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Richard Branson, Fabien Cousteau & Aquatica Blue Hole Expedition in Belize

Belize Blue Hole aerial

Situated in the center of Lighthouse Reef 40 miles off the coast of Belize, the Blue Hole is a giant marine sinkhole that is 1,043 ft (318 m) in diameter and 407 ft (124 m) deep. To put its size into perspective, the Blue Hole could easily swallow two entire Boeing 747s in one gulp, undiscoverable from the surface. The Blue Hole is a part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System which is a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In 1971, the site’s name was coined by legendary oceanic explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau and identified as one of the top five scuba diving sites in the world. In the same adventurous spirit as Cousteau, the Aquatica mission—which will be captured by a marine biologist/videographer—is not just about feeding curiosity, but also about ocean education, conservation and scientific research.

As the Aquatica Submarines historic expedition to Belize’s Blue Hole approaches, President and CEO Harvey Flemming has announced the creation of the Aquatica Foundation. This new organization will bring together global experts and take actions towards three primary ocean imperatives: Exploration, Restoration and Education.

As the lead not for profit organization, the foundation is supporting Aquatica’s Blue Hole Belize 2018 Expedition in concert with the Expedition’s partner NGOs: Ocean Unite, Oceanic Global, Oceana, The Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center, and Belize Audubon Society. Harvey Flemming will be taking on the role as the Managing Director and Founder, while Robert Falls will become Executive Director and Mr. Paul Jaffe will become Managing Director.

The Expedition is very excited to announce support from new sponsors Weeks Abroad and Empire Group. “The Weeks Abroad community is full of super-achievers who done some amazing things, so it seemed like a natural fit,” says Co-founder of Weeks Abroad and explorer, Joby Weeks. “We’re proud to be supporting the team on this landmark expedition.”

Group Chairman of Empire Group, Chris Crutcher, noted that “The Empire Group is very excited to be a sponsor for this historic Expedition. The endeavours that Aquatica is undertaking aligns very closely with the objectives of our Project Galileo.”

Aquatica Submarines is an emerging and innovative company in the manned submersible technology space. The company’s Stingray 500 submarine will be one of the two submersibles that will venture to the bottom of the Blue Hole.

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