Ice cold journey with H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco

Ice cold journey with H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco

Since I was a kid I constantly travelled because my parents worked in different countries. I loved to travel and I was always excited when we did it by car. It gave me the opportunity to see and discover new places. 

Travelling as such sticked with me because it offers me a sense of positive feeling every time when I discover a new place, return to an old memory or to reunite with those who are important for my heart. Thanks to Covid-19, 2020 year was the first time when my travel opportunities were limited.

I also missed this winter the sensation of the pure white, half-meter big snow, something that I planned to show my goddaughter last year. Therefore, and as we just passed the winter season, I wanted to talk about two amazing stories related to the Principality of Monaco.

Many people identify the Principality of Monaco with its glamorous lifestyle, but very few know that Monaco is filled with explorers and thanks to them, with a rich history dating back to centuries. Let me highlight two of them.

Firstly, the story we already told in details in the Autumn/Winter 2020 edition of the magazine, that one of the brave musicians who died during the sinking of the legendary Titanic ship was Roger Marie Léon Joseph Bricoux, a resident of the Principality of Monaco. 

He was just 20 years old when he died, but Bricoux became one of the legendary Titanic musicians, a cello player who never left the sinking ship and continuously played on his cello during the sinking of the Titanic. 

Bricoux and his fellow band members played music to help keep the passengers calm as the crew loaded the lifeboats. Many of the survivors said that he and the band continued to play until the very end. 

Secondly, I would like to highlight Albert Honoré Charles Grimaldi with his fascinating explorations and adventures. He was mostly known as the Explorer Prince, or as H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco. He devoted much of his life to oceanography, exploration and science. In fact the Monaco Glacier is named after him. It is a vast wall of ice that can be heard groaning and cracking as it slowly slides into the sea. The Monaco Glacier is also known as “Monacobreen”, “Glacier de Monaco” and “Liefde Bay-bræ”. 

Ice cold journey with H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco

At 22 years old, H.S.H. Prince Albert I of Monaco embarked on a career in the then relatively new science of oceanography. Understanding the importance of the relationship between living creatures and their environment, he devised a number of techniques and instruments for measurement and exploration. Albert I was also the “instigator and promulgator” of the oceanographic science he contributed to create. He founded the Institut Océanographique, Foundation Albert I, Prince of Monaco in 1906, a private foundation recognized for its public utility. It has two buildings: The Oceanographic Institute of Paris, now renamed Ocean House, and what became the world-renowned Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. This includes an aquarium, a museum, and a library with research facilities in Paris.

I believe there is no Monaco resident who has not been at least once in the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. Personally, I truly appreciate the place and also the effort that they do for educating the younger generation. 

For instance, I had a private sea life tackling experience there with my goddaughter where she learned about, fed and tackled sea creatures such as baby sharks.

For this reason, I believe I am not wrong if I state that the initiation of H.S.H. Prince Albert I of Monaco is among the most significant institutions in the Principality of Monaco with long lasting effects over generations.

He got his nickname “Prince of the Sea” thanks to an incredible urge to explore the depths of the world’s oceans throughout his many expeditions and his enormous contribution to the development of Oceanography. 

The Prince has a total of 28 expeditions to the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea to his credit. 

He owned four, increasingly impressive research yachts, Hirondelle, Princesse Alice, Princesse Alice II and Hirondelle II. Accompanied by some of the world’s leading marine scientists, he travelled the length and breadth of the Mediterranean, making numerous oceanographic studies, maps and charts. 

In 1896, on an oceanographic survey of the Azores, he discovered the Princess Alice Bank, a submerged seamount. The bank was named after the oceanographic campaign of H.S.H. Prince Albert I of Monaco, whose research vessel Princess Alice was involved in its discovery on 9 July 1896.

From an early age, Prince Albert I of Monaco evidenced a strong fascination for the polar regions. In the years 1898-1907 he made four scientific cruises to Svalbard on his yacht Princesse Alice. 

His efforts are honored by the naming of Albert I Land on Spitsbergen.

The achievements and exploration activities of H.S.H. Prince Albert I of Monaco are also very interesting for me from a personal viewpoint as well.

A few years ago I had a chance to meet with a man called Jamal Qureshi who actually lives in Svalbard, a place deeply related to the Principality of Monaco and just footsteps away from the famous Monaco Glacier.

Despite the fact that Jamal lives under the Northern lights as a neighbour of Santa Claus, he also drives an amazing business related to the Arctic.

Do you remember the taste of pure white snow? The taste when as children we first lifted our hands to catch the purest falling snow to taste it with our tongue? Well, Jamal definitely does because his premium polar iceberg water brand, Svalbarði, brings us back those childhood memories.

Sailing the same ocean routes as the Explorer Prince, Svalbarði’s task is to collect the icebergs that have already fallen into the ocean which will otherwise soon melt. Collecting these icebergs is an important and environmentally responsible task to protect the environment against sea level rise. 

Svalbard has strict environmental rules protecting nature and local wildlife, so Svalbarði – a certified carbon neutral company that goes beyond to carbon negative – has been sure to strictly follow all environmental regulations for this new activity of iceberg gathering. It does so by avoiding sensitive areas that could disturb wildlife.

For four years now, Jamal’s aim has been to bring Svalbard even closer to Monaco and the world. This is why he created Svalbarði’s premium polar water which comes directly from the harvested pieces of Norwegian icebergs that are up to 4,000 years old.

While Svalbarði offers a “light as air” taste of pristine ice that has been locked up for millennia, also consumers create a positive impact on the environment and society. With each bottle of Svalbarði polar iceberg water sold, the company supports carbon reducing projects such as a project for improved local water supply infrastructure in Eritrea, Uganda, Rwanda, and Malawi.

I decided to mention this because Monaco’s relation to Svalbard is rarely known and because I also often drink Svalbarði polar water, not just to help our planet but also to help our society’s needs. 

Being the editor of the Monaco Residents’ Magazine and author of multiple books, gave me the possibility to talk and meet with thousands of Monaco residents over the past decade. 

People come to the Principality for various reasons, but the quality of life is usually among the top three choices. Yes, we are extremely privileged to live in a place where “life is good”. However, while we are living a great quality of life we have the opportunity to provide and care for others as well. Something that is becoming more and more important in our world.

If you are interested in discovering more about the  Explorer  Prince,  please  note  that  H.S.H.  Prince Albert I has released a book on the results of his expeditions. It was published under the title “The Navigator’s path” and was very popular. Also, a comic book, called “Albert I the Explorer Prince” was published in 2018.

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