They cleared the mysterious depths of the Arctic. Evolved in depths never reached under ice, unveiled to the world this unknown side of the Earth, a breathtaking beauty. Where no one has ventured before them, at 120 meters deep. They are the adventurers of the expedition Under The Pole (UTP). They ply the oceans and probe their insides to better understand their role in climate balance and the changes they undergo. Their third expedition left the polar abyss for the seabed of Polynesia.
This is the main mission of UTP in Polynesia: studying the corals of the twilight zone, located between 30 and 150 meters deep, still unknown. One of the objectives is to understand if these residents of the abyss can serve as a refuge, or nursery, to their counterparts established near the surface and who are highly threatened. And why not attempt, in the long term, to "reseed" coral in order to revive the affected reefs.
In some areas of Polynesia more than 90% of shark populations have disappeared. UTP focuses on the hammerhead shark and bulldog shark to better understand their migration and threats. Divers will collect information (DNA) and mark sharks to track their migration and better understand their behavior. Super-predators to study but also to protect because they play a role in the balance of marine ecosystems. As with corals, the goal is better understanding. But also better protection of these species, through the creation, eventually, of marine protected areas, raising awareness and organizing eco-responsible tourism.
For five months, the team will dive almost daily through the five archipelagos of Polynesia. They sink to three depths of "work", 60, 90 and 120 meters. For dives that often last between two and a half to three hours (decompression stops, you must eliminate the nitrogen bubbles accumulated in the body before going back to the surface).
Among the many objectives of Ghislain and Emmanuelle, we must also mention the training and awareness of children and youth. Under The Pole has created a pedagogical platform and tools available to teachers around climate change. The expedition then becomes a support of course, a vector to address the environmental issues related to the ocean and the use of resources through the daily life of the team, its work, its discoveries. A popular gateway, in the form of an adventure that is dreaming and sobering. We also present the different trades present on board, the courses and training of each, to encourage vocations.
They live 24h / 24 - a little less when they can go ashore - at twelve or fourteen right now, on a boat 20 meters long. We sleep there, eat, work, study corals under the microscope, go to school for the little ones, take a shower, cook. For mechanics to roll, a certain organization is more than indispensable. We sleep two in a cabin, sometimes in the same narrow bed, except in the "family" cabin of Ghislain and Emmanuelle who sleep with their two children, and there are two bathrooms. Installed on the telescope, it pays for its time: on the wall, a basic lexicon to learn Tahitian.
To finance UTP II, Ghislain Bardout and his wife, Emmanuelle, had to sell their house in Brittany, following the defection of one of their partner. For their third expedition, they can now count on a solid panel of sponsors. Heavyweights including Rolex, present since UTP I, a luxury company and the Geneva bank Bordier.