Diving Antarctica! | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Coming up on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, Jonathan
heads to Antarctica at the bottom of the Earth to explore the incredible wilderness and marine
life of this frozen continent! Don’t go away! Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and welcome to my
world! Antarctica! The frozen continent. Its hostile
conditions and exotic marine life are legendary. For years I have yearned to travel to the
bottom of the Earth to see this magnificent frozen world for myself. And finally, I’ve
done it. Getting from the United States all the way
to Antarctica bottom of the Earth take nearly a week. And it starts with a flight to Ushuaia,
Argentina at the tip of Tierra Del Fuego Often called the gateway to Antarctica, Ushuaia
is a beautiful little coastal city in Patagonia at the base of a large mountain range. Many of the ships departing for Antarctica
use Ushuaia as their port. Ushuaia is surrounded by a large National
Park. Rugged, craggy mountains tower above Ushuaia.
They’re beautiful, but of course, I’m more interested in the underwater scenery. So, I’m spending a day in Ushuaia to do
a couple dives in the Beagle Channel. The Beagle channel is a long, narrow passage
of water protected by land on both sides. Well, we’re finally going to go diving in
Ushuaia and I’m really excited to try to see something that they’re famous for. You
mostly see it in the restaurants downtown, but I want to see it alive—the giant King
Crab. Captain Carlos from Ushuaia Divers unties
the boat from the dock and we’re on our way, under a beautiful blue sky. It’s summer
here in the southern hemisphere, and even though Ushuaia is very far south, the air
temperature regularly makes it into the 60 degree range, sometimes even the 70s. The water temperature is more like 45 degrees…about
what I’m used to diving at home in New England. That means I will be wearing my dry suit time
to get ready. It keeps the water out with an airtight zipper like the one on a space
suit. Unfortunately, the dry suit is quite buoyant
from all the air inside, so I have to wear a lot of weight to submerge. My gear is cumbersome
and heavy, but that’s the price you pay to dive in cold water. AHAA!! Alright! I’m ready! Well, let’s go check it out! Underwater, the Beagle Channel is beautiful—filled
with huge kelp forests stretching towards the surface. This kelp is a kind of fast-growing
algae that can grow several feet in length every day. Swimming through the kelp is really fun. I
feel like Indiana Jones exploring a wild jungle. The kelp can grow tall without a strong trunk
because it floats, thanks to these little air pockets at the base of each leaf. The kelp is so thick, it blocks out the sun. As I look around the bottom, I see there are
lots of other things growing here, like a variety of sponges encrusting this rock outcropping. But clearly, the Beagle Channel’s most impressive
animals are the crabs. Everywhere I look, crabs jump out of my way as I approach. Most
of them are these little red crabs with a body about the size of a quarter. But there are also decorator crabs, covered
in camouflage, apparently willing to hunt the smaller crabs. And another crab, climbing the kelp to safety. But at last I find what I came for—the crab
that rules this patch of ocean—the King Crab. Although they get much bigger than this, even
this small one is a quite a handful. After I put it down, the crab takes off through
the seaweed on the bottom. Finally settling back to pose for my camera
again. At the end of my dive, I surface from the
land of the crabs and we enjoy a surface interval on a small island in the channel. The views
of the surrounding area are beautiful. Patagonia is just gorgeous! As much as I have enjoyed Ushuaia, the following
morning finds me rolling my gear down the dock for my departure to Antarctica. My home away from home: the Aleksey Marychev,
a 210 foot long Russian research vessel with an ice-strengthened hull. I meet the staff of the ship, who luckily
for me speak English quite well, and then it’s time to board. I’ll have plenty of
time to put my gear together on the long run to Antarctica. A little later, they untie us from the dock,
and it’s time to embark on the trip of a lifetime! On our way down the Beagle Channel to open
water, we pass a small rock island covered in South American Sea Lions. And then we pass the famous Beagle Channel
Lighthouse. After leaving the Beagle Channel, we will
round Cape Horn into the Drake Passage and make our way more than 600 miles south until
we reach the protection afforded by end of the Antarctic Peninsula. Until then, we are at the mercy of some of
the most violent and unpredictable seas in the world. From the bridge, the first officer drives
the ship with a confidence that comes from many years of making this journey. Our progress is charted on a map by a GPS. So far the weather has been mild and the seas
