in Bahama Deep

the Bahama Deep at the edge of an Island Nation

OO has engaged in field programs thoughout the Bahamas for more than 15 years, as it provides the ideal proving ground for experimental technologies and techniques for advanced diving.

Support has been provided by…

Lombardi Undersea LLC

National Geographic Society

Waitt Grants Program

Bahamas Marine EcoCentre

Perry Institute for Marine Science

American Museum of Natural History

University of New Hampshire

University of Mississippi

University of Connecticut

Molecular Products

Shearwater Research

GMS Concepts

#bahamadeep

While we call the Ocean State our home, the Island Nation is at the heart our humble beginnings.

The island nation of the Bahamas lies at the center of a long and impressive maritime history, stemming from ancient civilization as one proposed site of Atlantis. Centuries later, Columbus first set foot in ‘The New World’ on the island of San Salvador. In the 20th century, the region was explored by Cousteau and other early pioneers in diving and exploration – inspiring continued work by Forfar, Birch, Benjamin, Palmer, and others. In the 60’s and 70’s, the Bahamas served as the testing ground for a number of innovations in advanced manned diving systems. This includes the work of Perry, Link, and Starck with work on both manned submersibles, and undersea habitats. This pivotal work lead to the formation of NOAA’s Undersea Research Program, and a half century legacy of productive marine science on Lee Stocking Island – where we were born.

Lining the margins of this island nation are deep flanking vertical walls which plummet into the abyss, providing the gateway from our terrestrial world to a new frontier for humanity.

“Spooky,” is the conclusive and quite fitting term used by David Campbell to describe these deep vertical walls in his 1978 book, The Ephemeral Islands. Today, this ‘Bahama Deep’ continues to capture the minds and imagination of many, as this environment is just beginning to reveal the secrets that perhaps created our calling to the deep.

Today, we return to the region to continue with training and proficiency in experimental diving techniques, while incubating a number of deep science interests of our collaborators.

Oceans of Opportunity, in just one inspirational minute

On May 8th, 2002 Lombardi descended to 300 feet/ 90 meters depth in Exuma Sound and collected a number of marine specimens. Later scientific studies revealed that 12 were new species, never before described for science, with 6 providing chemical clues into combatting cancer and other human disease.

Imagine the potential of ‘the 9th minute’.

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New Paper – A Little Fish with a Big Name, in NMEA

2016 was a big year for new publications, as we we’ve taken some time over the last couple of years to write-up the significant body of work that has been evolving. I’m pleased to share another paper, courtesy our collaboration with Anne Krauss from Cobbles Elementary School in Penfield, NY: Paper-NMEACurrent_Derilissus2016 Anne’s students at Cobbles have very generously embraced our fieldwork as the theme for various literacy studies. The new paper in National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) Current provides a case study of our 2011 discovery of the mesophotic clingfish, Derilissus lombardii, and its interpretation and utility for course instruction...
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a Deep & Dark Halloween

Just when you think another Halloween had passed us by with not much more happening other than the  ’round the block loop for trick or treating, and the resulting big bucket of candy to indulge in, we’re reminded of deep and dark thoughts…from the mesophotic zone of course! A student from Cobbles Elementary School shared the below image of her jack-o-lantern. This wins the pumpkin contest in my book! The carving is of Derilissus lombardii, my favorite mesophotic clingfish, which we discovered back in 2011. It’s always such a joy to see how these scientific discoveries – years in the making...
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free diving, and death defying

Last night I was drawn in to the CBS 60 Minutes segment about free diving – for obvious reasons. First, as underwater news tends to do, it draws people in to unknown worlds with child like curiosity. Second, exciting to me was the geographical home of Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas which may likely be a focal point for forthcoming explorations. Third, was the piece in the context of ‘death defying’. This perspective is something I wrestle with constantly in my own work. Surely, yes, there is a balance of popular entertainment ‘hooks’ to lure viewers or readers in, with...
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rising tides, seafaring states, & a ‘piece’ of mind

