expedition Deep Dutch Caribbean

Hundreds of feet beneath the clear blue surface of the Dutch Caribbean lie pristine deep ocean reefs yet to be explored by man. These reefs serve as biodiversity hotbeds and could hold the answers to many unanswered scientific questions.

Travel aboard the R/V Chapman, a Curaçao-based scientific research vessel, to the uninhabited islands of Klein Curaçao and neighboring Bonaire. World renowned marine scientists from Smithsonian, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Naturalis Biodiversity Center will lead you- the Adventurer- on scientific missions using a state-of-the art manned submersible, the Curasub, to explore the islands’ uncharted depths of up to 1000ft.


Expedition Deep Dutch Caribbean will be led by scientists from Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Naturalis Biodiversity Center. Get to know a few of our featured scientists.


Dr. Carole Baldwin is Curator of Fishes and Chair of the Department of Vertebrate Zoology at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and director of the museum’s Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP), a marine research initiative that aims to explore and monitor long-term changes in poorly studied tropical deep-reef ecosystems. Her face will be familiar to any of you who have seen the 3-D IMAX film, Galapagos, for which she was a scientific advisor and on-air talent.

Dr. Baldwin’s DROP research has resulted in the discovery of over 7 new genera and 60 new species of fishes and invertebrates and the identification of a previously unrecognized deep-reef zone below the mesophotic, which Baldwin and colleagues named the rariphotic. In the inaugural expedition, Dr. Baldwin will utilize the Curasub to explore the deep Dutch Caribbean, focusing on diversity and eco-evolution of Caribbean reef fishes through integrative genetic and morphological investigation.

Dr. David I. Kline

Dr. David I. Kline is an Associate Research Biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He is a coral reef ecologist who studies the fate of coral reefs in a rapidly changing world. He studies coral reefs from the molecular to ecosystem scales using novel conservation technologies. Dr. Kline is gaining new insights into the mechanisms for corals’ response to stress to develop new strategies for protecting corals and coral reef ecosystems. 

Dr. Kline regularly collaborates with engineers, computer scientists, chemists, and other scientists to find new and ingenious ways to protect the future of coral reefs. These conservation technologies include an underwater time machine (called the FUTURE FOCE) that uses sensor arrays and computer controlled dosing pumps to determine how reefs will cope with future environmental stress including ocean acidification, warming and pollution. Dr. Kline has also worked with computer vision scientists to develop a machine learning system that uses facial recognition technologies to automate the analysis of coral reef survey photographs and videos (Coral Net). With Uncharted Blue Dr. Kline will use his automated machine learning system (Coral Net) to document the health of the shallow and mesophotic reefs of Curaçao and begin to plan deployment of his underwater FUTURE FOCE time machine.

Prof. Dr. Nicole de Voogd

Prof. Dr. Nicole de Voogd is a marine ecologist and taxonomist who studies the important role sponges play in reef systems. She works with an interdisciplinary team to explore the relationship between sponges and their associated microbial communities, and how this interaction contributes to reef health and discovery of nature-inspired therapeutics. Prof. Dr. de Voogd obtained her PhD at the University of Amsterdam and has been working as a Senior Marine Biodiversity Researcher at Naturalis Biodiversity Center since 2004.

Prof. Dr. de Voogd has extensively studied sponge-microbial dynamics in shallow coral reef ecosystems around the world, and looks forward to exploring this interaction in the shallow and deep reef systems in the Dutch Caribbean. In the inaugural expedition, Prof. Dr. de Voogd will use the Curasub to explore this untapped resource for new therapeutic discoveries and knowledge to inform future reef policies and management practices.



The Curasub is a submersible designed with the ocean explorers’ experience in mind. As an expert pilot descends the reefs to 1,000ft (300m) below the ocean’s surface, up to three explorers and a scientist enjoy an enhanced viewing experience through a 40” front dome window and two side windows. The Curasub is equipped with high definition cameras, hydraulic manipulator arms and collecting arms enabling scientists to conduct innovative research alongside explorers in previously uncharted ocean depths. Past Curasub explorers include students, tourists, world renowned scientists, and distinguished guests.

The R/V Chapman is the 127ft (39m) research mothership for the deep-diving Curasub. Chapman Expeditions purchased the former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries vessel in 2008 and extensively renovated the vessel with comfort and function in mind. The R/V Chapman features nicely accommodated staterooms with queen beds and private bathrooms for up to four explorer pairs along with additional staterooms for scientists and crew. Outfitted with laboratories, two support boats, a scuba compressor and a 110-ton knuckle boom crane to launch and retrieve the Curasub, the R/V Chapman is well appointed to lead expeditions across the Caribbean. R/V Chapman has embarked on several scientific expeditions including Bonaire (2013 & 2017), Dominica (2016), St. Eustatius & Saba (2017), Klein Curaçao, and multiple sites along Curaçao’s coast.



Klein Curaçao


From Willemstad, Curaçao

Two Curasub Dives


July 7-11, July 11-15

August 18 -22, Augut 22-26

November 3-7, November 7-11


Klein Curaçao & Bonaire

One way

Willemstad, Curaçao to/from Kralendijk, Bonaire

Three Curasub Dives