This stunning series explores the fascinating mysteries of the ocean depths. From opalescent squid that rise from the abyss when night falls to the strange creatures that inhabit cathedral-like forests of giant kelp, spectacular underwater sequences by award-winning filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall reveal never-before-seen behaviors of sharks, whales, dolphins and other more unusual marine dwellers, like scorpion fish and wolf eels.
"Cathedral in the Sea"/"Survival in the Sea" (Aired 12/1/97)
The cold waters of the Northeastern Pacific Ocean conceal one of the most spectacular marine ecosystems on earth - the submarine forests of giant kelp. Supported by small gas-filled bladders at the base of each leaf-like blade, the kelp grows to the surface from depths greater than 100 feet. This is the ocean's own "Cathedral in the Sea," where thousands of rarely seen creatures, at once strange and fascinating, dwell.
The first half-hour exposes some of the kelp forest's inhabitants, like the orange garibaldi fish who grooms his nest and beckons a potential mate by performing courtship loops, and a 10-inch-long mantis shrimp who uses his incredibly powerful, hammer-like claw to smash a mussel shell to get at the meat inside. The program also includes looks at a fight between the mantis shrimp and an octopus, a homeless pike blenny's search for shelter, the courtship dance of a school of batrays and more.
In the sea, life is an endless and often savage game of survival. The second half-hour, "Survival in the Sea," examines how survival in the ocean realm depends on the ability of creatures to reproduce and avoid predation. Small creatures survive by stealth and concealment while hunters depend upon strength, cunning and ambush. Scorpion fish use camouflage to ambush prey; giant damselfish build nests of algae; and, in one of the most spectacular underwater sequences ever captured, striped marlin use their sharp bills to slash through schools of mackerel.
"Venom!"/"Creatures of Darkness" (Aired 2/4/98)
One of the many survival strategies employed by ocean dwellers is the use of deadly venom. "Venom!" investigates the behaviors of creatures that sting and those that are able to circumvent the use of venom. Jellyfish, anemones, scorpion fish, lion fish and demon stingers are just a few of the creatures featured. "Creatures of Darkness" examines the nocturnal sea dwellers who rise from the abyss or emerge from caves when darkness falls. Opalescent squid rise from the deep and predators gather by the hundreds to reap the squid harvest. Harbor seals attack sleeping fish. A 100-pound Humboldt squid attacks reef fish.
"The Great Whales"/"Sharks" (Aired 4/29/98)
"The Great Whales" provides a spectacular glimpse of the greatest creatures ever to inhabit the sea. Viewers enter the world of the humpback whale as it swims through a maze of Caribbean coral reefs; the blue whale, the largest creature that ever lived, as it feeds on swarms of shrimp-like krill; and California grey whales as they swim over the ocean floor on their sides, sucking up mud, then filtering out the
crustaceans. "Sharks" are more than simply well-engineered eating machines, they are complex animals with fascinating behaviors. This program reveals sharks' dramatic predation techniques, as well as their less-often filmed behaviors, and includes a look at the hammerhead, blue, mako, whale, basking and great white sharks.
"City in the Sea"/"Star Gardens" (Aired 6/10/98)
"City in the Sea" reveals the intricate behavioral relationships among the animals of the Caribbean coral reef. Caribbean reef squid communicate by flashing patterns and brilliant colors. A barracuda pauses at a cleaning station as gobies clean parasites from its sharp teeth. A 200-pound loggerhead turtle descends to pick up and crush a conch shell, then uses its front flippers to pull out the tough meat. "Star Gardens" delves deep beneath the cold waters of the North Pacific for an exploration of a reef community that's as complex and spectacular as a tropical coral reef. Instead of hard corals, these cold water reefs are covered with anemones, coral-like algae and starfish. The program profiles the behaviors of many species in this strange environment, including wolf eels, who crush and swallow spiny sea urchins, and fringehead fish, whose mouths are half as wide as their bodies are long. Stunning time-lapse photography shows that starfish dance and fight with fascinating personality.
"Mountain in the Sea"/"Filming Secrets" (Aired 8/5/98)
"Mountain in the Sea" travels to Cocos, a tiny island 300 miles off the west coast of Costa Rica that is refuge to an astounding concentration of large migratory marine animals. This episode includes never-before-seen sequences of hammerhead sharks being cleaned by butterfly fish and the mating dance of a school of 100 giant marbled rays. "Filming Secrets" profiles Howard Hall Productions, one of the world's foremost underwater film crews. Sophisticated U.S. Navy-designed underwater mixed-gas rebreathers enable the crew to film images of marine life without the disturbances of underwater bubbles. Specialized equipment is used to film whales, dolphins, sharks and many other creatures. The crew then looks back with humor upon the successes and mishaps that resulted in filming the series.
Secrets of the Ocean Realm is a prime example of PBS' longstanding commitment to present the finest in natural history programming.
Secrets of the Ocean Realm is closed captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers and is distributed in *Stereo*.
Secrets of the Ocean Realm is a production of Devillier Donegan Enterprises and Docstar. Funding is provided by Public Television Viewers, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Producer: Howard Hall Productions. Co-producer/director: Howard Hall. Co-producer: Michele Hall.