Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies. His net worth is 5.1 billion US dollars, and he and Fabian Costeau, the grandchild of renowned marine conservationist Jacques Costeau who dove in Belize in the 70’s will make history as they will map and do a live broadcast from the bottom of the blue hole. The research team is in Belize and we spoke to them as they prepare for the event.
Bryant Price, Vice President, Aquatic Submarine: “We’ve got the research vessel which is coming alongside behind us and on the back of her we’ve got two submarines, the Stingray Submarine from Aquatica and the Idabel Submarine from an organization called RIDE based in Roatan Honduras and what new we are doing is we are going to proceed to the Blue Hole. We will be there for a little under three weeks and what we are going to be doing is two things: the first we are going to be diving the Blue Hole and conducting a live broadcast from the bottom of the Blue Hole with special guest Richard Branson and Fabian Custo and our Chief Pilot Erica Brugman; that’s happening on the second of December. And then the other thing we are doing is some science, straight forwards within that we are going to do is that we have a sonar company partner and what we are going to be doing is from the surface and using the submarines we are going to build a 3d model of the hole that we are also going to be giving to the Government of Belize to use for research purposes.”
Jerry Reid, Co-Founder, Aquatica Foundation: “We have two submarines that we are bringing out the Great Blue Hole; one is going to be called the Aquatica Stingray 500 and the other one is going to be Idabel. Idabel has about 2000 dives under its belt and we are going down in tandem. It’s going to be broadcasted live on the Discovery channel. I think that’s 3pm Belize time. It’s going to be a 2hr live event. We are going to be talking about the mysteries of the Blue Hole, we are also going to be doing two doing two documentaries as well- we are going to be collecting a tremendous amount of data. We are going to be doing sonar scans of the hole and giving that to the people of Belize.”
The broadcast will be on discovery channel at 3 p.m. on December second. Oceanic Global, the Belize Audubon Society, and Oceana Belize are partners in the enterprise which costs approximately a million and a half US dollars.