On-board Diary: One Frame at a Time: Documenting the 2006 Ranger Expedition

Author: Cory Wilson
Date: May 17, 2006



I found myself aboard the Oceana Ranger after a flight from Brussels and a train from Milan to Santa Margherita, Italy. I´m here, not as a scientist or a campaigner, but as a photographer and documentarian complimenting our crew of underwater photographers and videographers, whilst remaining dry on the deck.

In Washington, DC, where I live and work, I typically capture a different side of Oceana. I spend my time filming our staff as they push Oceana´s international movement to protect the oceans through policy, direct action, and other media.

I feel very privileged to have been invited to join the crew for part of this year’s expedition. The Ranger is a unique place. Its crew is international, multilingual, and encompasses everything from a cook and a captain, to an underwater videographer to a campaign director. I capture on camera and through video, events as they unfold: while the rest of the crew is preparing for a dive or a meal or as they dive beneath the Mediterranean.

I am not a diver. I am not a scientist. I am an artist. I am a documentarian. What I know about our oceans is a product of my experiences working with Oceana so far. I am an example of what it’s like for someone to see the corals and other sea life we are capturing, look with open eyes, digest them, understand them, and begin to realize what is happening beneath my reflection.

Not being able to see and experience sea life first hand makes it hard for everyone, not just myself, to understand the consequences of humanity´s impact on the oceans – a global impact unlike no other. But to see the beautiful underwater pictures taken by the Ranger crew is an experience by itself. To contrast this with images of the ocean floor after a bottom trawler has passed over the area, indiscriminately destroying fragile corals leaves me gasping for air in disbelief at the unnecessary destruction. Seeing and understanding these two starkly contrasting experiences gives me the perspective, understanding and motivation I have to take action. I now see, even more than before, the importance of showing, visually, what is happening to our oceans because of destructive fishing, pollution, and other human impacts.

I can only work as hard as possible and hope that the role I play in saving our oceans from ourselves is making a positive impact in the future health of our greatest resource. I hope everyone out there will be inspired to become an Oceana Wavemaker and join us in helping to save the world´s oceans.