Richard Branson –
We were journeying to the bottom of the world’s largest sinkhole, an unexplored legend of the deep filled with Mayan mysteries and myths of monsters and wonder. What would we discover?
It was a real honour to be invited along on the first ever submersible dive to the very bottom of the Blue Hole on the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest barrier reef network in the world. I’d seen the iconic photos of the famous Blue Hole but hadn’t realised just how stunningly beautiful it was. We were in Belize to support the work of Ocean Unite to promote ocean awareness and the importance of strongly protecting at least 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030.
The ocean is so critical to all of us and we want to do all we can to protect it. Upon arriving in Belize we met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and had a really good discussion. We spoke about protecting 10 per cent of Belize waters – a wonderful first step towards 30 per cent. We also urged Belize to ban gill nets, which are known as the Wall of Death and do so much damage to marine ecosystems.
The Prime Minister spoke of how important the ocean is to Belize’s people, its economy and its future. Excitingly, he said he was supportive of both measures. We’re hopeful of a very positive announcement before the New Year – it could be a wonderful Christmas present to the world. We also had the honour of meeting his delightful wife, who assured us she is the biggest advocate for ocean conservation and would continue encouraging her husband!
Then we travelled out to the Blue Hole and were met with breathtakingly pristine views – I couldn’t wait to get into the water. It was a pleasure to dive with Fabien Cousteau, whose grandfather Jacques Cousteau pioneered ocean conservation and exploration. We were very fortunate to have the brilliant Erika Bergman leading us. She was very calm, very experienced and had enormous enthusiasm for the ocean – I think she could live underwater!
Read full blog