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The Mediterranean... Knowing that man has been traveling these waters for thousands of years, it's easy to imagine that the sea no longer holds any secrets. Knowing that it has been conquered and mistreated, easy to imagine that it's also been devastated. And yet, the
Mediterranean remains a thriving body of water still waiting to be fully explored. Over its depths lie extensive and abundant territories that mankind has barely gotten to know: the coral reefs. These biodiversity 'hotspots' whose beauty rivals that of the reefs lie in the "twilight zone" between 60 and 120m (196 and 393 ft) below the surface, where less than 1% of light actually penetrates. Study, illustrate and expose the unfamiliar part of the teeming undersea life of the Mediterranean: such is the challenge undertaken by Laurent Ballesta, famous photographer, biologist and leader of expeditions.
Mediterranean Planet forms a sequel to Laurent Ballesta's latest works: Secrets d'Oceans (Oceans' Secrets), Adelie Terre& Mer (Adelie Earth & Sea) and 700 requins dans la nuit (700 Sharks in the Dead of Night). It represents the accomplishment of his personal endeavors during the eponymous July 2019 expedition, while also providing closure to the more comprehensive effort underway in the Mediterranean. This publication is thus a compilation of the biologist-photographer's most spectacular shots from 2010 through the present day. Accompanied by minimal textual content, the photographs of rare creatures never before illustrated exhibiting unusual behavior tell the story with each page turned of natural history and lived history. From the extraordinary biodiversity of the coral reefs to the seascapes far beneath the surface, Laurent Ballesta has embarked on an excursion into these otherworldly ecosystems that actually exist on Earth and make up the Mediterranean Planet.
This book also conforms with the longstanding tradition of works that pay tribute to the marine world by offering unique insights into an ecosystem that has not yet unveiled all its secrets. After several deep-sea diving expeditions spanning the globe under the "Gombessa" flag, the Gombessa V "Mediterranean Planet" campaign is Laurent's last at the helm. A World First, this expedition meant Laurent Ballesta and three other divers would cohabitate for 28 days inside a 5-m2 pressurized module designed for both saturation diving and deep sport diving, from Marseille to Bandol, Carqueiranne to Saint-Tropez, Sainte-Maxime to Antibes, and finally from Antibes to Monaco.