f_0019835_16904 - My Blue Wilderness Sylvia Earle Ph.D...

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Fall 2010 The Ambassadors REVIEW 34 My Blue Wilderness Sylvia Earle, Ph.D. Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society Dr. Sylvia Earle is a marine biologist, explorer, author and lecturer who has led more than 100 ocean expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater, including setting a record for solo diving at a depth of 1,000 meters. Former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Earle is currently Explorer-in- Residence at the National Geographic Society. She has written an essay about her lifelong relationship with the once-vibrant waters of the Gulf of Mexico as part of special coverage of the oil spill in the October 2010 issue of National Geographic magazine. It is reprinted by permission below. hen I first ventured into the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950s, the sea appeared to be a blue infinity too large, too wild to be harmed by anything that people could do. I explored powder white beaches, dense marshes, mangrove forests, and miles of sea grass meadows alive with pink sea urchins, tiny shrimps, and seahorses half the size of my little finger. I learned to dive in unexplored areas offshore from the many rivers that flow into the Gulf, where jungles of crimson, green, and brown seaweed sprouted from rocky limestone reefs. Under the canopy of golden forests of drifting sargassum, I swam with a floating zoo of small creatures: lacy brown sea slugs, juvenile jacks, and flying fish no larger than dragonflies. Diving into the cool water of Ichetucknee, Weeki Wachee, Wakulla, and other
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f_0019835_16904 - My Blue Wilderness Sylvia Earle Ph.D...

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