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Sailors might be unfamiliar with the Alborán Sea. Yet this vast waterway between Gibraltar, Spain, Morocco and Algeria acts as the gateway to the entire Mediterranean, where over 95% of luxury yachts will cruise at some point during their lifespan. Crucially, as the Alborán Sea descends to 1,500m, it acts as a gyre. Meaning it rotates monumental currents of water, producing a feeding circle for loggerhead turtles, swordfish and dwarf sperm whales.


Fortunately the Alborán Sea has been declared one of nearly 100 Hope Spots by Mission Blue, the marine protection agency founded by oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle. The project to safeguard the sea has serious backing. National Geographic promotes Mission Blue to its 6.5 million readers. Google has encouraged ocean awareness by incorporating Hope Spots into its popular maps.


In 2019 Camper & Nicholsons became the first and only yachting firm to partner with Mission Blue. Guests are now able to navigate towards a Hope Spot by overlaying their charter itinerary on Google Earth. For example, groups cruising through the Greek Islands can ask their broker to include Vatika Bay near the island of Kythira. In this Hope Spot, deep sea ridges form shelter for dolphins and monk seals. Nearer the surface, giant fan clams surround the 5,000-year-old sunken city of Pavlopetri. By interacting with the undersea world through diving, paddleboarding or wildlife spotting from deck, guests can become inspired to champion local environmental needs.


Camper & Nicholsons guests are rarely first time charterers. They increasingly request immersive experiences that Mission Blue’s Hope Spots can provide. A case in point is the Indonesian island of Misool. Marine protection has helped this 1,200 square kilometre site increase fish biomass by 250%, as turtle egg collection and cyanide fishing have been strictly prohibited. Which allows sailors to revel in an ocean wilderness hosting 1,500 fish species and 500 types of coral, plus dugongs, bryde's whales and orca pups. Opportunities abound for guests to interact with ocean spokespersons including naturalists, diving guides and fishermen who depend upon sustainable stocks. By using a new app, charter groups also can familiarise themselves with local ecology before they set sail.  


By acting as a mouthpiece for Mission Blue, Camper & Nicholsons can raise ocean awareness among all stakeholders. Owners, guests and shipyard directors rank among the most influential people on our planet. Their understanding of how finning culls 100 million sharks each year thereby devastating the food chain, or why Pacific bluefin tuna stocks have dwindled by 97%, can empower them with the knowledge to help. It might come in the form of switching charter itineraries to patronise newly protected marine areas. And asking local agencies how the luxury yachting industry can assist. Or even adding sensory collection equipment to new superyachts to collate environmental change. As we become better aware of our oceans, we can better understand how its future belongs to us all.

Hope Spots
Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean