Acclaimed documentary photographers and co-founders of SeaLegacy Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier are on a global storytelling mission to save our oceans. They are spending the next four years aboard SeaLegacy 1, a catamaran systematically rebuilt to document life above and below the water, and they’re sharing their journey with us as they go as part of a series. In Episode 1 of the series, SeaLegacy | The Voyage, we saw the challenges the crew faced as they set sail on their four-year journey, and in Episode 2, we watched as the crew came across a pod of camera-shy dolphins. Now, in Episode 3, watch as the SeaLegacy crew returns to The Abacos Islands in the Bahamas, an area devastated by Hurricane Dorian two years prior. See the new episode below and keep scrolling for the previous episodes.
The SeaLegacy crew sails to The Abacos Island in the Bahamas, an area devastated by Hurricane Dorian two years prior.
The latest episode starts with the crew aboard SeaLegacy 1 carefully navigating their approach to Marsh Harbour. The area is riddled with wreckage from the hurricane, even two years later. They reach land and Mittermeier explains how they had visited in 2019. “Hurricane Dorian had such a massive effect on these islands. I cannot even begin to imagine how traumatic it was for the people who were here. The effects of climate change are escalating around the world, and we came back to tell that part of the story.”
Mittermeier returns to the spaces she saw two years ago, including “The Mud,” an area that was a settlement for Haitian immigrants. She explains how the last time she was here, this part of the island looked apocalyptic. Now, it is completely cleared out with fencing put up. “It’s all been so thoroughly cleaned, there’s nothing left,” she says. “You would have no idea that there were lives there. That people went to work, and they went to school, and even though they are illegal immigrants, they are still humans. And that was a message that said do not come back here. One of the reasons that I really empathize with the experience of an immigrant, is that I’m an immigrant myself. You always face that moment when you really don’t belong.”
Not only did the hurricane cause complete devastation on land for so many, it also wreaked havoc on the water. “So much of this debris ended up in the ocean,” Mittermeier says, “and Mermaid Reef was no different. I remember diving it with such a sense of dread, thinking how are we going to clean this up? So the fact that the community came together, and they have been diving and snorkeling and cleaning not just the reef, but all the green areas around the islands, is amazing. Mermaid Reef is not the same as it was before the hurricane, but it’s getting there.”
See SeaLegacy | The Voyage Episode 1, Setting Sail:
See SeaLegacy | The Voyage Episode 2, Into The Pod:
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