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Blancpain and Laurent Ballesta charting the history of the coelacanth in South Africa


03/12/2018

Blancpain recently hosted an event with the presence of biologist and underwater photographer, Laurent Ballesta, whose Gombessa expeditions have actively been supported by the Brand for the sixth consecutive year. On this occasion, in association with its partner Elegance, the Manufacture invited a selection of guests to a lavish reception venue in the heart of Johannesburg. 

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The evening started with a conference held by Laurent Ballesta charting the history of his scientific project, initiated in 2013 with the aim of researching the habitat of the coelacanth in the South African deep waters. In front of a captivated audience, Laurent Ballesta presented the extraordinary photographs and scientific results of his research, along with additional data that was unveiled for the first time. 

Known as Gombessa in the local dialect, the coelacanth is an extremely rare and prehistoric fish living at a depth of over 100 meters and thought to have become extinct 70 million years ago. Thanks to a thorough two-year long preparation, Laurent Ballesta and his team were able to rediscover this legendary creature and carry out a series of observations in direct contact with some living specimens. This first expedition gave the decisive impetus to the entire Gombessa project, which is today composed of four missions dedicated to the study of the world’s rarest and most untouched marine ecosystems.

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