The first images of a coelacanth brought back by a diver at -120m and scientific protocols set up in situ.

  • Diving to -120m
  • First images of coelacanth by a diver
  • 40-day expedition
  • Jesser canyon, Sodwana bay, South Africa

The 2013 Gombessa expedition follows an initial confidential expedition in 2009 to verify the presence of coelacanths in the canyon. The first coelacanth was observed 10 years earlier by South African diver Peter Timm. It took several years for Laurent and his team to be ready for the extremely challenging dives off the Sodwana coast. After a second mission in 2010, this third expedition brings together divers and researchers to study the coelacanth in its environment. This fish, called “Gombessa” in the Comoros, is a true legend, a living fossil. To dive with it is to go back in time.

  • The expedition focused on 3 main areas

Scientific research : Implementation of the first in situ scientific protocols on the coelacanth in partnership with the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris and scientists from the University of Liège, Belgium: DNA sampling, study of its swimming by 3D modeling of its pedunculated fins, installation of a beacon on a specimen.

2 new fish species discovered

Scientific publication in Science

Performance : dives to -120m for research and illustration (photography and video)

Never-before-seen images : First-ever images of a coelacanth and its ecosystem brought back by a diver. 90′ film for ARTE “Cœlacanthe, plongée vers nos origines” and the only photographic book devoted to the coelacanth to date “Gombessa, à la rencontre du cœlacanthe”.