Forget white, we’re seeing blue. Join us.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. —André Gide

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Photograph by

You may have heard the old adage about the “white spots on the map.” This month, forget the “white.” We here at National Geographic are seeing “blue.” Did you know that 98% of the ocean remains unexplored? There’s only one world ocean, but there’s more than one thing left to discover about it. National Geographic is doing our best to knock off one marine mystery at a time and this spring we’ve set our sights on the Desventuradas Islands off the coast of Chile in South America. My favorite part about this expedition? If you type “Desventuradas Islands” into Google Maps, the returned search result shows an entirely blue screen. Try it!

Map by Google Maps
Map by Google Maps

Talk about a real “blue spot.” (Hint: If you zoom in, you’ll be able to see the islands. Even so, we still know extremely little about this far away place.) National Geographic is heading out on another exciting ocean expedition and we’re personally inviting Y-O-U to join us!


National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala, with expedition partner Oceana Chile, leads an expedition team that includes research biologists, divers, filmmakers and engineers. But, the most important team member is you! Become a part of the expedition by following @Enric_Sala and @NatGeoExplorers on Twitter and by reading the official expedition blog.

Photograph by Rebecca Hale
Photograph by Rebecca Hale


A Pristine Seas expedition is “an exploration, research, and media project to find, survey, and help protect the last wild places in the ocean.” To date, these expeditions have traveled to Pitcairn Island, the Northern Line Islands, the Southern Line Islands, Cococs Island, Salas y Gomez and Gabon. Don’t take my word for how amazing these missions were and continue to be. Find out more, including each expedition’s blog archive, here.


The boat leaves February 8th (that’s tomorrow!) to begin its two-and-a-half-day journey to the Desventuradas Islands in the Valparaíso Region of Chile.


Destination: the Desventuradas Islands. While the Spanish translation of their name means the “unfortunate islands,” Enric and his team are hoping they are anything but. Located 853 kilometers (530 miles) off the coast of Chile, the Desventuradas Islands are one of the most mysterious and unknown places in the Eastern Pacific.


Why not! The goal of the expedition is to find out what’s hidden beneath the blue of the Islands. It’s possible that the Desventuradas are one of the last remaining pristine environments in South America. Science knows little about these islands; both San Ambrosio and San Félix are essentially uninhabited and have never been filmed underwater.

How you can participate!

Enric and his team will explore, survey and film this ocean environment from its shallow seas to its great depths. Don’t get left behind! Share in the expedition with these great opportunities and resources:

  • TODAY at 10:00AM PT / 12:00PM CT / 1:00PM ET / 3:00PM CLST / 1800 GMT, National Geographic will host a half-hour Google Hangout with Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala from the field. Post your questions about our pristine seas here—#GSF2013—before and during the Hangout, and tune in to the GSF Google+ page to watch it LIVE. This promises to be a great start to the expedition so make sure not to miss it. Enric did a similar live chat during the Pitcairn expedition, and it was incredibly inspiring!
  • Check out our Pristine Seas collection, containing everything you need to engage you or your students about the pristine seas expeditions.
  • Explore for yourself using our mapping resources. Investigate ocean conditions using the MapMaker Interactive, or customize our MapMaker 1-Page Maps to follow along with the expedition as you receive tweets and read the official blog.
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Photograph by

Journey with us and you’ll soon be able to fill in this “blue spot” for yourself.

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