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Four divers isolate themselves for a month to discover the secrets of Mediterranean depths

17 July 2019 - 15h15

“Gombessa V – Mediterranean Planet” is the new expedition of Laurent Ballesta, famous French naturalist photographer. Accompanied by Yanick Gentil, Antonin Guilbert and Thibault Raudy, the forty-years-old-man will explore the seabed between Monaco and Nice for 28 days, including 24 days underwater and four days in the bathyal station.

The adventure has already begun. Since July 1st, these four divers have had an extraordinary experience: living together in a 5m2 pressurized module for 28 days in order to explore the depths of the coast without limits. This achievement, is possible for the first time thanks to the marriage of saturation diving (confinement in a pressurized station) and deep diving (using scuba set) and  was put to the benefit of science. Thus, a turret descends each day to great depths, allowing them to visit without limit spaces still untouched by observations.

Discoveries after the first two weeks

There are more than 800 species of fish in the Mediterranean – almost the same number as in French Polynesia … there are many species, but for the most part we do not have the genome, the DNA. Today, that’s what scientists are looking for. So we have to capture them for a few minutes to cut a little bit of fin in order to recover their genome. As a result, a database of all the flora and fauna of the Mediterranean will be established “, recalls Laurent Ballesta.

Last Sunday, the four adventurers performed an unprecedented feat: to dive up to 142 meters deep for six hours of exploration at the Tombant des Américains, near Villefranche-sur-Mer. On Saturday, they inspected the wastewater outlet of the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis, whose images will make it possible to draw up an inventory of the present species and also to know the impact of these urban discharges. And a few days ago, a succession of unknown rocks and reefs was studied in Monaco.

Daniela Guerra

©Laurent Ballesta – Andromède Océanologie

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