Oceans - Into the Blue

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Episode 1 of 8

Duration: 1 hour

As an air-breathing animal, the human is not built to survive in water. But people have found ways to live an almost aquatic life so they can exploit the sea's riches. From a 'shark-whisperer' in the Pacific to Brazilian fishermen collaborating with dolphins to catch mullet, this journey into the blue reveals astonishing tales of ingenuity and bravery.

Daredevil Galician barnacle-collectors defy death on the rocks for a catch worth £200 per kilo. In Indonesia an epic whale-hunt, using traditional hand-made boats and harpoons, brings in a sperm whale. The Bajau 'sea Gypsies' of the Sulu Sea spend so much time on water they get 'land sick' when they set foot on the land!

We dive 40 metres down to the dangerous world of the Pa-aling fishermen, where dozens of young men, breathing air through a tangled web of pipes attached to a diesel engine, capture thousands of fish in a vast net. We see how surfing has its origins in the ancient beliefs of the ocean-loving Polynesians, and we join a Borneo free-diving spear-fisherman on a breath-taking journey 20 metres down in search of supper.

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  • Oceans episode facts

    • Oceans and seas account for over 70% of the world’s surface area.

    • The oceans contain around 97% of all the water on Earth.

    • The oceans support the life of nearly 50% of all species on Earth.

    • Over one-third of the total human population, nearly 2.4 billion people, lives within 100 km (60 miles) of an oceanic coast.

    • One billion people rely on fish as an important source of protein. As many as 90% of all the ocean's large fish may have been fished out.

    • The oceans absorb 50% of the carbon dioxide humans release into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels for energy, as levels increase this leads to an increasing acidification of the oceans.

  • Human Planet – Oceans - Filming Pa-aling: Lost at sea

    Human Planet – Oceans - Filming Pa-aling: Lost at sea

    An insight into some of the challenges of filming at sea for the Human Planet Oceans episode. Producer/Director Tom Hugh-Jones shows us some of the highs and lows.

    Watch the lost at sea video
  • Ask Human Planet: Live Chat

    Ask Human Planet: Live Chat

    Relive the interactive chat with the makers of the series on 3 March 2011.

    Read the discussion
  • Tom Hugh-Jones Producer/Director Oceans and Jungles

    Tom Hugh-Jones Producer/Director Oceans and Jungles

    Ever since his anthropologist parents took toddler Tom to live with a tribe in the Amazon rainforest, he’s had a fixation with travelling to remote places. Since then, Tom’s spent as much time as possible travelling, finding weird animals and generally scrabbling around in the dirt. When he heard about Human Planet, he knew it would be perfect for him, bringing together his passion for natural history and anthropology. Aptly he was assigned the Jungles episode and has been sweating it out in the forest ever since. He was also given the Oceans episode, but his dream of directing it from a sun lounger, pina colada in hand hasn't quite come to fruition. No one prepared him for the challenges, frustrations and physical hardship of storms, big waves and sea sickness!

  • Charlotte Scott, Assistant Producer, Oceans and ‘Making of’ Producer

    Charlotte Scott, Assistant Producer, Oceans and ‘Making of’ Producer

    Charlotte showed an early love of nature when she learnt to scuba dive at 14. This early training came in handy on several of the Human Planet Ocean shoots. She has been involved in rigging ropes (and cameramen) up boat masts, swimming with sperm whales and sailing across the Pacific Ocean in a traditional canoe. She has also explored the Colombian jungle and the pristine landscape of Papua New Guinea, dodging men with machetes and narrowly avoiding a bomb in Bogotá. But it is the character of the local people and their unique way of life that has made all these shoots so memorable for Charlotte.

  • Rachael Kinley, Researcher, Oceans and Jungles

    Rachael Kinley, Researcher, Oceans and Jungles

    With a first class degree in Archaeology and Anthropology from Cambridge, a love of adventure and a desire to meet intriguing people across the world. Rachael is convinced the job description for Human Planet researcher was designed for her. Coming from chilly Lancastrian climes, what she didn’t bank on was quite how rubbish she would be at coping with the tropical heat. Luckily, most of her shoots have involved water, from days at sea on a boat in the Philippines to weeks being drenched by tropical downpours in the Amazon – providing a welcome opportunity for a cooling dip.
    Working for Human Planet, she has dodged rocks thrown from slingshots in the Andes and narrowly escaped typhoons in the Philippines but couldn’t avoid being stung by African bees in the Congo basin.

  • Behind the Lens location correction

    Lat 11° 11' 9” N, Long 119° 23' 44” E


John Hurt
Tom Hugh-Jones
Series Producer
Dale Templar


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