Greenland melts and slides into the sea, where it polishes it in waves. You dive into the water, like in a daiquiri with ice – but colder. You know how your teeth ache from a sip of cold water – only here you are completely in this water. You have an hour, maybe an hour and a half, before your hands go numb so that you can’t take pictures.

So you float around looking for the best shot. You can take great photos, but it’s incredibly difficult. Each frame is unique.

Some divers come to the Arctic for marine animals. But we are here for the sake of ice. He’s great. Perhaps this is the most magnificent sight on the planet.

Sylvia Earle
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Reserve

What was your unforgettable dive?

Biography: Oceanographer Sylvia Earle is the first woman to become a senior fellow at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Member of the Royal Geographical Society, participant and organizer of more than one hundred expeditions around the world, in total spent more than 7 thousand hours under water. Heads Mission Blue, the global ocean protection coalition.

The clock was exactly 21:15 when, before our eyes, the reef literally exploded in a new life. It was August, I don’t remember the year exactly – somewhere in the 1990s. We were at a depth of about 20 meters on the reefs of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Reserve, one of the 14 US underwater reserves.

Reproduction of corals is not only the corals themselves, releasing hundreds, if not thousands of larvae into the water. Many other organisms are involved in this process. The Ophiuras raise their “arms” to catch the larvae. Fish, like street thieves, are in a hurry to grab their piece of prey. You seem to find yourself in the middle of a snowstorm, where each snowflake is a future coral. The next morning I saw groups of larvae floating on the surface of the water somewhere where they would populate new territories with corals.

What was your unforgettable dive?

An interesting feature is that all corals breed at the same time. It seems that at some point someone says: “It’s time!” – and everything starts to move. Some conditions must coincide – the phase of the moon, the temperature of the water, the surrounding conditions in the water – so that the process starts. I first became acquainted with this phenomenon in 1992 when I watched the film Coral Sea Dreaming directed by David Hannan. If anyone saw the reproduction of corals before him, they did not report this.

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