calm. The Drake Passage is considered the roughest
section of water in the world, and boy did we get lucky today! Later the fog closes in but the sea remains
calm. I have almost three days of this until we get there. Even my tiny cabin isn’t too uncomfortable
for a nap. The next day the sun is out, but we still
aren’t there! You know two and a half days is a long time
to be sitting on a ship with nothing to do, but when we get to Antarctica, it’s gonna
be worth it. Yet another day to go, I’m running out of
things to do. Hello? Can you hear me now ? (Scream from woman) Uyuk? Maduka? whduka? Hello? Forget about it (Snoring) At last, land appears in the distance! We
made it to Antarctica! The ship is covered in a fresh layer of snow,
but the sun is trying to burn through the clouds. Icebergs float by. I can hardly believe my
eyes! I’m actually here! And we don’t waste any time. Our dive team
starts suiting up for our first dive to explore the underwater world of Antarctica. Of course, I’m using my dry suit again,
but this time instead of 45 degree water, I’m expecting 30 degree water! Our zodiac goes over the side, and we’re
off with our dive master Jonas driving the boat. I’m really excited! I can’t wait to get
below the surface and start exploring! But first, I need my warmest dive gloves!
It’s very interesting to do any thing when you have gigantic fat cold water mitts on.
Just putting on you dive computer take about ten minutes. Alright I’m bundled up with
my heaviest undergarments. I have so much insulation I can barely move. Well, I’m a long way from the Caribbean.
I came all the way to Antarctica to go diving and I guess I should have expected that there
was going to be ice in the water. I’m assuming that means it’s going to be pretty cold.
I’ll let you know! WOO HOO! Oh Yeah, that’s a little chilly!
Oh Baby!! I’m floating in an ocean filled with icebergs
drifting by. This water is below freezing that’s possible because it’s salt water
this is fresh water so the ice is frozen floating in it. This water is so cold if you fell in
this water with out a dry suit on you could be dead in five minutes. And that begs the
question what could possibly live is such cold water? Well, let’s go check it out! My first glimpse of the underwater terrain
reveals mostly just some seaweed on the bottom, flowing gently in the current. But a closer look reveals a community of bottom-dwelling
invertebrates, including vast armies of limpets, snail-like animals with cone-shaped shells.
They eat the algae on the rocks. A bright red sea star hunts down limpets for
lunch. Nearby, Anemones wait for prey, their stinging
tentacles armed and ready for an unwary fish. A sea cucumber uses feathery, branching arms
to grab plankton out of the water to eat. But then, I look up from the bottom and something
catches my eye. It’s a Gentoo penguin, swimming around with
the grace of a dolphin and the speed of a torpedo! These birds might not be able to fly, but
underwater they sure can swim. Their wings are adapted for providing underwater propulsion,
and few animals in the ocean can swim with such grace and speed as a penguin. In the limited visibility, they are hard to
film because I never know from which direction they will swim. Just above the water on the beach, thousands
of Gentoos are warming up in the sun. A Gentoo Penguin is easy to identify because
of its bright red beak. Many of these Gentoos are barely more than
chicks, waiting patiently for their downy baby feathers to fall off. These poofy feathers
keep them warm when they are little, but they’re not good for swimming. I watch a group of young penguins practicing
their swimming technique in a small tide-pool. The tide pool offers protection from the open
ocean, and it’s a nice shallow spot to try swimming and hunting. Unfortunately, there
is nothing here to eat, so foraging for food doesn’t produce a meal. As the birds get older and their adult feathers
grow in, they start gathering down by the ocean. Soon, they take short hops into the freezing
water to hunt in the shallows for krill and small invertebrates. It doesn’t take long before they learn to
swim like experts and take off to hunt together in groups. Penguins on the move porpoise in and out of
the water like dolphins—but then they can hop right back up on land like no dolphin
I’ve ever seen! Who needs to fly when you can swim like this? Soon we head back to the ship and and pull
anchor to move a few hours south. We’re making our way towards the polar circle, and
passing some incredible scenery on the way! The next day, back in the Zodiacs, we head
towards a shipwreck. The Governor was a whaling ship that caught fire in 1916, so the captain
ran it aground to save the crew. I drop into the water to explore the southernmost
shipwreck of my life. Although the bow is out of the water, the stern lies over 70 feet
