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Life doesn’t get much bet­ter than this: It is Novem­ber 2015 and I’m stand­ing in the breezy sun­shine on the roof ter­race of Monaco’s Oceano­graphic Mu­seum, over­look­ing the glit­ter­ing Mediter­ranean Sea. I’ve just had an ex­cel­lent veg­e­tar­ian lunch (the French re­ally do know their food), over which I got stuck into heady con­ver­sa­tion about ma­rine conservation with a tal­ented young film­maker, a prince, and the head of a ma­rine conservation NGO. We are about to head down­stairs to hear the charis­matic power cou­ple of conservation pho­tog­ra­phy, Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mit­ter­meier, give a pre­sen­ta­tion about the launch of their new or­gan­i­sa­tion, Sea Le­gacy.

To­mor­row I’m in­ter­view­ing

“Her Deep­ness” Sylvia Earle; I’ll be watch­ing the ex­tra­or­di­nary new of­fer­ing from the di­rec­tor of The

Cove, Louie Psi­hoyos’ im­pas­sioned doc­u­men­tary Rac­ing Ex­tinc­tion; and I have an awards pre­sen­ta­tion din­ner to go to, dur­ing which I will be sit­ting with the pro­duc­ers of the BBC’s new doc­u­men­tary se­ries, Oceans.

No, it’s not a dream. I’m at the Blue Ocean Film Fes­ti­val and Conservation Sum­mit 2015 in Monaco. It is four days of to­tal im­mer­sion in the world of wa­ter and the is­sues sur­round­ing our most pre­cious ecosys­tems. Four days of in­tense in­ter­ac­tion with peo­ple at the fore­front of the fight to save life in the oceans. Four days – long, in­spir­ing, ex­haust­ing days – dur­ing which emerg­ing, pas­sion­ate tal­ent gets min­gles with some of the world’s most re­spected and in­flu­en­tial peo­ple in ma­rine conservation, film­mak­ing and Na­ture pho­tog­ra­phy, show­cas­ing their work along­side that of the most es­tab­lished names in the in­dus­try.

Ev­ery film is ex­tra­or­di­nary; days are spent ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a tu­mul­tuous riot of emo­tion in the re­gal dark­ness of the Mu­seum’s ball­room. We watch hi­lar­i­ous an­i­mated shorts that bring deep ocean sci­ence and ex­plo­ration to life, danc­ing cetaceans and sharks cap­tured as pure cin­e­matic art, nail-bit­ing tales of ex­plo­ration in the Arc­tic, and we are re­peat­edly ex­posed to the heart­break­ing re­al­ity of the se­ri­ous­ness of the threats fac­ing our wa­tery world.

Ev­ery at­tendee agrees that they leave the Blue Ocean Film Fes­ti­val and Conservation Sum­mit in Monaco reen­er­gised, and we all emerge ready to re­join the world and keep spread­ing the word about our ex­tra­or­di­nary blue planet, and the need to pro­tect the life that calls it home.

Clock­wise from top left: Paul Nicklen in­tro­duces Sea Le­gacy; Louie Psi­hoyos and Sylvia Earle con­fers the Blue Le­gacy Award on Pres­i­dent Tong of Kiri­bati, here with Greg Stone of Conservation In­ter­na­tional; the Oceano­graphic Mu­seum of Monaco

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