On his last mission update, National Geographic Explorer Enric Sala reported very tough conditions. As the pictures show, heavy rain kept falling for the last four days giving a hard time to the crew: "It seemed that the island was going to wash out into the Pacific Ocean" Enric said.
Combined with a strong swell, these conditions forced the explorers to dive deeper and further to the shore than planned. But despite these changes of plan the team was about to make its first discovery. Just after putting his head in the water, Manu San Felix - underwater cinematographer - came back with a big smile: "I think there is a coral reef down there”.
Right away, the whole crew jumped in and discovered a reef with live coral covering almost all the seafloor, 35 meters below the surface. This is much deeper than normal: "In other places we would have expected to find a thriving coral reef like this one at 15 meters depth, but the water is so clear here that coral growth extends far below “normal” depths".
Very quickly, the explorers realised that there was way more to see than these corals: reef fishes and large black jacks were very abundant. There is a strong chance that Enric Sala and his team were the first people these fishes have seen, considering that not many people have ever dived there.
When their bottom time ended, the crew ascended slowly to the surface: "I felt as though we had visited the moon for the first time and we were leaving, returning to our home planet" said Enric.