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30.05.2012 / Expedition Logbook

Stormy weather leads to a wise decision

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Every great exploration brings its load of obstacles and difficulties. After the adventurous visit of Oeno Island, the initial plan was to sail back to Mangareva to welcome Marc A. Hayek for a second series of dives which was supposed to last another week. Unfortunately however, the weather forecast obliged the National Geographic team to reconsider this last part of the expedition: "It's the worst weather and rain in the last 20 years. With the strong wind and swell there is no safe anchorage, and we would be limited in terms of diving as well. It has been raining for a week and there is a lot of runoff, and the waters around the island are murky." said Enric Sala in an e-mail exchange with Marc A. Hayek.

Worried about safety and aware that running the end of the mission in such conditions would lead to a general disappointment, the team decided to change plans and make the best of the situation, keeping in mind that most of the objectives were already achieved: "All in all, despite the bad weather, we are very happy with what we have been able to accomplish. We surveyed and filmed 95% of our objectives."

As reported on the National Geographic Explorer's journal: "Bigger swells were announced to come from the southwest, and a low pressure system was building north of our position, so things were only going to get worse. Sometimes the sea does not want us, and now it is one of those times. As the saying goes, a timely retreat is a victory."

Timing is essential during scientific expeditions; hence Blancpain had an important timekeeping role both underwater and aboard the Claymore II. Photo by Enric Sala

Enric Sala about to dive in a rough sea for the sake of science. Photo by Andrew Howley

Following this unexpected ending of the expedition, Mark A. Hayek took the decision to advance the second part of his voyage to the Pacific and head up to Rangiroa Atoll, 355 km Northeast of Tahiti. Recognized as one of the greatest diving locations on the planet, Rangiroa was the perfect choice to conduct Marc A. Hayek's special mission: testing the brand new Blancpain X Fathoms in real conditions for the first time ever.

On the next report, discover exclusive pictures and the unique testimonial of Blancpain CEO & President about the greatest mechanical diver's watch ever produced.

Keep following the expedition on Blancpain.com and National Geographic.com