At this point, is there anything Richard Branson won’t do? Probably not.
Branson and Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed explorer Jacques Cousteau, will dive deep into the inky blue depths of the Great Blue Hole off the coast of Belize, all in the name of science. And luckily for everyone, the pair will be streaming their expedition live with the Discovery Channel.
“This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known as one of the most amazing places on Earth,” Branson said in a video announcing the trip. “We all share the common goal of conserving and protecting our beautiful global ocean.”
Truly, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime look at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole, as divers who venture to the popular destination typically only dive about 130 feet. However, it goes much, much deeper than that. The Telegraph reported the hole is large enough to swallow two Boeing 747s “with room to spare.”
According to Belize.com, the hole’s exact measurements come in at approximately 984 feet across and 410 feet deep. It is the world’s largest natural formation of its kind.
The team, The Telegraph noted, is hoping to not only bring attention to ocean conservation, but to also gather high-resolution footage and data on the hole including water quality at varying depths and bacterial activity. They are also hoping to gain further information about the oxygen-depleted layer at the hole’s floor. This, according to The Telegraph, could provide more clues to the environmental forces that may have led to the fall of the Mayan civilization.
In case you’re not sold on canceling your plans to watch the dive, just read this description of the hole by Glyn Collinson, a NASA scientist who personally dove in before:
“It was the deepest, deep blue hole imaginable; A chasm that fell away deep into the deep, dark blue. It had been forged out of solid rock as caverns, hundreds of thousands of years ago during the last ice age. For eons, water filtered through the rock and into these great stone cathedrals, breeding multicolored stalactites and stalagmites. Then, one by one they collapsed in on each other, creating a chasm four hundred feet deep. As Earth’s swollen polar ice-caps receded, the warm Caribbean ocean swept in to fill the chasm with boiling white hands, the last rays of sunlight struck the chasm’s floor. Then, as the limestone broke down, it began to rain tiny fragments of rock, which slowly began to fill the great Blue Hole.”
In other words, this is going to be a seriously amazing adventure for Branson. Tune into the Discovery Channel to watch from 9 to 11 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2.