Today we've updated our Ocean Expeditions layer in the Ocean folder in Google Earth. Each ship icon represents the most recent post from either a live expedition or one within the last 6 months (look for the yellow-filled ship icon) or the post from the beginning of a historical expedition (look for the blue-filled ship icon). We have over 40 Ocean Expeditions including historical tracks from National Geographic's Ocean Now Pristine Seas Expedition, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, MBARI, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Cousteau Society, the Census of Antarctic Marine Life, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

We recently added the US Coast Guard Healy arctic icebreaker expedition (see images), followed the Scripps Seaplex expedition to the Pacific garbage patch, and tracked Roz Savage on the second leg of her solo global row from Hawaii to Tarawa, a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean midway between Hawaii and Australia, where she arrived September 9th. You can click on any expedition and from that balloon, download the entire expedition by clicking the right arrow in the bottom right of the balloon. Follow along as scientists and explorers discover hydrothermal vents, coral reefs and strange, deep sea creatures.

In particular, check out our new live expeditions:

  • National Geographic has recently begun their Ocean Now expedition to Cocos Island in Costa Rica. From their ship blog, you can read about their mission to explore this pristine reef area, the first post from explorer Enric Sala, and you can follow their latest photos and videos in geographic context from their Expedition Maps site using Google Maps and the Google Earth plugin. Watch a video of explorer Sylvia Earle's sub dive where she met "Georgina", a hawksbill sea turtle.
  • The Antinea Foundation is sponsoring the Changing Oceans Expedition, a ten-year journey through the world's most important marine areas allowing scientists to do Research, communicators to Educate and anyone to follow along virtually online. You can come along using Google Earth (download the kml pointer here) or on the expedition website, where they have the embedded Google Earth plugin. Those on the expedition will explore, study and fully share ocean discoveries, day by day, moment by moment, through this new, interactive media. Over the course of a decade the Changing Oceans Expedition ship, Fleur de Passion, will sail to 100 of the ocean's most important sites, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, spending 2009 in the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic, and in Croatia.

Open this kml in Google Earth and discover for yourself. Check back to the blog soon to hear directly from someone currently on one of the featured expeditions - Sylvia Earle herself!