Aquarius is an underwater ocean laboratory located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The laboratory is deployed three and half miles offshore, at a depth of 60 feet, next to spectacular coral reefs. Scientists live in Aquarius during ten–day missions using saturation diving to study and explore our coastal ocean. Aquarius is owned by NOAA and is operated by the University of North Carolina Wilmington (NOAA, 2012)
As Mission Aquarius, a celebration of 50 years under the sea, winds to a close, the Mission Blue team in Florida is filled with hope for the future of Aquarius. Dr. Sylvia Earle, her team of Aquanauts and everyone working to support and highlight the mission pulled together into a cohesive team that has made a clear statement to the world – Aquarius must be saved.
With One World One Ocean in the lead, a winning group of talented ocean media professionals converged on Key Largo, Florida to call attention to the imminent loss of funding for the world’s last remaining undersea laboratory. Utilizing IMAX film, live webcasts from both inside the habitat and from the seabed, social media and mainstream news networks, teams worked 24/7 to highlight both the past achievements of Aquarius, and it’s possibilities for the future. We hope that the public, and our leaders in Washington will hear the message to save Aquarius loud and clear. The live U Stream feed typically had 200-400 viewers at any given time.
Fabien Cousteau visited Aquarius for his first time. The grandson of Jacques and son of Jean-Michel Cousteau, Fabien has known Sylvia Earle since he was 3 years old. His cozy one-on-one chat with Sylvia was touchingly personal, yet far reaching as they discussed both the degradation of the world ocean and the possibilities for improving it’s health in the future.
His intimate visit inside Aquarius with Sylvia was filled with nostalgia. “I follow in your fin steps and my grandfather’s,” he said, “in being more comfortable in the sea than on land.” How to bring that type of ocean consciousness to the general public is a dilemma. How can those who have never gone beneath the waves, truly care for something they’ve never seen? We hope that through the efforts of this talented group of filmmakers, journalists, and photographers, enough attention will be focused on the ocean to begin to bridge that gap.