Saturday, September 3, 2016

Incredible world from the bottom of the sea

Incredible world from the bottom of the sea

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To most of us, seas and oceans are featureless expanses. On a good day, the vast surfaces stretching endlessly towards the horizon provide a picturesque foil for a sunset.
Yet these glassy waters hide an extraordinary world.

1 secret world bottom of sea Incredible world from the bottom of the sea

Early sightings of a dugong, or sea cow, were probably responsible for the myth of the mermaids. But their numbers are declining rapidly. The expedition headed to the Bazaruto archipelago, nine miles off the coast of Mozambique, to investigate the very last sustainable population of dugongs – which are related to elephants – in the western Indian Ocean
In fact, we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the deep ocean floors, which is why a team of experts decided to probe a small part of the planet’s seas, and film it for an eight-part TV series, to be shown on BBC2 next month.
Headed by Paul Rose, ex-base commander of the British Antarctic Survey and dive trainer to the US navy, the Oceans team includes maritime archaeologist Lucy Blue, marine biologist and oceanographer Tooni Mahto, and conservationist Philippe Cousteau, grandson of the celebrated underwater pioneer Jacques.

2 secret world bottom of sea Incredible world from the bottom of the sea

One of the team’s divers observes a shoal of jacks circling with balletic precision. This behaviour is a source of much debate, but is thought to be a defence mechanism against predators
Over a year, they set up eight expeditions to seven different seas and oceans across the globe – spending more than 700 hours underwater, and completing 1,000 dives.
Their aim was to seek out the hidden secrets of our oceans and, ultimately, to better understand how much we rely on these enigmatic and alien places.
3  secret world bottom of sea Incredible world from the bottom of the sea A giant manta ray, known to have the biggest brains of all fish, spotted off the south coast of Mozambique. In the background lurks a shark
Unfortunately, they also found found evidence of the changes wrought by mankind – warming seas destroying unique ecosystems and overfishing decimating entire species.
But there were also signs of hope: coral that harbour a special heat-resistant algae that could also protect the other reefs of the world, and marine creatures with amazing abilities to adapt to their changing world.
8  secret world bottom of sea Incredible world from the bottom of the sea None of the dive team had ever seen a weedy sea dragon, found only in kelp forests. But Philippe Cousteau and Tooni Mahto struck lucky at Fortescue Bay, on the east coast of Tasmania

They saw rare and endangered creatures and dived in alien marine environments: pitch-black waters turned purple by toxic bacteria, and eerie tannin-stained waters housing bizarre creatures.
They even dived into a throng of sharks to test out a new repellent – and were relieved to find it worked.

7  secret world bottom of sea Incredible world from the bottom of the sea Huge sunfish are indigenous to the Sea of Cortez, a strip between the Baja California peninsula and mainland Mexico, 60-130 miles wide and 995 miles long. These giants can grow up to six metres long

It is no surprise, then, that a new species was discovered by the team during almost every deepsea dive.
But there was more to find, including underwater caves that preserved the remains of lost civilisations and wrecks that spoke of ancient battles.

6  secret world bottom of sea Incredible world from the bottom of the sea Sea coral grows in abundance on the sheer, underwater cliffs of the reef at the island of Pemba, 50 miles off the coast of East Africa and one of the three islands off Tanzania, along with Zanzibar and Mafia island

The mid-ocean ridge, a chain of mountains that runs through all the great seas, is 37,300 miles long, with an average height of 3,000 metres.
Together, the oceans make up an unimaginably vast environment wrapped around more than 70 per cent of the surface of the planet.

5  secret world bottom of sea Incredible world from the bottom of the sea Despite the size of male sperm whales – which can reach up to 16 metres in length – sightings are rare. But when you see one, it’s worth the wait

Four-fifths of all life on Earth is found beneath the waves, and scientists estimate a million new species are out there waiting to be discovered. Below the surface of the oceans there are mountains that would dwarf the Himalayas, waterfalls bigger than Niagara and more active volcanoes than anywhere else on the planet.

4  secret world bottom of sea Incredible world from the bottom of the sea Paul Rose explores the wreck of the Paraportiani, a cargo ship that sank off the coast of East Africa in 1967



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