I’m blogging from the Hele Islands, a small group of largely uninhabited cays within the Solomon Islands, where I’ve spent the last ten days supporting scientific dives as part of an expedition for the American Museum of Natural History. While I hate to use the word ‘adventure’ given my feeling that it consumerizes more purist exploration, the last ten days have been all of an adventure and more. I’m not sure where to start… It’s been a surreal voyage in many ways. I’m sitting here in the salon of the MV Alucia with all of the creature comforts of home,...
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a new world view from the ‘bottom up’

Several year ago, I stumbled on an article by an MIT student that discussed the concept of ‘underwater camping’ – the simple ability to make a foray into the ocean, and stay for awhile. It was a compelling idea. My interests in ocean exploration have always leaned heavily on improving human intervention – advanced diving techniques. A look back through history reveals numerous attempts at a more permanent human presence – a new life in the sea. While bold steps have been taken, we (humans) are still left without a permanent home on the ocean floor. There are many reasons –...
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October 12th is ‘Exploration Day’

Celebrating ‘Columbus Day’ always resonates with me for several days pre and post this impactful day in history – marking Christopher Columbus’ landfall in the Americas in 1492. Specifically, he set foot in the Bahamas – the island chain to the south and east of the US State of Florida, and perhaps not so coincidentally – the home for my experimental work in ocean exploration. Today, we know with near certainty that Columbus was not the first European to reach the Americas, however as a propagandist, his communicating the journey and its value back in Europe was what set his work...
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controlling the invasion | some lionfish news for you

The invasive lionfish – a huge threat to tropical Atlantic and Caribbean reefs. I was in the Bahamas back in 2005 when one of the first two juveniles was captured in the country. Today, they are everywhere, putting predatory pressures on small herbivorous reef fishes that keep the algae under control on coral reefs. In fact, the increased algal cover on coral reefs can be largely attributed to the booming lionfish population. The problem comes with eliminating this animal. While they are not native to Atlantic waters, they are clearly right at home. They are so prevalent in fact, that...
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Making Headlines | Ocean Space Habitat on Nat Geo

Having realized limitations in deep Mesophotic intervention from work in 2010, Lombardi teams up with Subsalve USA to develop a portable inflatable habitat for improved decompression efficiency. Lombardi receives second award from National Geographic Society to deploy and evaluate the system. Lombardi and Godfrey are first to successfully deploy a purpose built inflatable portable decompression habitat in openwater.

a new perspective on ‘our’ undersea world for 2012

With the turn of this new year, this is an opportune time to reflect on this year’s past and more importantly – start focusing energies for what lies ahead. The last two years have marked a timely and ambitious push to take my deep exploration work to new depths, and shed light on a new public appeal for a human presence in the ocean. Those involved in expeditions of any type know just how much of a commitment it takes to make these things happen – from planning to logistics, to fundraising, to more planning, to nurturing collaborations, to overcoming failures...
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Earth’s Mysteries Revealed…One Descent at a Time

We just returned from a safe and hugely productive 10 day expedition to continue our scientific and exploratory investigations of the Bahama Deep. On my return, buried in the mound of ‘stuff to-do’ was a pleasant and warmly welcomed note from Onlinecourses.net that informed me that ‘A New Life’ was recognized in their Top 5 Earth Mystery Blogs. Thank you Onlinecourses! This week’s journey was one for the memory books, as we worked to 446fsw – wrought with its own challenges. My intent is to back fill this Blog with my field journal as information is released from our various...
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and…we’re off! the deep reef awaits

There is no amount of preparation, mental or otherwise, that fully prepares you for an expedition. Big or small objectives, solo or a team – when the stakes are high, the stress is high. While I may not have shown it, my stomach has been in knots for weeks now. Being the leader of the pack, it has fallen on my shoulders to handle logistics items for the team, science permits, dive safety plan writing and approval seeking, on top of going through all of my bits and pieces of equipment to make sure that everything is at 100% – rebreathers,...
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Conquering the Abyss

