BBC The Blue Planet Disc 1: Ocean World (2002)

"A blue whale, 30 metres long and weighing over 200 tonnes. It's far bigger than even the biggest dinosaur," says David Attenborough. Its tongue weighs as much as an elephant and its heart is the size of a car. Some of its blood vessels are so wide that a human could swim down them. This is the largest animal that has ever lived, and yet absolutely nothing is known about where it goes to breed. The blue whale is the perfect symbol for the oceans - a vast blue expanse that dominates the planet yet remains largely unexplored and mysterious.

Every summer on the eastern coast of South Africa, a living black 'slick' of millions of sardines is whipped up by the coastal currents. It attracts thousands of cape gannets, hundreds of bronze whaler sharks and thousands of common dolphins. As the predators gorge, the dolphins work together and release walls of air bubbles that corral the sardines into tight bait-balls for an easy catch. A Bryde's whale appears and polishes off the feast.

Every evening, as the sun sets, the largest migration on the planet takes place in the oceans. One thousand million tonnes of deep sea creatures journey up towards the surface in search of food.

For a few days each year, a squid spectacle is seen off the Californian coast as millions of squid come up from the deep to breed and lay their eggs. Almost as soon as they appear they disappear back into the deep or die.

The moon's gravitational pull controls the ebb and flow of the tides. Every year on the coast of Costa Rica there is an extraordinary event called the arribada, which is closely linked to the tides.

On a last or first quarter moon, up to 5,000 female Ridley's turtles hit the beach each hour to lay their eggs in the sand. Over the course of three or four nights, 400,000 turtles come to one beach, just a mile long, and lay an estimated 40 million eggs.

Grey whales take a 12,000 mile round-trip migration from their breeding grounds in Mexico up the entire coast of North America to the Arctic Sea. Off Monterey, California, a grey whale is cruising slowly with her calf and this makes them vulnerable to attack. A 15-strong pod of killer whales takes six hours to run down the calf and drown it. The killers only eat the tongue and lower jaw, but this much energy never goes to waste. The carcass sinks to the bottom of the ocean where it attracts scavengers that live exclusively in the deep oceans.
Peter's DVD rating: 4.5 stars
Great scenes of the open ocean include the various predators that feed on migrating sardines, the nocturnal migration of mysterious deep sea organisms, the gripping killing of a Gray Whale calf by Orcas, and climaxing in the mating rituals of Opalescent Squids. In the sardine feeding frenzy segment, Attenborough exclaims "a Bryde's Whale!", but inexplicably does not explain its role. The BBC has done an update on this segment that has better cinematography, but more importantly, explains that the Bryde's Whale can swallow thousands of the sardines in one gulp; this show can be seen on the Animal Planet Whoa! Sunday series.
0:30 Blue Whale feeding on Krill 3:10 Cape Gannets diving 8:15Gulf Stream
9:15Ocean currents bring nutrients 9:55 Tuna prey on plankton feeders 10:40 Silky Sharks patrol Eastern Pacific sea mounts (Cocos, Malpelo, Galapagos)
11:25 Hammerhead Sharks gather for cleaning by cleaner fish (juvenile Angelfish ?) 12:20KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Sardines migrating on reversed Agulhas Current, preyed by Cape Gannets 14:10 Bronze Whaler Sharks feed on sardine bait ball.
14:55 Common Dolphin use "bubble netting" to catch sardines 16:30 Cape Gannets dive on the shoal 18:15 Bryde's Whale
19:00 Black-browed Albatross colony at Steeple Jason (south Atlantic) 21:10Nocturnal migration/feeding on phytoplankton 23:30Costa Rica Pacific coast: Ridley Turtles laying eggs at low tide (arribad)
27:00 Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture? eating turtle eggs 28:40Spring in Alaska: Atlantic Herring? return for breeding, preyed by Humpback Whales , Steller Sea Lions , and California Sea Lions , and Glaucus-winged Gulls 31:45Curds of herring sperm clog shores. Eggs food for crabs, Surf Birds , Bonaparte Gulls , Surf Scoters
34:40 Gray Whales feed on Krill 35:30 Killer Whales hunt Gray Whale calf (Monterey, California) 43:00 Hagfish , Sleeper Shark feed on whale carcass.
45:30 Opalescent Squids mating, laying eggs in shallow water      
0:30 Blue Whale
3:10 Cape Gannets
9:55 Tuna
10:40 Silky Sharks
11:25 Hammerhead Sharks
11:25 Angelfish ?)
12:20 Sardines
12:20 Cape Gannets
14:10 Bronze Whaler Sharks
14:55 Common Dolphin
16:30 Cape Gannets
18:15 Bryde's Whale
19:00 Black-browed Albatross
23:30 Ridley Turtles
27:00 Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture?
28:40 Atlantic Herring?
28:40 Humpback Whales
28:40 Steller Sea Lions
28:40 California Sea Lions
28:40 Glaucus-winged Gulls
31:45 Surf Birds
31:45 Bonaparte Gulls
31:45 Surf Scoters
34:40 Gray Whales
35:30 Killer Whales
35:30 Gray Whale calf
43:00 Hagfish
43:00 Sleeper Shark
45:30 Opalescent Squids
Index Dec 23, 2005 copyleft Peter Chen