below. It’s a long swim down the side of the hull to get to the stern. The hull is covered in patches of beautiful
yellow finger sponges. I didn’t realize that sponges like this could be found in such
cold water. Looking closer at the sponges, I discover
an Antarctic blenny resting there. Fish survive in this water because they have antifreeze
in their blood that keeps it from freezing, even when the water is below 32 degrees. Suddenly, a huge shape catches my eye! It’s the biggest jelly I have ever seen
in my life, swimming through the water with tentacles hanging down more than 50 feet! I swim over to investigate this massive animal,
and the bell of the jelly is more than two feet across! As I rise toward the surface at the end of
my dive, I encounter a huge wall of ice. It’s an iceberg, that drifted into the bay. The wall of the iceberg is covered in dimples,
like the ones on a golf ball. This pattern forms as the iceberg melts. Thousands of tiny
bubbles are released from the melting ice as well, making the water near the iceberg
look like a fizzy drink! The iceberg only rises a few feet above the
surface, but its more than thirty feet deep. When you see an iceberg floating by, there’s
not that much above water sometimes, but that’s because 90% of an iceberg is underwater. If
I flip it over, you can see just how much ice there is. That’s why icebergs are really
dangerous to ships, because you can’t see the part that’s hidden underwater. Fun with
ice! Let me get my arm under it. Getting the gear
out of the water and into the zodiac can be quite a challenge because of all the weight
I have to carry. Heading back to the ship, we have a little
time to unwind while we again change locations, heading even further south. We pass through the Lemaire Channel, filled
with floating chunks of ice. I can hear them bouncing off the bow, and I’m glad that
this ship has an ice-strengthened hull! The next morning we are at it again, launching
the Zodiacs over the side and preparing for another adventure. I carry my camera down to the boat and we’re
off. Today we’re hunting quietly for a very special animal. And sure enough, we found them. Leopard seals
sleeping on an iceberg. These animals which reach 12 feet long, are the apex predators
of the Antarctic. There are no sharks in the waters of Antarctica, but these seals fill
that niche in the food chain. Soon, the Leopard seals wake from their nap
and come over to investigate us. They have been known to bite and deflate Zodiacs
when they are being territorial. We watch carefully for a few minutes before
we drop into the water with this animal. Leopard seals are big, aggressive and have sharp teeth.
But this one doesn’t look aggressive at all. I must admit, I’m a little apprehensive
as I prepare to roll into the water, but I’m also excited. I have wanted to film a Leopard
seal for a long time! The seal makes a few passes to check me out,
but he seems a lot more curious than aggressive. I don’t follow the seal at all, but hold
my ground and keep the camera rolling. I let him come to me. Divers are not very common down here. This
Leopard seal has probably never seen a diver, or a video camera before. Either he sees his reflection in the lens,
or he’s looking for a career in show business. Either way, this animal sure doesn’t seem
to mind my presence. The leopard seal is so curious, that he stays
around for more than an hour. I even have enough time to get my still camera and take
a few pictures. Look how big he is compared to me—it’s
a good thing he’s in good mood. Although Leopard seals can hold their breath
for an hour while diving, this one lounging with me near the surface regularly pops his
nose above water for a breath. That was such a great dive with that leopard
seal! Man it was so friendly. It stayed with me for over an hour, but I’ve been in this
water for so long my face is frozen. With the circulation returning to my face,
we head back to the ship, while I think of all the great things I saw in Antarctica,
from the towering walls of a tremendous iceberg….to a gigantic jelly. I saw incredible underwater
acrobatics. And astonishingly beautiful scenery. Penguins nesting among the ancient bones of
whales. And Humpbacks feeding in some of the most beautiful bays I have ever seen. From the surprising color of the invertebrates
living in the freezing water, to the stark beauty of the frozen landscape, Antarctica
is spectacular to behold. Soon, we must turn north for our long journey
back to Ushuaia. As the sun sets on the passing ice, I have
plenty of time to reminisce about my adventures. As we leave the protection of the Antarctica
Peninsula, we discover the Drake passage is not as kind as it was on the way down! But for that incredible hour I spent with
a curious Leopard seal, it’s worth it. Antarctica might be cold, and the diving is hard work,
but I’ll never forget this magical place way down at the bottom of the blue world.

