Deep Blue (2003)

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Deep Blue (2003)

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(narrator) Our planet
is a blue planet.

Deep blue water,

dwarfing the continents
we call home.

(birds squalling)

Here, half a million albatross
jostle for space

to breed on a tiny island
in the Southern Ocean.

After hundreds of miles
of searching,

at last, a silver reflection
reveals its bounty.

The ocean sustains more life
than all of the land.

But it is unevenly spread,

hiding and shifting
in blue space.


Gathering seabirds
betray their discovery.

The sardine shoals
have broken their cover,

and the dolphins
close in quickly.

A feeding frenzy ensues.

This is a world of
constant jeopardy.

An endless cycle of birth,
death and renewal.

For a new generation
of sea lions,

life begins at the coast:

a sanctuary,
to which their mothers return

only to give birth.

(pups bleating)

The unfamiliar land
becomes a gentle nursery,

a place where the young pups
gather strength

as they grow in readiness
for a harsher life at sea.

The naive seals,
unaware of the shore's danger,

become easy targets
for seasoned predators.

Some narrowly escape death.

Others are swiftly overpowered.

Soon, the young sea lions
will learn to avoid
the shallows at high tide.

Meanwhile, the whales risk
being stranded on the shore
in shallow waters

in their own quest for survival.

On the beaches,
small creatures begin their day.

Sand bubbler crabs
filter food from the sand,

creating thousands
of tiny crustacean beachballs.

Away from the coastline,
in bright warm water,

a tiny portion of the ocean
holds its greatest riches:

the coral reefs -

a narrow band of sun-fed life

only found in the shallows
of the tropical seas.

This underwater metropolis
of life

is built upon the smallest
and most fragile of organisms -

coral polyps,
whose skeletons form the reef,

creating prime real estate
for thousands of species

that stretches for miles.

A gentle whale shark -

the largest fish in the sea -

visits the reef during the green
of a plankton bloom,

sifting the water
through its gills.

The moon is a powerful force
upon the deep.

Its ghostly realm
is a different world,

where new rules apply.

A builder by day,

coral becomes a warrior
by night,

sh**ting out deadly
stinging cells to paralyze

and then eat its neighbors.

The darkness brings
a change of rhythm,

and the creatures of the light
hide themselves away.

For others, the darkness
is feeding time.

The night feeders
have no need for light.

Special sensors
allow them to detect
the slightest movement.

Even the smallest
electrical twitch of muscle
will bring them close,

ready to choose their victim.

White-tipped reef sharks
tirelessly scour
the ocean floor,

hunting for their prey
in caverns and crevices.

Storm and rain
and wind and cloud

churn the seas
with their own power.

The violent mixing of the water
circulates life,

awakened and fueled by the sun.

The underwater currents

whipping up
the nourishing swarms
of tiny organisms

on which so many
other animals feed.

Here in the ocean,

even the most improbable forms
take life.

Jellyfish trailing
their deadly tentacles
behind their pulsing bodies.

At the extremes of our planet,

the frozen ocean
welcomes the return of the sun,

the only force capable
of waking sea life.

Polar bears,
no longer safe on firm ice,

take to the water.

In the far south,

emperor penguins gather
in vast numbers at the ice edge.

They are sleek and fat,

ready to face the harshest
weather conditions on Earth.


As the Antarctic summer ends,

almost all life migrates north
in search of milder conditions.

But the emperor penguins remain,

traveling deeper into the cold.

They face a long
and arduous journey

miles south across
the frozen wasteland,
to breed.

For three months,
the male birds will starve

while incubating the eggs,

enduring temperatures
of minus degrees

and mph winds.

(wind whistles)

In the Arctic, winter turns
liquid sea to solid ground

and, for the first time
since summer,

the polar bears can move
across the ocean with ease.

The starved female
is on a desperate search
for food,

her new cub in tow.

They scour their frozen world

for signs of nesting seals
hidden in ice caves.

The freezing sea brings danger
as well as opportunity.

Locked under
a sheet of winter ice,

these beluga whales are trapped.

It will be many weeks
before the ice opens up.

For now,
they are forced to share
this tiny breathing space,

surfacing to snatch air.


Those who survive
their icy prison

will eventually return
to the freedom of the open seas.

The warming sun once again
chases away the ice,

and gray whales
travel , miles

to feed in the polar seas.

This three-month-old baby
is new to the open sea,

and the mother gray whale
swims slowly,

protecting her offspring
as they glide
through the Arctic waters.

in the -ton mother,

who is twice their size,

the hunters target
the vulnerable calf.

After hours of harrying
by the killers,

the baby whale is exhausted.

The hunters push on,
separating the child
from its mother.

Six hours after the chase began,

the calf finally succumbs.

The mother must continue
her journey alone.

The open ocean -
an endless expanse of blue.

A vast, watery desert.

Here, wandering giants
travel thousands of miles

on the oceanic currents
in search of food.

Solitary travelers
in liquid space.

In just a few secret places
in the blue,

these nomadic creatures
come together
in great gatherings.

Amid the fury, a -ton giant
rises from the blue,

dwarfing the spectacle.

Below the narrow strip
of rich, sunlit waters
at the ocean's surface,

there's a journey downwards

into perpetual night.

With each sinking meter,
pressure builds,

the temperature falls,

and all light
from the surface fades.

More men have been into space

than have visited
the deepest reaches
of this alien world.

Life under pressure
adapts, changes.

All are poised to play
a game of hide-and-seek.

Down here, the only light comes

from the inhabitants
of the deep themselves.

Some use it as a lure
to attract prey.

For others,
the light is a decoy,

flashes that dazzle
and confuse their hunters.

The deep ocean floor
is a vast habitat.

While mostly flat,
breathtaking depressions
and rifts

create a dramatic seascape.

The ocean's deepest reach,
the Marianas Trench,

plummets seven miles
towards the Earth's core.

The mid-ocean ridges
are the largest geological
structures on Earth.

They stretch , miles.

Water as hot as molten lead

gushes from chimneys
as high as -story buildings.

The black smoker pumps
highly poisonous hydrogen
sulfide into the water,

creating a biological inferno.

And yet, even here
there is life
in enormous quantities.

These chimneys are some of
the most densely inhabited
spots on Earth.

Pillars of life
where animals exist
without solar energy.

Each night, endless life
comes from the deep.

They come to feed
in the rich surface waters -

a daily ritual which is
the greatest biological
migration on the planet.

We have walked on the moon

and continue to push
the outer boundaries of space.

Yet it is the mysteries
of the ocean

that continue to elude us.

We have many more treasures
to discover
in this liquid world,

home of the largest creature
in existence.

There were once
, blue whales
in our oceans.

Now just one percent
of these glorious animals

Deep blue.

Will we exhaust its resources
before understanding
all its wonders?
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