Although Dos has dived extensively in the Caribbean, he has also recorded the wonders of the undersea world in the Indian Ocean, Australia, the Galapagos Isles, and at an altitude of 12,800ft, Peru’s Lake Titicaca. “Nobody in his right mind goes diving in Lake Titicaca because the temperature is about 4°C. But I was looking for a prehistoric animal, and I found it!”
NOW with ‘PERU’S WATERWORLDS’ as a BONUS! Bonaire – Coral Treasure
Situated just 20 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Bonaire is the least developed and least populated of the five islands of the Netherlands Antilles. But since thearrival in 1962 of Captain Don Stewart, the island has become known the world over for its crystal clear waters and extraordinary array of marine life – boasting a biodiversity comparable only to that of a tropical rain forest. Nowin his 70s, Captain Don is one of the ‘great characters’ of the Caribbean. In his inimitable way, he recounts his conversion from spear fisherman to conservationist. Dominique Serafini, spent fifteen years as a working member of the Cousteau Team, and has spent his life driven by two passions – the sea and his art. Dominique takes Dos and crew on a dive to the Windjammer – the perfectly conserved wreck of a three masted clipper sunk in 1912. It lies now at depth of 60 meters, beautifully encrusted in corals, transformed into a sunken cathedral. Dos then explores the mysterious world of the mangroves with biologist Kalli de Meyer. Having run the Bonaire Marine Park for ten years, Kalli has been dubbed ‘the voice of the reef’. The Bonaire Marine Park has become a model of its kind in the Caribbean and stands as a shining example of how an island’s marine assets can be conserved, while at the same time generating income from tourism. Along with its spectacular underwater world, Bonaire also boasts natural and cultural treasures on land… it is home to the largest flamingo colony in the Caribbean, a thriving green iguana population, the indigenous yellow-shouldered parrot and fascinating relics from its slave plantation past.
Saba- the Unspoiled Queen
Verdant green with lush vegetation, Saba is an extinct volcano that seems to shoot out of the sea. Only five miles square at the base, its peak rises to over 2,800 feet and is most often lost in the clouds. Columbus was the first European to describe the island, on his second voyage in 1493. Saba then changed hands twelve times between the European powers until 1816, when it fell finally in the hands of the Dutch. Its rugged terrain and isolation have preserved both its rainforest and underwater world to a remarkable degree.The West Indies bore the full brunt of the curse of slavery. Saba however appears to have escaped the very worst of it. Because its small and mainly rocky, plantations were never established on a large scale. The white people and the slaves are said to have worked side by side in the fields. Renowned conservationist Tom van ‘t Hof guides Dos through Saba’s many natural worlds, the fauna and vegetation changing dramatically with altitude. On the slopes above 2,700 ft lies the mysterious Elfin Forest, which is unique in the world. Nowhere else have giant Mahogany trees become the dominant species. This mist-enshrouded, moss covered world is the home to the Trembler and the Antillean Crested Hummingbird. Today however, this magical world is threatened by climate change. In the last 10 years, 5 hurricanes have struck the island, killing off trees that are over 300 years old. The volcanic nature of the island also provides a dramatic underwaterscape for Dos to explore. The seamounts around Saba provide a spectacular backdrop for its diverse marine life. And a close encounter with the shy and extraordinary looking Short Nose Bat Fish, provides Dos with a rare chance to capture it on film.
This episode explores two of Peru’s unique water worlds: the coastal wonderland lining its 2,500 mile desert shore and the frigid waters of South America’s highest body of water – mysterious Lake Titicaca. The coastal desert of southern Peru has a special beauty all its own. Dos travels to the Paracas Peninsula, which despite receiving recent protection as a Marine National Park is still very much under pressure. Overfishing and guano mining are leaving their marks andthe recent arrival of tourism is threatening wildlife. Dos goes diving with a local fisherman, whose intimate knowledge of these marine waters is leading to the development of sustainable fishing practises for the area. Dos then journeys north, along the most remote and dramatic shoreline of Peru, 100 miles from the nearest human settlement. Against a stark desert backdrop of fossil beds and sand dunes, these a teams with life – and is home to sea lion, turtles, and dolphin. But this forgotten paradise is now under threat of facing the same pressures affecting Paracas – a major port and oil terminal to the north is causing disturbance and local fishermen are butchering dolphin. Dos finds their mutilated bodies washed up on the beach.To finish, Dos travels high into the Peruvian Alti Plano, to Lake Titicaca, a place of mystery and legend – reputedly the birthplace of the Inca civilisation. Here far from the usual tourist haunts, the team dive its icy waters, in search of a mysterious frog with unique aquatic habit – it lives permanently underwater, never surfacing to breathe. With the help of a local fisherman Dos finds the frogs and learns of the special relevance they have for the traditional inhabitants of this magical lake.