Human Planet Explorer
Humans are always out of their depth in water but that hasn’t stopped us from turning the oceans to our advantage. Swimming, surfing, fishing, travelling – we engage with the ocean in any number of ways. But the ocean is a capricious mistress, bountiful one moment and terrifyingly deadly the next.
Photo from Human Planet
The Bajau people in Sabah, Borneo spend almost all their lives at sea, some are able to free-dive 20m to the bottom of the reef to search for fish.
Slow motion shots from inside a giant ocean wave.
This super slow-motion clip from South Pacific shows big wave surfer Dylan Longbottom in a 12-foot monster barrel. Capturing the action at 20 times slower than normal speed, the film also shows the awesome power of the waves from underwater, the first shots of their kind ever recorded.
Expert shark caller Selam Kirisibe passes his shark hunting knowledge onto his grandson.
One of the few remaining expert shark callers, Selam Kirisibe passes his knowledge onto his grandson about how to hunt sharks, giving us a unique glimpse into this tradition.
Free diver Tanya Streeter travels to Indonesia to meet the Bajau people.
Free diver Tanya Streeter travels to a remote corner of Indonesia to meet the Bajau people, where free diving is not a sport, but a fundamental part of culture.
A look at the traditional voyaging canoes and navigation techniques of the Lapita people.
A look at the traditional voyaging canoes and navigation techniques that the Lapita people once used to travel deep into the Pacific Ocean.
Seyi Rhodes visits the 'sea gypsies' who have lived on the ocean near the Philippines for centuries.
Seyi Rhodes visits the 'sea gypsies' who have lived on the ocean near the Philippines for centuries. This old culture is facing very modern challenges.
Andy Kershaw goes fishing with the singing shark caller, who attempts to lure sharks with a repertory of songs.
Andy Kershaw goes fishing with Blais, the singing shark caller from Tembin Village, who attempts to lure sharks with a unique repertory of songs.
Lucy Duran visits the coastal city of Salvador da Bahia to learn about the Camdombl� religion practiced on the seashore.
Lucy Duran visits the coastal city of Salvador da Bahia to learn about the Camdombl� religion practiced on the seashore where the sea and music are crucial to the liturgy.
Andy Kershaw encounters a Deep Sea Canoe Movement on the paradise island of Malaita in the Solomon Islands.
Andy Kershaw encounters a Deep Sea Canoe Movement, a community who are dedicated to continuous, 24 hours a day, worship on the paradise island of Malaita in the Solomon Islands.
The world’s seas and oceans support nearly half of all species on Earth but we aren’t one of them. We can’t drink the salt water, walk on the surface, or breathe in it. Yet against all odds we’ve managed to carve a niche for ourselves in this most alien of environments. Now, over one-third of the total human population, nearly 2.4 billion people, lives within 100 km (60 miles) of an oceanic coast.
Few peoples have a deeper connection with the sea than the Bajau Laut of South-East Asia. Sometimes known as “sea gypsies”, they live in house boats or stilt houses built on top of coral reefs and when they do spend the occasional night on solid ground they often report feeling ‘landsick’.
Malaysia’s best Bajau free-divers can dive to depths of over 20 metres and stay there for several minutes on a single breath as they go in search of fish. And as if that weren’t enough, studies on some “sea gypsy” children from Thailand and Burma show that they have unusually good underwater-vision because their eyes have adapted to the liquid environment.
The Bajau Laut’s livelihood is traditionally totally dependent on the resources of the sea so spear-fishing is vitally important to them, but different cultures have very different ways of catching fish.
In the waters off Laguna in Brazil, fishermen have forged an extraordinary partnership with one of the smartest animals on the planet. Here the local fishermen use dolphins to drive shoals of mullet into their nets. When the fish are within catching distance, the dolphins leap out of the water as sign to the fishermen that they should now throw their nets. The dolphins then pick off the mullet as they break rank to escape from the nets.
But the ocean isn’t just about food. In ancient Hawaii, chiefs used surfing competitions to show off their power and prowess. Nowadays big-wave surfers do the same, monitoring conditions around the world to ensure they are in the right place at the right time when the giants come rolling in.
If only all our relationships with the sea were so benign. Sadly, it is now estimated that we may have removed as much as 90% of the oceans’ large fish. And since the oceans absorb 50% of the carbon dioxide that we release into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, we are continually increasing the acidification of the oceans.