-21.25, 165.3
November 2013

Pristine Seas Expeditions - New Caledonia

In the waters off the remote coral islands and atolls of New Caledonia in the South Pacific’s Coral Sea, the fish have likely never seen a diver, and it’s the sharks—blacktips, whitetips, silvertips, gray reefs, nurse sharks, and others—that preside over the pristine reefs, their familiar shapes moving above a seafloor covered in hard and soft corals. Joining them is an incredible abundance of life. In the Huon Islands, sea snakes, giant clams, sea lilies, and minute anemone shrimp all claim space. Just north of the mainland, at Astrolabe Reef, large groupers and Napoleon wrasses ply the waters, and the vulnerable bumphead parrotfish can swim in schools of as many as 75 individuals. In the west, the Chesterfield Islands serve as the most important rookery in the South Pacific for green sea turtles, which swim, mate, and lay their eggs here. New Caledonia is also home to the world’s third largest population of dugongs, and its lagoons have been designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Prior to the November 2013 Pristine Seas expedition, the remote coral islands and the atolls of New Caledonia in the South Pacific's Coral Sea had barely been explored. Over the course of the three-week expedition, the team used cutting-edge technology such as closed-circuit rebreathers and a remotely operated vehicle to explore the islands’ marine environment.

In 2014, the government of New Caledonia announced its intention to create an EEZ-wide marine park with zones for different activities, including no-take marine reserves. 

Read more

The movie