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The oceans have been mesmerizing us ever since Man first set foot on a beach. From the Viking Empire to the Conquest of the Pacific, from Ferdinand Magellan to Francis Drake, from Charles Darwin to Jacques Cousteau, this vast liquid world has seen the greatest of men navigate its uncharted waters. The oceans have inspired us and challenged us. They have created new empires and destroyed others. They have opened routes to new worlds, with many of the most adventurous risking an uncertain fate. But most importantly, maritime exploration has defined who we are today. In this age of profound climate change, once again, the oceans will shape our future.
~ Daniel Fox, 2011
The EPIC Expedition (Extreme and Polar Islands Conservation) is a modern tale of exploration and adventure to some of the most remote places on earth, structured within a framework of education, conservation and science. Through the capacities offered today by technology, the expedition will create an interactive and intimate, enticing and immersing format of narration, allowing the followers to travel virtually, as never before, to the very forefronts of modern-day exploration.
Finding its roots in the spirit of the classical era of exploration, the expedition will honor what nature has offered man to explore —wind and water. By circumnavigating the two poles and visiting over 60 groups of islands scattered to the far reaches across 4 oceans, the expedition will be reminiscent of the legacy of the Golden Age of Exploration, and recreate an event around which the international community can find inspiration. In this period of profound change, we will learn about the ecology, geology and biology of alien and vulnerable ecosystems and how our lifestyle has affected them.
But most of all, EPIC will be about hope, nature and what unites us all, the Blue Planet.
The oceans cover more than 71% of the surface of the planet. Each continent and each island, independent of their location, is connected to one another through these vast liquid plains. Still today, in this modern era, it is not the Internet that unites us all, but water. We are all interconnected through it and the oceans are the bodies that connect the dots. This narrative is extremely important in explaining their global impact and the teaching of values, such as respect. It is also the underlying narrative that will ‘connect’ all the other narratives.
The islands we will visit are vital for numerous species as they migrate around the globe. Fish, birds and marine mammals use these remote and isolated locations to rest, nest, feed or breed. The expedition will highlight the dynamics that are at play in this global cycle of life that happens every year and involves millions.
Willingly or unwillingly, humans have often affected, negatively, the biodiversity of islands all over the world. Whether carrying rats onboard their ships, mussels attached to their hull or simply by voluntarily introducing animals such as cats, rabbits, goats, cows and many more. The endemic species, unequipped to adapt to such aggressive invaders, have declined rapidly or simply disappeared. Today, countries like Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. are spending great resources to eradicate these undesired residents. The expedition will document the islands’ struggles and challenges as they try to correct past mistakes.
Whaling and Fur Trade History
These practices have left their mark all over the world. Many of the islands the expedition will visit were important whaling stations or saw their endemic species of marine mammals either totally or almost entirely extinguished. The expedition will relate what happened and will document how these remote ecosystems have coped with the disastrous consequences.ImpactIndependently of how remote these islands are, left-overs from our industrialized society have found their way into the core of their ecosystems. Whether it is floating pieces of plastic ending their journey on their beaches, or birds feeding their chicks with what they thought was food, or chemicals such as mercury present in their bloodstream, our lifestyle has come at the cost of their survival. The expedition will document the concentration of modern pollutants found in these endemic species and will also try to catalog the provenance of the garbage found. This narrative will conclude the overall theme of the expedition: Interconnectivity.
Most of the islands visited have an endemic wildlife and marine life. These islands are often key elements for maintaining the planet’s equilibrium, playing an important role in supporting the earth’s ecosystems. Some are important feeding grounds while others are crucial breeding grounds. Recent discoveries have found out that places like the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia have more biodiversity than the Galapagos.
As the climate is changing and maritime technology is improving the reach for cargo navigation and fishing capacity, these remote pieces of land are seeing changes not seen since the era of the whale and fur trade.
The EPIC Expedition is a comprehensive and multi-faceted endeavor about the exploration of the seas and is aimed at understanding our liquid world. Never before has mankind had access to such limitless technological potential for sharing everything that is being discovered with everyone across the globe, giving us the best tools to promote our message.
EPIC represents the democratization of knowledge of all those places full of undiscovered secrets and insights that will thrill and delight school children and scientists alike. EPIC is not only the new frontier of environmental empowerment but the magic door to a renewed love affair with our world.
This is just the right expedition at just the right time to help us understand how the ocean is changing and what it means for us.
~ Carl Safina
Never in the history of exploration has there been such a comprehensive plan to explore the Earth’s vast array of remote oceanic islands, many scarcely known to science, and discover their vital role in sustaining our environment. The EPIC Expedition being assembled by visionary explorer Daniel Fox and his team will empower an entirely new global online generation to comprehend and preserve the natural world in ways that my generation has failed to do.
~ Earl de Blonville, FRGS, explorer, author, leadership mentor
There are many areas of the world we still know very little about. The EPIC Expedition proposes to target these little known parts of the globe. Daniel Fox and his team have commissioned unique research vessels and are assembling a select group of scientists across a wide variety of disciplines to accompany the expedition. It is imperative that innovative independent research such as this be supported. Many important discoveries have been and will be made outside the establishment. Fox and his group have the intelligence, determination and creativity to make this a successful venture.”
~ Milbry Polk, Founder, Wings WorldQuest
Daniel Fox is that rare individual who possesses vision, exceptional talent and an unwavering drive. He is passionate about his mission and is committed to leveraging his artistry for the greater good. The EPIC Expedition is an important and timely initiative that will engage and inspire people everywhere.
~ Deborah Kinder, Founder, BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit
Daniel’s dedication, his ambitions, his expedition expertise, his talent for great photography and his passion for nature, make him the best person to ensure this project succeeds. New generations will discover parts of the world that are so remote that only a few have ever heard of them, and consequently they will learn to care about them. Jacques Cousteau used to say, “if you want people to protect nature, you have to make them first love it and the EPIC project will do just that.
~ Dominique Sumian, former Cousteau Expedition Leader
To find out more, get involved or help to fund EPIC please contact Daniel Fox at email@example.com.
Daniel Fox follows in the footsteps of his childhood heroes, David Attenborough, Jim Fowler & Jacques Cousteau, traveling Earth’s remote places.
Fall | Winter 2016