Sarah's adventure around the world's oceans

By Sarah Gauthier
Scuba instructor & Photographer

 

Photo par Alex Kydd 

Adventure | Plastic pollution | Essay

Reading time : 4 minutes

Texte by Sarah Gauthier 

Published May 23rd 2019

Story of an underwater adventurer, conquering the oceans on all 7 continents

 

"To protect something, you must first and foremost love it. So I was going to show the riches that our oceans abound with." Sarah tells of her exceptional adventure in the waters of our planet.

Sarah's adventure around the world's oceans

My name is Sarah and I am 27 years old. I grew up in Gaspésie, Quebec, Canada. I have always had an interest in the environment. Already, in elementary school, I was studying in a nature school where we were introduced to composting and biodiversity. It was for me an awakening for life. 

When I finished high school, I studied animal health techniques to live off my passion for animals. Then, I began studying biology at the Université de Montréal. I also obtained a certification in scuba diving. My mother being a great scuba diver for nearly 25 years, I wanted to learn about it to be able to share this passion with her. That was in the fall of 2014. The following winter during a trip to Hawaii I really got the shot. It was at that time that I became aware of the vastness of the ocean, its diversity and, above all, the riches to be explored.

Photo par Daniel Tayenaka
Photo par Alfred Minnaar

Her underwater journey, in all 7 continents : 

1. Silfra Fault, Strytan, Iceland

2. Mediterranean Sea, Greece

3. Red Sea, Egypt

4. Malapascua, Visayan sea, Philippines

5. Raja Ampat, Indian Ocean, Indonesia

6. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

7. Pacific Ocean, California, United States

8. San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

9. Thetford Mines Quarry, Quebec, Canada

10. Antarctic Peninsula, Arctic Circle and Great South, Antarctica

Exploring without moralizing


While diving daily in the Cayman Islands, while working as an instructor, I was able to see the degradation of habitats and the pollution that was becoming more and more present. That's when I decided that I too had to get involved to make a difference and raise awareness about protecting the oceans. I then wondered what I wanted to do to achieve this. At the moment, on social networks, discourses related to the environment are more moralistic. These different contents make me feel guilty about some of my choices. That's when I decided that, rather than adopting this attitude, I would show the population the wealth that our oceans are full of. Because in my opinion, to protect something, you must first and foremost love it. It is in this state of mind that my project took shape.

Photo par Daniel Tayenaka
Photo par Alfred Minnaar

Share my values

In my suitcase, I put a bamboo toothbrush, soap and bar shampoo, a menstrual cup, a reusable water bottle, a glass straw, bamboo utensils, reusable storage bags, etc. My objective was to demonstrate that it is possible to live conscientiously on a daily basis, while maximizing pleasure, but, above all, it was a way of setting an example. In this sense, my vision is to put into practice what we value. As a general rule, it was possible for me to live according to my convictions. Unfortunately, in some countries, living conditions have made it necessary for me to buy bottled water or overpackaged items to feed myself. What I am proud of is that throughout my travels, I have been able to positively influence the lifestyle of some people who have crossed my path.

Photo par Daniel Tayenaka

The beauty of a sunfish


It would be wrong to say that I haven't seen a lot of pollution. Unfortunately, I have seen the omnipresence of plastic waste on all the continents I have dived to. On the other hand, I prefer to focus on the beauties of nature, and show them by filming underwater landscapes.
 
Beyond the visible effects of human consumption, what emerges from this experience are the efforts of communities to make a difference and protect the oceans. In each country I visited, I was able to see the commitment of people to find solutions to the current environmental situation, regardless of their origin, socio-economic background or belief.  
 
I feel blessed to have had the chance to travel the world. In my opinion, there is something special about every place. Nevertheless, I must admit that the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador have conquered my heart with their unique and rich biodiversity, steeped in history. For example, it was here that Darwin developed his theory of evolution. What particularly marked my experience in this country was that I saw my first school of hammerhead sharks and my first Mola mola (sunfish), moments that I am not about to forget.

Photo par Kevin Gacad

15 months to make choices...


To finance my project, I worked 15 months in the Cayman Islands as a diving instructor. It may seem simple, but I had to make a lot of sacrifices to make my dream come true. I ate ramen noodles every day and cut off the excess (new clothes, alcohol... etc.). It was important for me to finance my project by myself because I knew it would prove how much I cared about protecting the oceans and the planet. However, I was very lucky because several diving schools all over the world supported me in my project because the same values united us..

I have been working in the field of scuba diving for 3 years. As for the video, I've been doing it for about a year. I'm far from being a video professional, but I like the idea of sharing what I see with everyone. I dare to believe that being an amateur allows people to see themselves in me and to feel more challenged. My main experience has been in Indonesia, Honduras and Grand Cayman in the Caribbean.

My world tour will officially end on March 31, 2019 in Antarctica. It will be a very special day as I celebrated my 27th birthday! I set foot on land in Ushuaia, Argentina, after 13 days at sea on an expedition ship. But, "Scuba.Sarah" is far from over, awareness and education are part of my future plans !

You will be able to discover the final destination of my trip and several of my photos in Antarctica in September, in collaboration with the Blue Organization for the next issue on the effects of global warming. 

Photo par Luca Tavares

Sarah Gauthier

Scuba instructor & Adventurer

Her vision is to show the natural richness of our world, rather than focusing on the effects of pollution. She believes that to protect and take care of something, you must first of all love it. She uses social media to become a positive leader, to reach as many people as possible and create a movement for change. She is convinced that setting an example is part of the solution to the situation on the planet.

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