Diving With Her Deepness

8th June, 2015

“No ocean, no life. No blue, no green. No ocean, no us.” ~ Dr. Sylvia Earle

Our life has been ripe with adventure. We never take it for granted, for every place we visit gives us an enriched appreciation for the earth, the global ecosystem, and the importance of cultural and biological diversity. We are alive in the most incredible period of human history, when technology, travel, politics, communication, family structures, job markets and our relationship to the planet are changing at unprecedented speeds. The world I was born into will not even remotely resemble the world I will pass away from.

It’s an incredible history to be witnessing, but sadly, much of that progress is handled irresponsibly. Plastics are egregiously overused, and a large percentage of that waste ends up in the ocean, alongside everything from airplanes to oil spills. The impact is massive. Since the 1950s half of the coral reefs globally have disappeared or are in a state of sharp decline. In the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas, 80 percent are gone.

It’s an issue essential to human life. The ocean is Earth’s blue engine: driving climate and weather, regulating and stabilizing planetary temperature and governing global chemistry, including the basic cycles of water, carbon and oxygen. What makes Earth inhabitable is our oceans. It is what differentiates our planet from Mars.

Considering how crucial the ocean is to human survival, it is surprising that 95% of it remains unexplored. Millions (billions!) of people have been 7 miles up in the air; only 3 people in history have been 7 miles underwater. Happily, one woman is working tirelessly to change that, and she is a total force of nature.

Her name is Dr. Sylvia Earle ~ although the New York Times famously re-dubbed her ‘Her Deepness’, and it’s an appropriate title for she truly is a queen of the sea. At 80 years old, she’s also the biggest kid I’ve ever met, bubbling over with enthusiasm, passion and an infectious sense of wonder. She’s seen up close the devastation humans have exacted upon the ocean, and yet she considers us her favorite species. The way Sylvia sees it, humans still posses the power to create positive change. She believes it’s not too late.
Born in 1935, she’s been diving since the early 50s, when the sport was still very much in its infancy. Back then she had to bum rides on Florida fishing boats to get out to sea (imagine how brave a young woman had to be to do that alone in those days!). In the years since, she’s pioneered new technologies and revolutionized the possibilities for scientific discovery and exploration under water. She’s authored nearly 200 scientific, technical and popular publications, earned a B.S., an M.S, a PhD. and over 22 honorary degrees. She’s led hundreds of oceanographic expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater. Sylvia Earle is about as groundbreaking as it gets. She’s even on Twitter.

In 1967, she led the first all-female team of aquanauts to live underwater for several weeks. In 1970 the Los Angeles Times named her its Woman of the Year. In 1979 she set the women’s depth record, diving 1,250 feet to the sea floor near Oahu.

By 1992 she had become the chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first woman ever to fill that role. Since 1998 she has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence; the same year, Time Magazine named her its first Hero for the Planet. In 2013 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and in 2014 she received the UN Champions of the Earth Award and was named Glamour’s Woman of the Year.

That’s not even half of it. Her accomplishments are endless, and Sylvia shows no signs of slowing down. In 2009 she won a TED Prize, and in her acceptance speech she made a wish: “I wish you would use all means at your disposal ~ films! expeditions! the web! new submarines! ~ to create a campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the blue heart of the planet.”

And that’s where TheGlamourai crew comes in.
Back in late April, we were invited out to Key Largo to participate in the Blue Heart Dive, hosted by Dr. Sylvia Earle, La Mer, and National Geographic. The dive was held to symbolize and celebrate 3 years of collaboration and official partnership between Dr. Earle and La Mer in Blue Heart, their year-round philanthropic joint mission to protect and explore the Earth’s oceans.

The ocean is an integral part of La Mer’s heritage; its famous formula was developed by harnessing the regenerative properties of sea kelp. The company recognizes the value of the living ocean and continues to support the kelp’s natural habitat, only using plants that have been responsibly harvested off the pacific coast.

That weekend, we banded together to raise awareness for World Ocean’s Day (it’s today!!!), in honor of which La Mer has both produced a special edition Blue Heart jar for its iconic Crème de la Mer, and partnered with National Geographic to publish a beautiful book that brings to life the insights and inspiration Dr. Earle has collected over the course of her colorful, aquatic life.

ABOVE| La Mer World Ocean’s Day special edition Crème de la Mer sits atop ‘Blue Hope‘ by Sylvia Earle, alongside a Jennifer Meyer blue heart necklace and Gucci sunglasses
DrSylviaEarle4I feel incredibly lucky to get to play a part in spreading Sylvia’s story. Rarely do I meet someone with such joie de vivre, such absolute ecstasy for their life’s calling. Despite having logged more than 7,000 hours underwater, Dr. Earle delighted in each piece of coral we saw as if it was the first she’d ever seen. Despite being 80 years old, she dived deeper and longer than anyone else in our expedition. Despite having witnessed firsthand the shriveling up of underwater ecosystems, she still believes the blue heart of our planet can be revived, and that it can thrive.

Below, check out our GoPro video diary of this epic, unforgettable adventure ~ and stay tuned all week for a fantastical series of underwater stories, an experience shared with a true living legend!

  • This is amazing! Ms. Earle sounds like a force to be reckoned with & she’s working so hard to preserve something we humans destroy by the minute.

  • this is amazing!!



  • What an incredible underwater adventure! Love the video so cool and Dr. Sylvia Earle is quite a lady!;-)

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  • Dr. Earle is an amazing woman, and it’s so cool that you got to spend some quality time diving with her!

    This post also makes me want to seek out some water today…especially since Seattle is expecting some mid-80s temps today!

  • Thank you for sharing her incredible story. Often times we get faced with the stories of forgotten old relatives in nursing homes or of seniors living out their last days with regret on not being able to still do things they love. The passion is stifled. But then comes along a story like this….I hope to have one ounce of Ms. Earle’s tenacity for life and passion for our beautiful Earth.

    ~ Briana

  • What an adventure! And Dr. Earle looks radiant!

  • Trudye Grunert

    Oh, this is so special! To be able to dive with Dr. Earle is truly a privilege! I had the privilege in the early 90’s in Bonaire where she was speaking to a diving medical group!
    It makes my heart sing with Joy to see she has not lost one ounce of passion for the sea! What a remarkable woman!
    Thank you for this incredible story and video!

  • ccjourn

    Nice, tooo nice in fact. I love that !

TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
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