Cocos Island


Americas . Conservation . Journal . Photo . Video

I now know why they call Sylvia Earle, “Her Deepness,” and it’s not because she has logged over 10,000 hours underwater. Her every word, chosen with knowledge and wit, is so deeply profound that she is bound to make anyone want to save the world. She knows no fear in the face of adversity, or a shark for that matter, and fights fiercely for what she is most passionate about. Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to witness all this firsthand on a shark research expedition to Cocos Island, where Sylvia and her Mission Blue team joined Fins Attached to tag and research hammerhead sharks.

About 800 feet down, slipping into darkness, I began to think it’s no wonder most of the ocean is a complete mystery to us. For Sylvia Earle, who happened to sit in my exact seat no more than three hours prior, this little outing was no biggie. For me on the other hand? Big character test. We hit 1,000 feet and touch down on the ocean floor. Aside from a friendly mobula ray that has been following us, there wasn’t much that looked familiar. So, in between deep, calming breaths, I thought about Sylvia, her incredible bravery and motivation when working endlessly to protect the ocean and her strength for doing it all against the odds. 

Sylvia was my inspiration during a mild, deep-sea panic attack, and continues to be for all of us fighting to save the ocean. “No one can do everything that needs to be done, but everyone can do something,” she tells us over dinner. So simple and eloquent you feel bashful for ever overlooking it. One simple action, when done collectively, has enough energy to change the world. I often spiral when I consider how much there is to do, but when I hear how Sylvia inspires others the way she does me, I remember that we’re working together. A collective goal, to save the ocean and, therefore, the planet, is so feasible I can taste it. And with organizations like Mission Blue and Fins Attached working to protect valuable marine environments all over the world, we’re headed in the right direction.

So choose something, pick a cause, ANYTHING! But most importantly, commit to it. Spread the word and motivate others with your actions and maybe someday you’ll inspire someone to be brave at 1,000 feet below the surface.