Since the first mission in 2013, Laurent Ballesta´s Gombessa Expeditions have focused on studying some of our oceans’ rarest, most elusive marine creatures and phenomena.

The most recent Expedition ended this summer after a fourth and last mission of 20 days exploring the seabed northeast of Cape Corsica. Ballesta, who recently won his second Wildlife Photographer of the Year Grand Title award in collaboration with 41 French and foreign scientists and his teammates, emerged with new knowledge, impressive images, and a still-to-be-solved mystery.

Although a brief description of the rings was given in 2012, the causes of their presence, unique in the Mediterranean and nowhere else in the world, and their mode of formation remain to be proved.

These circular formations or rings called “coralligenous rings” with a diameter of 20m are located in a 4 km2 area in the Natural Marine Park of Cape Corsica and Agriate at a depth of 120 m. These monumental deep coralligenous rings had never been defined before and are not really protected. To produce a synthesis, on November 7th, a scientific seminar will bring together all the data collected so far on this unique ecosystem. The analysis that will be made of this data aims to improve knowledge and raise awareness among the public and decision-makers of the fragility of these reef formations and their associated habitats.

Every expedition is a whole new challenge in itself. It is a constant juggling act between technology, science, art, and the human factor. Organising such an endeavour can easily be compared to a well-tuned orchestra.

We at Dive Operations Buddy were honoured to have been of assistance with part of the Dive-Support through the charter of two Submersibles and a Dive-Support-Vessel. Like that, we have collaborated with this amazing team and their essential discovery mission in the Mediterranean Sea.

If we have caught your attention and you are interested in knowing more, we recommend you check out the following links and social media channels:

  • A scientific expedition named @Gombessa Expeditions: The mystery of the rings of Cap Corse led by @LaurentBallesta.
  • Laurent Ballesta Instagram @laurentballesta Facebook @Laurent Ballesta
  • Gombessa Expeditions Facebook @Gombessa Expeditions
  • Andromède Oceanologie Facebook @Andromede Oceanologie Instagram @andromede_oceanologie

Special thanks to © Laurent Ballesta, Andromède Océanologie, Gombessa Expeditions for the photos