Take a deep breath and dive into the mysteries of the ocean. Our understanding of ocean life has changed dramatically in the last decade, with new species, new behaviours, and new habitats being discovered at a rapid rate. Blue Planet II, which accompanies an epic 7-part series on BBC1, is a ground-breaking new look at the richness and variety of underwater life across our planet. From ambush hunters such as the carnivorous bobbit worm to cuttlefish mesmerising their prey with a pulsating light display, Blue Planet II reveals the never-before-seen secrets of the ocean. With over 200 breath-taking photographs and stills from the BBC Natural History Unit's spectacular footage, each chapter of Blue Planet II brings to life a different habitat of the oceanic world. Voyages of migration show how each of the oceans on our planet are connected; coral reefs and arctic ice communities are revealed as thriving underwater cities; while shorelines throw up continual challenges to those living there or passing through. A final chapter explores the science and technology of the Ocean enterprise – not only how they were able to capture these amazing stories on film, but what the future holds for marine life based on these discoveries.
Unlike billions of other worlds in the Milky Way, 71 per cent of our Blue Planet is covered by ocean. It's home to the greatest diversity of life on Earth but is our least explored habitat; we've better maps of Mars than of the ocean floor. With so much more to discover, take a deep breath and dive into a wondrous world beneath the waves. Explore coral reefs that shimmer in a kaleidoscope of colours. Venture to the bottom of the ocean where creatures beyond your wildest imagination live in the dark. Chase sea otters through kelp forest seas, and glide the open ocean with humpback whales. Discover all there is to love about our Blue Planet, the stories of its inhabitants, and realise how you can help protect this wilderness beneath the waves. In collaboration with BBC Earth, this illustrated non-fiction book will capture the wonder, beauty, and emotion of the iconic BBC Blue Planet II TV series.
The Whale in the Living Room follows the thrilling adventures of award-winning wildlife documentary producer, John Ruthven, on a journey of discovery - by turns memorable, touching and often funny -that has helped the undersea world flow into countless living rooms to reveal many of our ocean's mysteries. John is the only producer to have worked on both Blue Planet and Blue Planet II, presented by David Attenborough, in total making nearly fifty ocean films, including episodes of Discovery Shark Week, expedition films for National Geographic and coral conservation documentaries for PBS. With innovative technology he has helped capture unique images of a sperm whale mother and calf, pictures of glowing creatures half a mile deep, and grey reef sharks hunting by the light of the moon. We swim with him through blue lagoons, dive into the abyss to encounter new life forms, and experience everything from the danger of getting lost at sea to the sadness of finding a starving whale with a fishing net caught in its mouth. Through each remarkable adventure, John gives insight into what we currently know about the ocean, and our whole blue planet, revealing that the sea really is the 'saltwater country' the Yolngu people of Australia know it to be - a place with as many unique destinations in water as on land. John's book also explores why we have remained largely blind to the pollution in our oceans until recently and charts how plastic 'went wild' in the sea, to understand how we might begin to clear up the mess.
The Whale in Your Room follows the thrilling adventures of BBC Blue Planet producer, John Ruthven, on a journey of discovery that helped the marine world flow into your living room via the TV. ''Two hundred miles off the coast of New Orleans, in the clear blue open sea, I''m starting to know what being in deep water means. My dive computer is going nuts, beeping an alarm in rapid descent. 43, 44, 45 metres, soon I''ll be deeper than a scuba diver on air can safely dive. I''m tumbling head over heels like an ostracod - one of the many strange creatures here that defy our imagination. It''s hard to say what''s up or down. I''m in freefall, an aquanaut lost in space.'' The Whale in Your Room follows the thrilling adventures of BBC Blue Planet producer, John Ruthven, on a journey of discovery that helped the marine world flow into your living room via the TV. For many, the oceans are missing pieces in the story of life on Earth, and it doesn''t help that most are blue and form by far the biggest part of the jigsaw. Quite literally immersed in his subject, John can put them together, as the only producer to have worked full time on Blue Planet series I and II, and nearly fifty other films about the sea. With first-hand experience he feels the loneliness of whale calves in the blue, the fear as seals dodge great white sharks near the coast, or the curiosity of octopus staring back at the camera. His journey take us through the blue rings of South Pacific coral atolls, gives us submarine rides into the abyss with ancient life forms, and encounters so close with singing humpback whales that the water will bounce at the bottom of your virtual dive mask. Through each stunning adventure John draws out important insights into what is presently known about how the sea, and our whole blue planet works. ''As a boy in the sixties I was part of the Apollo nerd generation and like many of my peers I wanted to be either an astronaut or a diver and filmmaker like Jacques Cousteau. Curiously neither of these options was ever suggested as a realistic possibility by careers advice at school. So it was with great surprise that I found myself, twenty years later, in charge of a film crew off Mexico, trying to get the best ever shots of blue whales. Just shows - never stop dreaming!'' Like the Blue Planet series itself, the stories of the ocean are broadly divided into the major habitats of the ocean, of the deep abyss, the coasts, the open seas, the coral worlds, green underwater forests and the polar regions. As John points out: ''The Aboriginal Australians call the sea ''the saltwater country'', which I think is a beautiful understanding of the ocean, in that it''s not a plain blue at all but when you look closely it''s all the colours of the rainbow. When you get to know it, each part is distinct and can be mapped, just like the land. And at night there are even bright patches of animal light, so in many ways we live not on the blue planet, but the glowing planet.'' What creatures could remain undiscovered in the 95 per cent of the seas that have not been thoroughly explored? The surface of Mars and Venus are better known to us than the seabed. Yet to map the world''s ocean to even 100-metre blocks of accuracy, something that environmentalists say is essential for its protection, could take a further 300 years. Even creatures that are known, such as the giant squid, have proved too hard to film to date. John has also been involved in the attempts to film this massive creature, using high-tech cameras deep in the abyss, with only the light of the moon for illumination. The thread of his story is to take us through such challenges of underwater imaging, as we develop ever better technology, to where no human has gone before, and see further than ever into the deep. The Whale in Your Room, like the proverbial ''elephant in the room'', is also about how, until recently, we have been largely blind to our pollution of the seas. So, for example, John explores how plastic ''went wild'' in the ocean, tries to understand how we got into this mess, and see if we can ever untangle the oceans from its grip. ''1,500 miles from nowhere I find myself landing on what seems an idyllic tropical island that has been uninhabited for 40 years. I wade ashore through a tangle of nylon fishing gear, plastic bottles up to my knees, flip flops, Crocs, syringes, food packaging, plastic bags and disposable razors. I wonder if any of the brilliant chemists who invented this material ever considered this after-use nightmare.'' In Blue Planet II the story John produced about a dead whale calf carried by its mother, likely killed by plastic residues, touched a nation. It ignited an already simmering public opinion into doing something about the plastic choking our seas. John was surprised to hear it being discussed in the UK parliament the day after broadcast. Such a depth of response, a connection and empathy with the sea, showed promise for real change. What creates moments like this? What makes people sit up and take notice at a certain point in history, when all along NGOs and scientists have been telling us the same thing, and the signs have been obvious? Is there hope for the ocean''s future? On our journey, memorable, touching and often funny moments with film crews at sea will help to explain our current understanding of the ocean and how little we still know about our home planet. At the moment John is filming sperm whales in the abyss for the Discovery Channel, devising techniques for the whales to film themselves and switch on their own cameras with their hunting clicks as they go through schools of giant squid. Also for National Geographic he''s helping to plan new structures for living underwater, and as a possible base for a new immersive film series.