In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, an incredibly special guest explores the vast depths of the oceans uncovering mysteries, proving theories, and revealing artifacts that tell a story about the history of humankind.
And I got to talk to him via satellite phone as he was heading out to sea on his ship, Nautilus.
Oceanographer and marine geologist Bob Ballard has led nearly 160 deep-sea expeditions and worked with the Navy on top-secret missions throughout an underwater career spanning six decades. It all began with a love of California’s Mission Bay tide pools.
“Everyone's born with that flame of curiosity,” Bob says. “Every child is born a scientist, and yet the educational system can turn off that pilot light and kill it. So, I was lucky enough right when my pilot light was getting low, someone put their arm around me and said, "You can do it." Helped me through it. I had people all the way.”
He’s gone on to discover ships thought long lost and provide extraordinary new understandings and discoveries in marine geology, geophysics, biology, and chemistry.
He’s discovered new life-forms, traced ancient trade routes, developed robots that roam the ocean ﬂoor, and opened an amazing underwater world to kids through telepresence.
One of his astonishing contributions includes discovering a luxury steamship at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1985. That would be the RMS Titanic. It rests off the eastern coast of the Canadian province Newfoundland.
Now 79, he talks openly of his dyslexia, which he didn’t even know he had until a few years ago. He just thought his brain worked differently than other people’s. “I do not look at it as a disadvantage,” Bob says. “I look at it as an advantage. The rules inside the box were written by non-dyslexics and they were simply not fair. I live outside the box.”
His work continues with a brand-new adventure that just launched in July 2021. Bob put together a group of organizations that embarked on a 10-year $200 million federally funded study of the Pacific Ocean section what’s called the offshore Economic Exclusion Zone. This includes locations such as Guam and American Samoa.
“We own more land underwater than any nation on earth, and yet we have better maps of Mars than have of the United States of America,” Bob says. “Go figure.”
This expedition will map the water’s bottom and also study whole entire water column, from the shoreline to the abyss. You can even follow along to see what’s happening! Nautilus Live, Ocean Exploration Trust.
He chronicles his life in his new memoir, “Into The Deep: A Memoir from the Man Who Found Titanic” and in the new National Geographic documentary special, “Bob Ballard, An Explorer’s Life.”
“I’m in the process of fessing up,” he says in the documentary.
Bob’s scientific interests run the gamut from the volcanic, tectonic, and hydrothermal processes of the mid-ocean ridge to deep-sea archaeology and maritime history. As the National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Bob spearheads the Nautilus expeditions (open-ended voyages of ocean discovery) and shares his finds with the world through streaming video. Learn more about his experience and expeditions here.
Enjoy! And get more resources at Dave.Asprey/podcasts.
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