100 thoughts on “Diving Antarctica! | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD”

  1. Jonathan you are one lucky man! Man, what I would give to do what you do! Especially, at a time where our existence is impacting these natural wonders more than ever. More power to you Jonathan, keep up the excellent work!

  2. I love this channel I wish the kidsy age would watch videos like this~ I love the ocean and I plan to be a marine biologist when I grow upπŸ’™

  3. Love diving never dive in sea im in Saudi Arabia next Saturday I will go yanbu its s city of Saudi Arabia in yanbu there is big sea this time im gonna dive in sea with my uncle

  4. Dude i got certified to dry suit dive along with ny diver certification. I had to piss so bad under the water!πŸ˜‚ not a fan of dry suit, but it is cool.

  5. Man it sucks that everything is melting because of humans. Some of us might never get to even see the different poles full of ice caps

  6. One frozen face later… I can not handle cold water like that…. I learned depending on how cold the water is, you can get hypothermia within 3-5 minutes.

  7. I absolutely love your show but I really wish you would mention the depths your in at each dive. Would be great. πŸ€™πŸ»

  8. Sir, I wish I could give you 1 Million Likes for this super awesome video and your extraordinary skills of narration. Infinite Love of a Vet from Pakistan….
    The more I saw your videos Sir, the more I'm getting addicted to them Sir….

  9. Well eh.. To call a leopard seal the apex predator of Antarctica is a bit off. The apex predator in Antarctica as well as the rest of the oceans is none other than the Orca. In fact the seal hunters in Patagonia are the same family in Antarctica.
    In Patagonia they go for beaching, in Antarctica for the waving.
    Smart and beautifull.

  10. Sir Jonathan you're so cute when you feel bored πŸ˜‚πŸ˜˜
    You're one of amazing and best diver in the world πŸ‘
    Thanks for bringing us to Antarctica 😍

  11. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

  12. Jonathan Bird , I absolutely love every single one of your videos. I've learned a lot and thing's I've never even known or heard about. My daughter who is five also enjoys your videos, she loves them while learning at the same time. I've been a fan of you and your crew now for years. I'm sure you've heard this before but keep up the great work and having your crew and yourself recording everything you do. Thank you 😊❀️

  13. Omg πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜¬πŸ˜¬πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜¬πŸ˜πŸ˜¬πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜¬πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜¬πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜¬πŸ˜¬πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜¬πŸ˜πŸ˜¬πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜β³πŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œ

  14. Бпасибо. ΠžΡ‡Π΅Π½ΡŒ ΠΏΠΎΠ½Ρ€Π°Π²ΠΈΠ»ΠΎΡΡŒ. This is beautiful…

  15. Wow…astonishing adventure, that Leopard Seal was a ham! Were there no Orcas in the area, not that I'm wanting them to challenge your new friend πŸ™‚

  16. Glad to have you sir doing this for us to enjoy the nature. I believe you are the other version of Steve Irwin. With your skill and your experience, you're the best in this line of works

  17. Imagine this was filmed last 2016 and there are so many ice melting just, imagine it. Now that we've reached 2019 and near to 2020 it's sad to say that the ice in antarctic would melt fast due to climate change and humanity. Sadttt

  18. What a unique opportunity to see such sights and experience these areas of beauty and unusual wildlife . Love your channel, and the characters we meet!!

  19. 3:50 for another dive
    12:20 for the antartica dive.
    You're welcome

    Edit: penguins are one of the most loveable animals on earth, and I'd love to have the courage to dive with them but sadly I have a phobia of open water, and that's why I appreciate videos like these.
    They show us things which we'll probably never get to see.

  20. Still no orca encounters eh im praying that they do unfact im surprised u didnt see any down in Antarctic they are diwn there infact u should ses hiw they hunt leopard seals quite remarkable

  21. Truly A Blue World. typing 10/18/19. I had no idea that penguins could swim that fast and do it with flair. Love the way the group of them coming out of the water. It was like WW2 Invasion on the Beach of Normandy. The Leopard Seal, the way you described him, mean tempered something not to be around. The seal made you eat crow! Oh I am sorry, I didn't understand, that he was trying out for a Disney movie. Action! now Leo move your head to the right,get those whiskers moving in unison. Cut! good Leo take a breath of fresh air! Ice Bergs remind me of only one thing. Titanic What a Mister Freeze drink this was. Jonathan as always your top notch. God bless you!

  22. Wow Antartica is So Beautiful. sadly I'm a Freeze Baby so Antarctica isn't a Good idea but one day I'll go there

    Can you got The artic please

  23. Jonathan has a great disposition for this work! The enthusiasm makes the adventure one of the best pieces of film I have ever seen produced lately. When I was younger I used to watch Jacques Cousteau. Thanks a million!

  24. I really hope I could have the opportunity to see it.. but next best thing is to see someone else do it, someone who cares about it.. great work! I really enjoy the video and narratives

  25. Penquins are my favorite. I watch a whole documentary on them. Not lucky enough to see them with my own eyes haha. They are so funny and they were stepping right on the seals to get by to go where they are going. Also the birds were trying to steal their baby's and one penquin grabbed the bird right out of the air and kicked it's ass. They are so freaking fast.

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