Heroes of the Mediterranean
Marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer Manu San Félix has dedicated over 30 years of his life to studying the Mediterranean Sea and fighting to protect it. From Formentera, the island where he lives, he is witness to the degradation it has suffered in the last decades. That is why he embarks on a journey across the waters of the Spanish Mediterranean to explore its state, find solutions to the alarming natural degradation, and prevent more serious consequences. In this adventure, Manu will have prominent allies, experts on the Mediterranean Sea who share his concerns. For example, Pierre-Yves Cousteau, son of Jacques Cousteau and named “Citizen of the Sea” by the United Nations, with whom he will discover dead zones on the seabed as a result of the dumping of black water in Ses Salines National Park, a natural, underwater paradise located between the islands of Ibiza and Formentera, protected by the Balearic Parliament and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Apart from Cousteau, San Félix shares experiences and searches for solutions alongside experts in marine conservation, such as National Geographic Explorer in Residence Enric Sala, whom San Félix has accompanied in expeditions financed by the NG Society, such as the Pristine Seas Project, destined to restoring seabeds around the world; professor and investigator Carlos Duarte; Spanish National Research Council investigator Enric Ballesteros; or Emilio Cortés, University of Murcia Museum expert. The experiences of those who have witnessed the degradation of these waters are also very important. This is the case of a fisherman in the Spanish Costa Brava, with whom Manu meets to learn about his memories of the Mediterranean Sea 60 years ago, when it was much cleaner, something that a 1940 film that they watch together proves. In his search for solutions, San Félix follows the coast all the way to Andalusia to visit one of the most surprising chefs in the world, Sevillian Ángel León, owner and Head Chef of Aponiente, a restaurant located in El Puerto de Santa María, in Cádiz, who has been awarded three Michelin stars and is known as the “Chef of the Sea.” He is an innovative chef whose style isn’t just causing a culinary revolution, but also one in fishing, thanks to new techniques that now make it possible to use food that used to be considered disposable. Manu’s goal is to send a message of hope and to raise awareness so that we can revert this situation and save the Mediterranean.