Encountering Sea Monsters

NATURE’s Encountering Sea Monsters follows Bob Cranston in his quest to film and understand the world’s most mysterious cephalopods.

Imagine coming face to face with a cannibalistic creature that is as tall as you are and has long tentacles, a razor-sharp beak, and skin that flashes with bizarre, dazzling color. NATURE’s Encountering Sea Monsters does just that, as underwater cameraman Bob Cranston explores the remarkable world of marine creatures called cephalopods. Cephalopods include squids, cuttlefish, octopi, and nautili.

Cranston and top marine scientists dive in waters from Indonesia and Mexico to Australia and Texas, meeting up with a variety of cephalopods — from the tiny but deadly blue-ringed octopus to the giant Humboldt squid, known for its aggressive behavior, flashing light shows, and cannibalism.

Join Bob Cranston as he fearlessly reaches out and interacts with some of the ocean’s most fascinating life forms.

To order a copy of Encountering Sea Monsters, visit the NATURE Shop.

Online content for Encountering Sea Monsters was originally posted December 2005.

  • Jack

    A fitting sequel to NATURE’s other informative installments on cephalopods. Much new information. Let’s hope for even more squid next time!

  • Rebecca

    I saw the show and it was amazing!!

  • Guy

    Please play this again!!!! It was GREAT!!!

  • Bryan Dudley

    This was a great show. I’d like to see more of the work done by John Forsythe on the Cuttle Fish. This is a little known and amazing creature.
    Do you have further information on the research of Mr. Forsyte? I am a teacher and would like to show more on this work to the students.

  • sharon prewitt

    This Nature show on sea monsters was very informative and made me want to know more. There is a story in our reading book about the seas creatures including the Cuttle Fish, but this is the first time I have seen a real one. I am anxiously looking forward to more amazing Nature programs.

  • A.Lynn

    my jaw is still on the floor! thank you.

  • Tom Stanko

    What is the name of the music played on Nature and the commercial for Cannon? Where can I obtain CD copies of this music?

  • wendy gonzalez


  • cmw

    I agree with #3 (Jack). I have been lobbying for the DVD release of Nature’s fantastic “Incredible Suckers” (1995, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/suckers/), which was the first documentary about cephalopods that really opened my eyes in astonishment and wonder about these intelligent creatures; I’ll never eat calamari again! Unfortunately, Nature relinquished its rights to the documentary. Whoever owns the rights, please release it on DVD! Then there was “The Octopus Show” (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/octopus/), another worthy Nature documentary. I liked “Encountering Sea Monsters”, because it followed the narrative structure used in “Incredible Suckers” (especially the poignant ending) and because it was shot in hi-definition. All three shows are great, and I want to show them to young relatives to give them an appreciation of the animal world.

  • Celeste

    I saw the show yesterday, it was AMAZING! I was totally awe-struck. Yay for nature documentaries! It made me want everyone to know about it. I showed my mom, and she was so amazed.

    I especially love the Squid’s eyes. So interesting.

  • J. McDonald

    How can I get a video of the wonderful “Encoutering Sea Monsters? Would like if for my grandsons. Thanks

  • Elizabeth

    I loved the little octupus that carried its bottle – it was something right out of Disney. If it wasn’t for PBS we’d never know.

  • ljj

    This was an incredible learning experience, thanks to the brave curiosity & talent of Bob Cranston and the applause of PBS, the willingness to share what would be unknown to most. As humans, we are NOT the most colorful creatures of the world! Thanks for the best TV programs, so much better than fictional violence.

  • Cynthia

    Absolutely amazing! I was just browsing through the channels and started watching this on KQED, great filming, very educational! I’d too like to share this video with my nephew and boyfriend, is there anywhere I can I purchase it? Or any other airdates and times?

  • Shefali

    I watch a lot of nature programs, many of which are so amazingly done…but this is one of the best — amazing and utterly riveting photography, narration, ’stories,’ educational value.

  • Margaret

    This has now topped my all time favorite “learning new things” show. I raved about what went into making those special swords and watched that twice. This was even more amazing. I would love to see more on cuttlefish, especially if they do further experiments that test their intelligence. Thank you for producing such wonderful shows.

  • bah

    ok that was kinda wierd

  • unknown

    this is a wonderful piece of art.

  • fiat77

    I liked the cuttle fish.

  • JamesKeen

    The video was so cool as a kid. This video inspired me a lot! Before, I want to be a paleontologist. But i don’t think like it. This video inspired me to become a marine biologist instead and also liked the octopuse family

  • austin birbaire

    thess things arnt that good i hat them, there worth less

  • austin birbaire

    hahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahha the ocotpus is ugly hahaah iam scared

  • austin birbaire

    naaaaaarrrrrsssssiiiiiiisssssssoooooo what r u doing

  • Casey

    Beautiful. I wish this episode could have been a series.

  • Micha Haymond

    Nature is the best show ever

  • Stuart Edmondson

    Mucho cudos to PBS for broadcasting ‘Encountering Sea Monsters’to my TV-yes over the air-here in San Diego! Fully enjoyed seeing Bob Cranston hasn’t diluted his sense of adventure and the ability to roll a steady camera when others would opt to run! I remember working at an underwater camera supply store here in San Diego and selling Bob camera gear! Thanks PBS for appreciating such independent producers.

  • john carr

    20 minutes into the show, the squid or octopus looked like a man before it swam away. someone needs to get a still hardcopy of this thing.

  • Gena Seidenschwarz

    The encounter between the giant octopus and Mr. Cranston is by quite a stretch the most beautiful thing ever filmed. Ever. You can’t do too much to help us viewers learn about octopi. Please, please let us have more about octopi.

  • Albert Poirier

    My wife and I Really enjoy Nature and Nova and kindred programs on PBS————–Please keep it gong————I donated my car to local PBS. Best————

  • Adelina

    This is one of my favorite episodes !

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