‘Spooky’ is the word to describe my forays into the deep, and ‘flattered’ would be the word to describe my reaction to this great News Desk piece released by National Geographic. Curiously, I often ponder the realization that it’s been 40 years since Walter Starck used his first ‘Electrolung’ off the deep reefs of Andros. It’s been 50 years since the depths of the region first peaked the curiosities of Ed Link, John Perry, Dick Birch, Cousteau, and others. Time does indeed fly, even more so when we turn our heads in the other direction. As we set out at the...
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carbon dioxide and sofnolime | the necessary evil

Well, we’re just weeks away from setting out to uncharted waters yet again as we continue our explorations ‘in Bahama deep’. This next expedition will focus on Exuma Sound, where much like the Tongue of the Ocean on Andros, the Sound is a deep flanking margin dropping precipitously from the shallows to depths of several thousand feet. Such an amazingly eerie yet beautiful environment made more accessible by diving with rebreather technology. More on the excitement of this upcoming expedition soon enough… I am writing today to chat a bit about expedition logistics. We’re using rebreathers, which are the absolute best...
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Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems | the benthic buzz

The buzz words for today’s benthic marine scientists are undoubtedly ‘mesophotic coral ecosystems’, or MCEs. The term mesophotic, or middle/medium light, refers to the region of the ocean below the photic zone where light is the major driver for photosynthesis by corals and algae, but above the aphotic zone where in the dark organisms rely on other means for productivity. These transitional depths, say from 200 to 500 feet (60 to 150 meters) in depth encompass a significant area of our oceans’ benthic habitat, and remain poorly understood, and largely unexplored. The boom in deep sea exploration was the result of...
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The A.R.E.’s Search for Atlantis | a Review

Drs. Greg & Lora Little’s ‘The A.R.E.’s Search for Atlantis’ highlights the organization’s relatively recent field efforts investigating the theory that the Lost City of Atlantis had its roots in the island nation of the Bahamas. The A.R.E. (Association for Research and Enlightenment) is a not for profit organization based in Virginia Beach, VA built upon the work of ‘sleeping prophet’ Edgar Cayce. The book leaves more questions than answers, as do most texts on this controversial subject. The read itself is an interesting one, and a must for those curious about Atlantean and other ancient civilizations. While there are traces of...
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a sneak peak from the early Holocene

To sum up what may very well be the most interesting 10,000 years in history in just one word – the Holocene. This also happens to be the period of time we are currently living in, and one where water has literally sculpted our planet. The start of the Holocene, some 10 to 12,000 years before present, was a period marking the retreat of glaciers from the last ice age. During this ice age a significant amount of water was tied up as ice, making sea levels some 100meters+ lower than today. As the glaciers retreated since that time, sea levels...
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a real Atlantean discovery | some free thinking

Sometimes you have to let your mind slip outside of the box as a mental health exercise. With that, some outside-the-box thinking might even come your way. This morning, I stumbled upon ‘Alternate Perceptions Magazine’, and it made for some great Saturday morning reading over a few cups of coffee. Of particular interest, were a couple of articles by Dr. Greg Little. Dr. Little is probably best-known in popular culture for his work in studying the Edgar Cayce readings, particularly in how they apply to searching for the Lost City of Atlantis. One article in the December issue of the...
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Atlantis: the lost city, or a city lost?

Just a week ago, my travels took me through the Atlantis Resort located in Nassau, Bahamas. Those who know me well, know that this type of environment is the absolute last place on Earth where I would likely venture on my own, but with the alternative being a very long day sitting at the airport, I figured it would be worth the adventure. In short, I was overwhelmed. Most of my experiences in the Bahamas have been in the out islands, where peace, quiet, tranquility, and a simple state of existence has a way of encouraging you to rethink life...
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updates from the field | in TOTO deep

Just a quick note from the field to let friends, family, and followers know that we are well here on Andros. We have started our deep push, and everything is going very smooth. Upon arriving on site, I received notification that I was awarded funding from the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program for this expedition. This is very exciting, and we are working diligently to accomplish all we planned for and more. In consideration of the support received from NGS, please be patient as creative and technical material is brought to you. Again, many, many thanks to you for your ongoing...
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