Let’s go on a journey through a world we are connected to every day but rarely have the opportunity to explore! We will get up close with whales, explore underwater landscapes, and push the limits on the human body, all in a single breath.

We are surrounded by oceans and lakes with remarkable landscapes of their own hidden below the surface. Often unexplored, they are the world of animals, and maybe, those of us who are brave enough to dive in. So what if we could go along for a trip into these most beautiful and remote places hidden right beyond our shores?

Would we have a greater appreciation for our vast blue world?

Let’s see.

Sometimes, you don’t need — or want — an introduction to something incredible. Sometimes, you just need to suspend your disbelief and dive into the awe-inspiring.

One Breath Around the World is one of those experiences that is better left untainted by introductions. It is the odyssey of human and ocean, a captivating journey that takes us around the globe through landscapes that seem almost out of this world.

I’ll let you catch your breath.

“Idea is to try to reconnect humans with the water, with the ocean, and with the underwater world” — Guillaume Néry

If you are like us when we first watched this you probably had a few questions. Is he really holding his breath? Where is he? Are those whales real? What was it like to swim with them? How do you get these images?

It turns out there are remarkable answers to each one of those questions. First, let’s start with the people behind this film. The diver featured here is world record freediver Guillaume Néry. As a freediving athlete, Guillaume can dive 125 meters (413 feet) without an external breathing apparatus. He has trained himself mentally and physically to be able to reach these depths by holding his breath for up to 7 minutes. Freedivers are capable of truly remarkable feats of the “impossible” and as you can see from this film, they can lead you to some extraordinary places.

Behind the camera is his wife, Julie Gautier, who is also a freediving record breaker in her own right. You may expect that she shoots underwater with a breathing apparatus, but no, indeed she, too is freediving as she films Guillaume. In an interview with National Geographic she was asked why she shot the film while freediving:

“We just started filming on breath hold, and we found out that it was making our images special because, of course, also I’m so free in the water. I can go so fast. I can follow Guillaume wherever he goes. “ 2

So what about swimming with sperm whales?

Well, I was able to find a great interview with Guillaume where he spoke with Kethevane Gorjestani of The Interview about his experience making the film, and some of the backstory behind it.

I can hardly paraphrase Guillaume’s perspective on the film. But this interview takes us inside his vision for the film and gives us a look behind the massive effort it took to make One Breath Around the World possible.

Longtime readers of Ever Widening Circles may remember we wrote an article about the music video he starred in, set to a Beyonce song. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a must watch!

5 minutes

Beyonce and Free Diving Create Music Video Wonder

What happens when Beyonce's vocals team up with a mind bending underwater music video?

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You can also check out some of the phenomenal images from this film and other projects by Guillaume on his Instagram, and Julie on hers.

“Idea is to try to reconnect humans with the water, with the ocean, and with the underwater world.”
—Guillaume Néry.

Think about this: over 95% of the world’s oceans are unexplored. Humans have only seen 5% of our oceans’ depths! 4

How are we supposed to get people excited about saving our planet’s oceans and caring what happens to the millions of species that call them home, if most of us are so unfamiliar with them! It’s hard to care what happens miles beyond our shores, and yet, this is where our pollution piles up. This is where our noise pollution puts stressors on some of our planet’s most remarkable gentile giants, the whales. And this is where we overfish and put populations of species at risk.

It’s easy to get people riled up about the problems happening in our own back yards. Better yet, if we can see the impact we are having. But for places far away, and problems that seem “too big” for us to touch, we can start to lose steam.

A film like One Breath Around the World makes this world we so often forget to care about more tangible for us all. Like seeing a human step foot on the moon for the first time, watching a person explore these otherworldly landscapes, makes them more real.

Ocean exploration isn’t just fascinating, it’s vital to understanding the health of our planet!

Our oceans impact the weather, the food systems of countless ecosystems (including our own), and make like on this planet possible.

Exploring the oceans is critical to developing a worldwide understanding of their importance to our health and the health of the species we share this planet with. It is the unexplored territory laying right outside our doors.

Want to know a little more about the wonder of those Sperm Whales? We wrote an amazing article about them and another extraordinary free diver who has devoted his work to sorting out how sperm whales are communicating!

25 minutes

Sperm Whales’ Clicks are Expanding Possibility!

What if sperm whales are communicating with language far more complex than we are? Could our view of ourselves change if we learn that they may be as capable of future planning, reasoning, and emotions like love and empathy? These mysteries are beginning to be unraveled!

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If you’d like to learn more about ocean exploration and why it’s so vital to our collective future, I suggest you check out this great piece! It features a talk from the oceanographer Robert Ballard that makes a great case for why we should take this kind of science more seriously!

25 minutes

Underwater Exploration: The New Frontier

We know more about the face of mars than our own ocean floor! Today's EWC article inspires us to completely rethink the exploration of the amazing depths of our own planet!

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Finally, if you were inspired by this film to learn more about the health of our oceans and support ocean exploration, go check out the NOAA website. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is leading the way on vital research about our oceans and the role they play in the health of our planet!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

What influence has the ocean had on your life?

Share your stories with us — and the whole EWC community — on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram! Use the #itsstillanamazingworld in your post and tag us to connect!

Notes:

  1. Néry, Guillaume. “One Breath Around The World.” YouTube, Guillaume Néry, 1 Feb. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnvQggy3Ezw. Accessed 15 May 2019.
  2. Olcott, Mike. “This Freediving Couple Reveals the World Underwater like Never before.” National Geographic, 26 Apr. 2019, www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/2019/04/freedivers-guillaume-nery-julie-gautier-one-breath-around-world/. Accessed 20 May 2019.
  3. FRANCE 24 English. “’One Breath Around The World’: Freediver Guillaume Néry Takes Us on a Deep Water Journey.” YouTube, FRANCE 24 English, 2 Apr. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=11&v=9hwWpnQ9r2c. Accessed 21 May 2019.
  4. US Department of Commerce, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “How Much of the Ocean Have We Explored?” NOAA’s National Ocean Service, 1 Jan. 2009, oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/exploration.html. Accessed 21 May 2019.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV