Andy Torbet tells us why Blue Abyss is ‘more than just a large water-filled hole in the ground’
I was not the first to hear about Blue Abyss. But many of those before, and after, me dismissed the project as a pipe dream. A great idea pitched by the enthusiastic and well meaning, but without substance and something that would never truly happen. And yet I gave it my support from the outset. Some people either could not fathom my thinking or thought me a fool for wasting my time on a project of such monumental scale, that it was never truly achievable.
I have struggled to comprehend their point of view. Perhaps some people lack the vision or the imagination. Perhaps they did believe in it but where cowed by the enormity of the task or even of the possibilities. I saw only an opportunity to be involved with something which was not only entirely achievable and would drive exploration and innovation forward, but would create a vehicle to break boundaries and the prospect of exploring a world alien to my own. I could not step forward fast enough.
Because Blue Abyss is more than just a large water-filled hole in the ground. It is more than a place for underwater and space robotics to be developed, for divers and astronauts to train, for hypo- and hyper-baric and space medicine to extend it’s knowledge. It will not only facilitate the explorers and innovators of today and the future, it will also go on to fund a global undersea exploration and outreach programme, having it’s own projects carrying out pioneering work. But the facility and its expeditions will go beyond improving our understanding in science, engineering and conservation. It will not sit as an ivory tower to the elite! Blue Abyss' aquatic undertakings around the world will involve global public and schools outreach. We need not only support those currently pushing the boundaries but also inspire and inform the public and encourage the next generation.
I am driven by a need to explore. It is my nature, I hope it’s human nature, to want to know what is around the next corner, what new treasures are hidden beyond the next hill, what opportunities await through the door and what unimaginable discoveries lie out in the darkness of the abyss. For those with the courage and vision to get involved, Blue Abyss is an open portal with a thousand new paths leading into the unknown and I can’t wait to dive in.
Andy Torbet is an underwater explorer, extreme diver, climber and skydiver, and works as a Consultant to the Blue Abyss team. Andy is a regular BBC presenter for programmes including The One Show, Coast, Operation Iceberg, The People Remember, The Adventure Show and Cloud Lab. www.andytorbet.com
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