“A Tale of Two Atolls” short film reminds us our oceans are full of life worth preserving
posted Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 1:57 PM EDT
Due to human influence, the seascape of the world's oceans is changing, and not for the better. Populations of marine life are endangered as their natural habitats are destroyed. Piles of human waste are accumulating on the surface of the sea, and end up being ingested by animals. Overfishing depletes the oceans of their fish populations and creates an unbalance in the marine fauna. And our wastewaters do their part at contaminating, endangering and destroying the delicate ecosystems of the world's oceans. Yet, there are still some places that are mostly untouched.
The Bassas da India and Europa atolls, located in the Mozambique Channel between East Africa and Madagascar, are two of them. The atolls, which both belong to France, are among the last vestiges of pristine seascape in the Indian Ocean. They are also nature reserves and require a permit to be visited. When marine biologist turned photographer Thomas P. Peschak recently had the chance to document the local fauna of these atolls, he didn't have to think twice.
"As a kid, I used to dream about the ocean. It was a wild place full of color and life. I pictured dense shivers of sharks ruling over the food chain and herds of turtles paddling through reefs and seagrass," he reveals to National Geographic. The behind-the-scenes video of his excursion, which he created together with cameraman Dan Beecham and writer Sunnye Collins, shows just such a place. But it does more than that.
The short film titled "A Tale of Two Atolls," as well as Peschaks photographs from the Bassas da India and Europa atolls, shows us the beauty of a pristine marine world with all its biodiversity, and reminds us why it's so important that we preserve our oceans. "When I think about how much we've taxed our oceans, it's fairly easy to sink into despair. But whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, nature taps me on the shoulder and reminds me of the wonders that still grace our seas," Peschak says.
And it's Peschak's work that helps us remember that there are wonders worth preserving. The photo series from his visit to the Bassas da India and Europa atolls appears in the April issue of National Geographic.