2023 marks the 10th anniversary of Gombessa Expeditions
Laurent Ballesta’s Gombessa project focuses on studying some of the rarest, most elusive marine creatures and phenomena on Earth. Ballesta and his team use electronically controlled closed-circuit mixed gas rebreathers to reach extreme depths and bring back unique scientific data, photographs, and videos. Their activities are consistently marked by triple challenges of a technical, scientific and artistic nature. To date, there have been six major Gombessa expeditions and several other missions, all underwritten by Blancpain.
What makes the ideal expedition? For ocean explorer, Laurent Ballesta, it is the intersection of technical challenge, compelling science, and the opportunity for inspirational imagery. For the past decade, his Gombessa Expeditions have combined all three of these—diving deep to photograph a “living fossil” fish, capturing the otherworldly visions under Antarctic ice, observing a nocturnal shark feeding frenzy, and living under pressure for a month to unlock the secrets of the deep Mediterranean.
Ballesta returns from these expeditions with new knowledge, new questions, and remarkable images of places and things most of us will never see. His work takes skill, vision, and imagination. It requires new technologies, new methods of diving, and a trusting, collaborative team. None of this comes easy. But Laurent Ballesta doesn’t want “easy.” It’s what makes him one of the most ambitious and talented ocean explorers working today. The Gombessa Expeditions are an evolving legacy of ambitious, sometimes audacious, projects, a flair for the visual, and a respect for the history of undersea exploration.