Vancouver company Aquatica Submarines to explore Belize’s Blue Hole with multi-billionaire Richard Branson

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      We know more about space than our own oceans. Scientists have mapped the entirety of Mars and the Moon in intricate detail, but only five percent of the Earth’s seas have been charted. Almost any water deeper than five kilometers remains a mystery to researchers, with our enormous oceans holding secrets that humanity has barely begun to explore.

      Vancouver company Aquatica Submarines is focused on changing that. Designing innovative submersibles that are piloted by humans, the organization builds safe, robust, and versatile machines that are used for scientific, commercial, and recreational pursuits. The company’s inventions have been used to allow tourists to roam the seas without diving equipment, and for researchers to examine underwater phenomena firsthand.

      Now, its Stingray 500 submarine is about to embark on its first expedition—a high profile exploration of the famed Belize Blue Hole.

      Situated in the centre of the Lighthouse Reef, 65 kilometers off the coast of Belize, the Blue Hole is a giant marine sinkhole that measures 318 meters across, and 124 meters deep. Widely regarded as one of the greatest scuba diving sites in the world, its depths contain a myriad of marine life including specular coral formations and fanciful fish.

      Aquatica Submarines has teamed up with multi-billionaire Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and conservation organization Ocean Unite, to talk about the expedition in real-time. In conversation with Aquatica’s chief pilot and oceanographer Erika Bergman, and joined by celebrity explorer Fabien Cousteau, Branson will discuss plumbing the depths of the seas and how to conserve marine life. The event will be live broadcast and televised globally on the Discovery Channel from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. PT on Sunday (December 2).

       “Having a media partner like Discovery for the expedition will give us the chance to share our amazing experiences to a much wider audience,” said Harvey Flemming, president and CEO of Aquatica Submarines. “The live broadcast with Sir Richard Branson and Fabien Cousteau will add a great deal of impact as both of these ocean advocates will be able to give some tremendous insights as to how we can and will help preserve our world’s precious oceans.”

      The expedition will also enable the Aquatica Submarines team to conduct a high-resolution Sonar scan of the Blue Hole, and collect scientific data.

      Follow Kate Wilson on Twitter @KateWilsonSays