When it comes to uncovering the secrets of the ocean, Ray Dalio doesn’t mince words. “I believe that ocean exploration is more exciting and important than space exploration,” he says. Dalio is the founder of OceanX, a new mission focused on marine exploration and biological discovery in the most inaccessible parts of the world’s seas. With his son Mark, plus a host of high-profile filmmakers, scientists, foundations, and museums, Dalio has even grander goals for OceanX. The initiative will help researchers achieve significant scientific and medical breakthroughs. What’s more, OceanX will share the discoveries with the wider world, through virtual classrooms, exhibits, interactive gaming, and other compelling media.
Ray and Mark Dalio are no newcomers to ocean exploration. Their foundation, Dalio Philanthropies, has long supported ocean exploration and awareness. For about a decade, that support has come via a specially refitted yacht, Alucia. The 184-footer was an intrepid traveler, pursuing discoveries around the world. Thanks to her, for example, scientists captured the first-ever video of a giant squid known as Architeuthis seven years ago, in Japan—nearly 3,000 feet deep. With Mark Dalio’s media-production company Alucia Productions, Alucia also deployed submersibles about 3,300 feet beneath the Antarctic ice, in late 2016 through early 2017. Alucia Productions captured footage no one had ever seen. As a result, researchers learned extraordinarily diverse life exists down there.
In fact, if you saw the BBC television hit Blue Planet II, you’ve seen Alucia. She was in four episodes of the series, which aired in the United States earlier this year. Some of the just-mentioned Antarctic missions were part of the program.
Alucia Productions is now OceanX Media, and will assist OceanX and its supporters in capturing additional missions. “Our team of scientists, researchers, and filmmakers, including from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the BBC team that brought you Blue Planet II, will explore the oceans and create exciting content and stories to inspire a human connection to the sea,” Mark Dalio explains. “We plan to bring you the excitement of ocean discovery the way The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau did.”
The team will do so aboard an even bigger vessel than Alucia. Currently undergoing a refit in Spain, Alucia2 should be ready early next year. Measuring 276 feet, she’s gaining dry and wet marine-research labs, plus helicopters, drones, and manned and autonomous deep-sea subs. In addition, in consultation with film director and ocean advocate James Cameron, Alucia2 will have a high-end media-production center. Cameron is particularly excited about the possibilities. “With OceanX and Alucia2, we will reignite global passion for and curiosity about the ocean in our global, digitally connected age,” he says.
He has additional good reasons to be excited. OceanX’s supporters list reads like a who’s who of global influence. It includes the American Museum of Natural History, the Natural History Museum in London, the National Geographic Society, and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. It also includes the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, as well as Bloomberg Philanthropies. And, besides the above-mentioned BBC, a significant media supporter is Univision.
Even as it awaits Alucia2’s completion, OceanX is making things happen. With BBC Earth, it’s co-producer of the digital-video program Oceans: Our Blue Planet. It’s additionally the lead funder of the Unseen Oceans exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. Running through January 2019, the exhibit includes models of biofluorescent marine species. It also includes a model of a submersible like the ones for Alucia and Alucia2. And, of course, the exhibit features deep-sea footage—and therefore imparts knowledge—that wouldn’t exist otherwise.
OceanX’s mission is big, and bold. Neither the Dalios nor its supporters would have it any other way. As Sylvia Earle, the renowned oceanographer and an OceanX supporter, asserts, “Far and away, the biggest threat to the ocean is ignorance.”
To continue your adventure, be sure to read our feature, Exploring the Explorer Yachts Trend.