Some 16 years after the ground-breaking first series hit our screens, the BBC’s Blue Planet is set to return this autumn. Once again hosted by Sir David Attenborough, the new seven-part series will reveal further mysteries of the world’s oceans and the fascinating, and sometimes bizarre, creatures that inhabit them. For those inspired by the programme, leading tour operator Dive Worldwide offers a ‘shoal’ of trips to locations featured in the show, allowing viewers the chance to replicate the action they see on screen.
Blue Planet II breaks barriers in the world of wildlife filming. From capturing erupting underwater volcanoes in the Gulf of Mexico to the depths of the Antarctic Ocean, and using new technology such as suction cameras on the back of orcas and whale sharks, this is an immersive series, and one that is sure to top the 12 million viewers of the original series, back in 2001.
As featured in Blue Planet II…
Dolphins in South Africa
Sure to be one of the series’ iconic sequences is the incredible footage of dolphins surfing in South Africa. For those looking to spend time with these intelligent animals in the Rainbow Nation, there isn’t a finer trip than the Sardine Run Adventure. Each June a shoal of millions of sardines migrate down the KwaZulu Natal coastline, prompting the greatest feeding frenzy on earth, with dolphins, sharks, orcas and whales all after a slice of the action. Guests spend five days following the shoal and diving and snorkelling with its plethora of wildlife.
Price: from £2,675pp sharing including return international flights, all transfers, seven nights’ B&B accommodation, two dives at Aliwal Shoal and five days’ Sardine Run Action.
Whale Sharks in the Galapagos
Blue Planet II will use suction cameras attached to the back of whale sharks to offer amazing creature-eye-view footage, never seen before on television. To experience this same viewpoint first hand, dive with whale sharks on a Galapagos Liveaboard. Whale sharks are frequent visitors to the archipelago, typically visiting between June and December and, as was recently discovered, often while pregnant. Other species to spot include schools of hammerhead and silky sharks and manta rays.
Price: from £5,745pp sharing including 1 night in Guayaquil, 7 nights’ liveaboard accommodation, all meals, up to 20 dives, transfers and return flights from the UK.
Giant Cuttlefish in South Australia
Film-makers captured giant cuttlefish in Australia gathering in their thousands for their annual mating aggregation. For those looking to witness these curious creatures first hand, it is best to head to South Australia. Joining an extended liveaboard expedition beginning on the Neptune Islands, divers will experience the thrill of a cage dive with great white sharks, see sea dragons and sea lions along the leafy coastline, and at the upper Spencer’s Gulf see the amazing giant cuttlefish themselves, in what is one of nature’s most flamboyant mating ceremonies.
Price: from £3,435pp sharing, including 9 nights’ FB liveaboard accommodation, 9 days’ diving with tanks and weights and transfers. Voyage only. Flights extra.
The new series features incredible footage showing the sophisticated hunting techniques of the reef octopus and, for fans of the weird and wonderful, Indonesia’s Lembeh Strait is the jewel in the diving crown. On the Walls, Schools & Critters itinerary, guests will spend a week each in Bunaken and Lembeh, enjoying up to three dives per day.
Price: from £2,975pp sharing, including 14 nights’ FB accommodation, 12 days of diving, tanks and weights, transfers and return flights from the UK.
Sperm Whales and their Calves
Viewers inspired by the series’ sperm whale and her calf should head to Dominica. This Caribbean island is the only country in the world where sperm whales can be seen all year round, as the juveniles and females do not migrate. On the Discover Dominica trip, guests will combine whale watching with diving and dip beneath the waves at the spectacular Champagne Reef. There’s also the chance to head inland and hike to waterfalls and a boiling lake, to appreciate why Dominica is known as the ‘Nature Island’.
Price: from £1,795pp based on 2 sharing, including 7 nights’ B&B accommodation, 5 days of activities, transfers and return flights from the UK.
The Depths of Antarctica
Filmed using manned submersibles, the Antarctica episode focuses on the deep oceans surrounding the White Continent. For adventures closer to the surface the Classic Antarctica trip offers diving in the icy water, kayaking around Wienche Island and wildlife watching of the continent’s penguins and whales, among other wildlife. Staying aboard a specially-designed polar vessel, guests will enjoy talks from a knowledgeable naturalist each evening bringing the continent’s wildlife to life. Price: from £5,695pp sharing, including 10 nights’ FB liveaboard accommodation, shore excursions, activities and talks by naturalists. Voyage only, flights extra.
For further information contact Dive Worldwide (diveworldwide.com, 01962 302 087).