Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures

Voyage to Kure
Sharks at Risk
The Gray Whale Obstacle Course
Return to the Amazon
America's Underwater Treasures
Return to the Amazon
Sea Ghosts: Belugas
Call of the Killer Whale


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American's Underwater Treasures

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Originally broadcast on September 20 and 27, 2006. (check local listings for repeat airings)

In this two-part, two-hour episode, Jean-Michel Cousteau, his son, Fabien, daughter, Céline, and his team of expert divers set out to investigate, for the first time, all 13 of our National Marine Sanctuaries and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Marine Monument. While discovering what makes them unique, the group explores how these sites are conservation challenges for the country. Traversing thousands of miles, the Ocean Adventures team ventures below and above the sea off the coasts of Michigan, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, California, Washington, Hawai'i and American Samoa on a mission to introduce Americans to these fragile sanctuaries.

Over the course of the expedition, Ocean Adventures team members dive in a huge range of conditions and environments. They also dive with a huge range of rare and amazing species: goliath groupers, weighing up to 800 pounds; the humpback whale, majestic but endangered; the giant Pacific octopus, very rarely seen in the wild; and coral in the midst of a spawning event, an incredible display that happens just once a year.

The expedition is not solely about the wonders of marine life. The team also seeks out cultural and historical treasures underwater. On the deepest dive of the expedition, they explore a sunken Civil War battleship. And in the Great Lakes, they dive amongst hundreds of shipwrecks - amazingly preserved by the cold, fresh water - from more than two centuries of maritime life in the area.

The team visits numerous researchers and biologists committed to understanding and protecting the national sanctuaries. They talk with scientists who are using a variety of innovative measures to conduct monitoring programs. They also visit with commerical fisher to discuss both conservation and economic issues facing the fishing industry within sanctuary waters.

There are seemingly countless threats to the marine life in these national sanctuaries; however, the team also witnesses many efforts underway to counter these threats and preserve the unique environment of every sanctuary.

Related links

  • National Marine Sanctuary Official Web site includes a timeline of sanctuary history and features the latest sanctuary news and research findings. (at
  • National Marine Sanctuary Encyclopedia includes natural history, video clips, images and fact sheets about marine life at the sanctuaries. (at
  • OceansLive is a marine science portal by the NMS featuring live underwater video camera feeds such as the upcoming expedition to explore the Macon wreck in Monterey Bay. (at
Sanctuary Guide
See video, slideshows and more of our many marine treasures.(Flash)
Ocean Science
In-depth: climate change
In-depth: climate change
Discover the latest science on rising sea temperatures.
In-depth: stakeholders
In-depth: stakeholders
Explore how sanctuaries balance their many users and the impacts.
Discover the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Discover the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, America's newest marine monument.
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