Extreme Cave Diving: Exploring the Bahamas’ Blue Holes
- Kenny Broad, Cave Diver
“You can’t use a remotely operated vehicle to explore underwater caves because the technology simply doesn’t exist. It’s one of the few environments left on the planet where you must physically go to understand its workings.” —Kenny Broad
Kenny Broad, National Geographic’s Explorer of the Year for 2011, is also an accomplished cave explorer. He pursues this extreme and dangerous occupation not for sport but to gain valuable insights into the freshwater world beneath our feet. Named a “freshwater hero” by National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative, Broad uses his research to study climate change and groundwater pollution to help better manage freshwater resources.
Largely unexplored, unimaginably beautiful, and considered among the most hazardous places to dive, the flooded caves, or “blue holes,” of the Bahamas are a potential treasure trove of scientific knowledge. Broad leads scientific expeditions to these dangerous but fascinating environments, making discoveries with implications for fields as diverse as microbiology, archaeology, and even astrophysics.
“Underwater caves may just look like dark, eerie holes, but they can be critical reservoirs of clean, fresh drinking water and are integral to the health of the surrounding habitats,” says Broad. “Exploring these caves, the inner-space where the the highly vulnerable freshwater and marine environments meet beneath our feet, allows me to combine my intellectual interests with my need for adventure; hopefully, in the process, helping to reduce the negative impacts on our natural resources.” A witty and entertaining speaker and committed scientist, Broad will share the adventure and science of exploring this incredible underwater world, as seen in the August 2010 issue of National Geographic.
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Watch a trailer for the Nat Geo/NOVA special about the Blue Holes expedition:
Working in pitch-black, inside a multi-chambered, underwater cave with only a simple rope tethering him to dry land, one mistake can equal death.
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