Special Smithsonian Expedition to Panama

© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group

© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
Unidentified fish
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
Deceased turtle's shell covered in brittle stars
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
We are finally back to land after more than two months on the water with the DeepSee sub.

After we finished our previous expedition on the Caribbean side of Colombia, we took a quick breath and embarked almost immediately on another expedition with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute to explore two seamounts on the Pacific side of Panama.

Exploring new places for conservation gives us such a great feeling, especially landing places that no one has ever been before.

When we visit these new places you never know what to expect – we have no idea how the bottom will be or what kinds of creatures we’ll encounter.

The first seamount we explored was situated at the oceanic border between Panama and Colombia – the peak was at about 130m (425ft).

While it was all full of life, they were relatively very small creatures (think brittle stars, threadfin bass, sea urchins, etc). We suspect that the reason for this is overfishing. Along with all of the small life on the bottom, we also found a huge amount of discarded fishing line.

Some of the more interesting photos we took were of this deceased turtle’s shell covered in brittle stars, as well as this unidentified fish species.

After a few diving days exploring this first site, we continued on to another seamount – the peak of which was at 280m (920ft). Its rocky bottom was scattered with hundreds of conger eels and mini lobsters.

And then they graced us with their presence… the prickly sharks! We encountered about 10 individuals! What an elegant and ancient-looking fish. Some of them we calculated were 4-5m (13-17ft) long!

We all love the ocean, so let’s protect it, explore it more, and enjoy it (both in and out of the water).

Until next time,

Your pilots.

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