“Her Deepness” Dr. Sylvia Earle is commemorating her 80th birthday with a dive at Cashes Ledge

Amanda Yanchury

Photo courtesy of Mission Blue

Photo courtesy Mission Blue

Dr. Sylvia Earle is many things: Oceanographer. National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Scientist. Diver. Founder. Pioneer. Author. Advocate. And, my favorite – conservationist.

As Dr. Earle prepares to dive with Conservation Law Foundation at Cashes Ledge this weekend to celebrate her 80th (yes, 80th!) birthday, I’ve been learning a lot about this inspiring and accomplished person.

Many people have been exposed to Sylvia’s work through her recent Netflix documentary, Mission Blue, but Dr. Earle’s work as an advocate for the world’s oceans began decades ago. Her accomplishments and achievements are many, so I’ll attempt some highlights:

In 1964, Earle embarked on a dive in the Indian Ocean where she was the only woman in a 70-person crew – a pioneer and role model for women in the sciences

  • In 1979, Earle walked untethered on the ocean floor, a world record-setting 1,250 feet below the surface. After this dive, she was fittingly dubbed “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker, a nickname that has stuck
  • In 1990, she became the first female chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Earle was named TIME’s first “Hero for the Planet” in 1998

Dr. Earle’s work and accomplishments are seemingly endless. She has led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater. Having dived at remarkable places all over the world – from the Galapagos Islands, to the coast of China, to Oahu – Dr. Earle is coming to Cashes Ledge for the first time. As a renowned scientist who could visit any of the world’s amazing underwater places, we’re excited that she’s chosen our amazing place, right here in New England’s backyard.

Cashes Ledge underwater mountain range is an ecological hotspot. Its tallest peak, Ammen Rock, disrupts the Gulf of Maine current, creating the conditions necessary

Photo courtesy Kip Evans/Mission Blue

Photo courtesy Kip Evans/Mission Blue

for an abundance of unique wildlife. In recent years, it’s seen threats of a reopening to fishing (which would be disastrous for the creatures and habitats that find refuge there); it is also at risk from climate change and the potential for industrial exploration. Because of this, Cashes Ledge needs permanent protection, and we’re so excited to work together with Dr. Earle to make this a reality.

In Mission Blue, Dr. Earle spoke about areas in the ocean that need special protections, the same way certain land areas are designated as national parks. She calls these places “hope spots” – places where we can still have hope for saving and conserving the ocean — and therefore our future. Because, as she says: “No blue; No green.” No ocean, no us! We are thrilled that Cashes Ledge and the deep-sea canyons and seamounts are being declared a Hope Spot.

The dive at Cashes Ledge is scheduled for Aug. 8-12, 2015, but is dependent upon weather conditions. Follow along on Twitter @theCLF where we’ll be posting updates with the hashtag #HopeforCashesLedge.

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