There is something comforting about turning on the TV on a Sunday night watching the most breathtaking natural scenes on your HD TV and listening to Sir David Attenborough’s voice as he shows you another world, your world, yet it seems like another world. These nature series are one of the BBC’s great achievements. My seven year old son cannot get enough of it. There is so much about our planet that we do not know or are only just learning about and it is presented to us spectacularly.
Each scene makes the television screen come alive with soothing blue and bright coloured ocean life as the deep seas, coral reefs and on tonights episode, green seas are explored. Each week features a first for marine film making history. This week featured an octopus showing us just how intelligent a creature it is. The octopus disguises itself by pulling shells all over it to camoflage and armour itself against a predatory tiger shark (I guess one could call it a shell suit). Then once attacked by the shark it inserts it’s tentacles into the sharks gills to cut off the sharks air supply so the shark eventually has to let go. Clever octopus! As a viewer this is nail biting stuff. I am witnessing animal behaviour before unknown let alone caught on camera.
There is always an environmental message. The damage we are doing to the planet is always evident. One feels that these David Attenborough documentaires be mandatory viewing so that we would be more inclined to look after our planet. This week the hunting almost to extinction of sea otters for their fur meant that sea urchins were able to mulch away much of the kelp forests that made up the ‘green seas’ (sea otters now being protected are able to eat the sea urchins and the kelp able to again florish). It illustrates natures natural balance. Watching this I was reminded to a time a few years back on holiday in Paxos Greece when snorkelling in shallow water I accidentally slipped and embedded sea urchin spikes in my finger. Those pesky sea urchin spikes! I was quite glad the sea otters could reap my revenge on them.
Who would have known that a patch of sea grass is 35 times more efficient at absorbing and storing carbon than the same area of rain forest?! Such a fascinating watch. The effort and expertise it takes to make these nature documentaries is all worth it.