On our second day at sea, the stakes were seriously raised. Our La Mer World Oceans Day crew had been joined the night before by Dr. Sylvia Earle, the world’s premiere underwater explorer, along with a team of her favorite National Geographic writers and photographers. We were now a ship full of experienced aquanauts (myself notwithstanding, but I was determined to hold my own among them and learn everything I could from their knowledge of the ocean).
Sylvia’s life mission is to reestablish healthy seas across our planet, and she’s accomplishing this one ‘Hope Spot’ at a time. Hope Spots are pristine, marine protected areas, and currently they make up between .01 to 1% of our world’s aquatic mass. We need a whole lot more. The goal of Dr. Earle’s conservationist community, Mission Blue, is to increase the amount to 10% by 2020, but the woman in charge is pushing for double that number. Sign me up!
ABOVE + BELOW| our second day at sea, wearing Janessa Leone hat, Gucci sunglasses, Imperio JP shirt, Zinke swimsuit, and Havianas sandals // Zach wears Comme des Garcons PLAY t-shirtOne of her champions in this quest is the lovely Shala Monroque, my new dive buddy and fellow La Mer ambassador who helps both the brand and Dr. Earle raise awareness for World Oceans Day. She fell into the role like the rest of us, out of pure passion for the cause. Shala lives most of the year in St. Lucia, where she is actively involved in a charity called Kids 4 Coral, which teaches local children how to swim and snorkel, and to appreciate and preserve marine life.
We spent a lot of time together on this trip, talking everything from beauty to role models to politics to our shared love of style and a disillusionment with the fashion industrial machine. I found in her a kindred spirit, a true thinker and lover and doer. I really like women like that; they are my own personal hope spots.
ABOVE| Shala Monroque in a Louis Vuitton swimsuit, Lisa Marie Fernandex wetsuit and Topshop sandals BELOW| jumping in!To dive with women like Sylvia and Shala was a gift on so many levels. Of course it was a challenge, a wonderful experience and a fun memory, but more than that it was a reminder that no single person is too small to make big changes in the world. It’s easy to feel nihilistic, to believe that the course of history is already too solidly on a bad track to ever redirect. It’s a whole lot harder to live with hope, but there is still so much good that can be done.Dr Earle says, “I have a lot of heroes ~ anyone and everyone who does whatever they can to leave the natural world better than they found it.” I know that is a list we’d all like to be on. She encourages us to learn about the issues, reduce seafood consumption, decrease our carbon footprint in big and small ways everyday, stop plastic pollution, and thus be part of the solution. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! And spread the word in every way we know how.
In this day and age, that part is easier than ever. Development will either be the thing that saves or destroys us, and it’s not too late to choose a sustainable future.
ABOVE| in the presence of greatness, diving with Her Deepness!! ABOVE| snapshots of the ever-lovely Shala, La Mer’s World Oceans Day Ambassador BELOW| my favorite fellow explorer of all ABOVE| Janessa Leone hat, Oxydo glasses, Iro romper, Norma Kamali swimsuit, Havianas sandals BELOW| Shala wears a Kenzo blouse
ABOVE| having a signature from Dr. Earle in one’s dive log book has get to be the coolest autograph EVER among aspiring aquanauts! BELOW| Oxydo sunglasses; La Mer Face and Body Gradual Tan, Reparative Body Lotion, Broad Spectrum SPF 30 UV Protecting Fluid, and Reparative Face Sun LotionOn every one of the five dives we took together, Sylvia was (by far) the last one of our group out of the water. She dove longer, further, and happier than any one of us. Her enthusiasm was effervescent, her determination, infectious. She’s as cool as it gets.CLICK HERE| to learn more about the incredible life of Dr. Sylvia Earle
UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY| by Stephen Frink