After four years of underwater exploration from the Arctic to French Polynesia, Emmanuelle and Ghislain Bardout are now turning their attention to the new UNDER THE POLE IV – DEEPLIFE program. From 2021 to 2030, in partnership with scientific teams from around the world, DEEPLIFE will be dedicated to exploring the mesophotic zone of the oceans to a depth of 200 meters, for the purposes of scientific knowledge and preservation.
To achieve its goals, Under The Pole is launching the construction of a new oceanographic sailing yacht, specially designed for deep diving and scientific needs.
We’re in the process of choosing the shipyard,” confides Emmanuelle Périé-Bardout. The architectural study of the hull has been carried out by Guillaume Verdier and his team. It will be an aluminum deck and hull yacht between 33 m and 35 m long, with a long keel, rigged as a schooner with equal masts. It will be built entirely around underwater exploration. With a recompression chamber and onboard scientific laboratories”.
To better meet the needs of scientists, Under The Pole will be equipping itself with a new exploration vessel, the “WHY NOT”. As the operational backbone of future expeditions, this sailing vessel will incorporate in situ experimentation facilities with a marine biology laboratory, a high level of operational capacity for deep-sea diving, adapted workspaces and a maximum level of safety. A 35 m-long aluminum schooner designed to sail all oceans and all seasons, the Why Not will accommodate between 15 and 22 people on board (deep divers, scientists, sailors, engineers and technicians, photographers and filmmakers, doctors, cooks, artists, etc.).
Under The Pole aims to launch the “WHY II” in 2023. In the meantime, the team is planning three scientific missions in 2022-2023, to the Svalbard archipelago, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean.
From the Arctic to French Polynesia, already four years of scientific exploration of the Mesophotic zone
In May 2017, the schooner “WHY” left Concarneau for the third part of the Under The Pole expeditions. After an initial study of natural fluorescence in the Arctic, the UNDER THE POLE team led an extensive scientific program in French Polynesia in collaboration with researcher Laetitia Hédouin and in partnership with CRIOBE/CNRS.
The aim of this mission, entitled “DEEPHOPE”, was to inventory the diversity of mesophotic corals, understand their ecological characteristics and their capacity to adapt to global warming. The mesophotic zone represents a hope for surface reefs, which are largely impacted by global change.
Following on from this program, the team carried out the “CAPSULE” mission in Moorea, a truly autonomous underwater habitat dedicated to underwater observation and science, enabling divers to live and work under the sea for periods of several days.
Today, Under The Pole wishes to continue all the work carried out over the past four years through Deeplife. Inspired by the successful collaboration with CNRS – CRIOBE in Polynesia, this new expedition program will be based on solid, international scientific partnerships.