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“Le Prince et La Mer”: the Yersin expedition in the spot in the new film

Filmed last September in Macaronesia, the region of the Atlantic that includes the archipelagos of Madeira and Cape Verde, this new Ushuaia TV Survey is dedicated to the first campaign of YERSIN, Monaco’s new oceanographic vessel. This Yacht classified “cleanship”, transformed into a scientific ship will explore for 3 years the blue planet, with the ambition to “reconcile Humanity with the sea”. Recognized on the international scene for his commitment to the oceans, Prince Albert II agreed to play a real role in the film with the journalist Christine Oberdorff on this first “memorial” trip, in the footsteps of his great-great-grandfather, the Prince Albert I Оceanographer.

First broadcast: Friday, December 8 at 20:40 on the occasion of World Climate Day.

Christine Oberdorff’s unbounded enthusiasm adds an extra spark to this documentary which clearly portrays the human challenges of coexisting in a sustainable way with “the blue planet”. The documentary draws you in also with its very human cameo scenes with natives of the Madeiras and Cape Verde islands. It is touching to see the different nuances in the viewpoints of the older natives and the youth. A veteran fisherman attests he sees fewer seals. The youth, more sensitized to the issues of the despoiling of our natural resources; must at the same time seek a secure life, and in the future a sustainable one, making a living from fishing and tourism.

Prince and the sea

Prince Albert’s role is a natural one following the footsteps of the marine scientist Prince Albert I. There is an engaging scene, which is also a wake-up call, where a specimen from Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum (a lizard now extinct!) and collected by Prince Albert I is gifted by Prince Albert II to the islands, represented by the President of Cape Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca. And Prince Albert is seen hiking in steep mountain terrain, with extraordinary views over the sea, and at other times ploughing through the waves on dinghies to remote locations (drenched by the sea spray and enjoying it!) accompanying scientists and divers on their expeditions.

“You have to be there to see it to understand it…”, he conveys with determination.

No amateur engagement this, the team of scientists and experts in every discipline of the marine life and the sea are among the best in Europe, if not the world (as attested by visiting scientists in Monaco to view the film).

Prince and the sea
Prince Albert II with the journalist Christine Oberdorff @

And the scientific discoveries continue with surprise findings of the role lizards may play in pollination. The biologists are trying to decide which specimens to protect to stop them becoming extinct. The Yersin expedition also involved locals whose expertise and instincts just cannot be replaced by technology and outside scientists.

Sobering facts:

1 million birds and 10000 sea mammals are killed every year by pollution.

By 2050 it is estimated there will be more pieces of plastic than fish in the sea.

There are 5000 Marine Reserves as part of a United Nations goal to protect the Oceans but this represents less than a third of the United Nations target. The sea gives us so much and we are destroying it. We are shown how these Marine Reserves can provide a good compromise of the goals to protect our environment and support local fishermen. For example, fish grow up in a protected area and later they swim to area where fisherman are allowed to fish – a sustainable solution.

Prince and the sea

Despite the challenges facing our oceans, there is a thread of optimism throughout the film every time you see children, whether it be at the Ecole Bleu in Monaco or in the Madeiras or in Cape Verde. The future is very much about children and education and awareness and the kids are seen to be enthusiastically participating in marine activities and learning about marine life – ambassadors in waiting no doubt.

The film ends with a strong message and with a touching scene with Prince Albert and the young Prince Jacques. You can sense the baton being passed down the generations; love the sea, engage with it in a sustainable way, study it, protect it and mobilize the world to do the same. Our blue planet depends on it.

Watch it if for no other reason than to see the beautiful scenes of divers in “doray” suits, looking like majestic blue rays, and watch the magnificent endangered monk seals plunging to the sea floor. Andwhen you have enjoyed watching this broadcast, then you will no doubt be highly motivated to visit the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco to see the photography exhibit showcasing Monaco Explorations’ first mission to Macaronesia. The photos are magnificent and beautifully displayed. Education and entertainment within easy reach on the Rock.

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