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Thomas P. Peschak: Discovering the Ocean of Childhood Dreams

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Europa. Few divers ever explore the reefs around Europa, which lies in a stretch of the Mozambique Channel known for its massive eddies, productive nutrient upwellings, meandering currents—and spectacular surf.

Photographer Thomas Peschak documented the remote atolls of Bassas da India and Europa, which are among of the last vestiges of pristine seascape in the Indian Ocean, for the April issue of National Geographic magazine. Together with cameraman Dan Beecham and writer Sunnye Collins, he created a behind the scenes video highlighting the process of photographing in this rare ecosystem.

As a kid, I used to dream about the ocean. It was a wild place full of color and life. I pictured dense shivers of sharks ruling over the food chain and herds of turtles paddling through reefs and seagrass. As a marine biologist turned photographer, I have spent most of my career looking for the places I used to dream about when I was little.

I invite you all to travel back in time, to a place where my quest to experience my childhood dreams of a healthy and vibrant ocean became reality 30 years later. I hope you let the ocean’s wonders nourish your heart and soul. But above all, be inspired to engage and to do everything in your power to ensure that more seascapes recover and once again resemble the marine realm of Bassas da India and Europa.

Special thanks to Save our Seas Foundation for critical logistical support during the expedition and to Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises for granting access and for being such a concerned and effective environmental guardian of these two atolls.

Peschak’s photographs of the Bassas da India and Europa atolls are featured in the April issue of National Geographic. To see more of Thomas P. Peschak’s work visit his website.


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