Transcript: Vamizi - Cradle of Coral | Jul 05, 2017

(music plays)

A quote on screen reads "A society is defined bot only by what it creates but also by what it refuses to destroy. John C. Sawhill."

A caption reads "A film by Mattias Klum."

Clips show images of ocean waters hitting the shore and different animals living in the wild.

The narrator says OFF THE COAST OF
AFRICA, THERE IS AN OASIS - AN
ANCIENT EDEN WHERE NATURE
THRIVES. RICH EQUATORIAL CURRENTS SWEEP
ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN AND
MEET THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
HERE...
BRINGING FOOD AND LIFE,
SUPPORTING SOME OF THE WORLD'S
RICHEST CORAL REEFS...
DENSE WITH TROPICAL
ADAPTATIONS, ENDLESS SCHOOLS OF
FISH, CREATURES SMALL AND
LARGE, A TEEMING CAULDRON OF
LIFE.
[dolphins clicking]

Clips show images of marine life in the coral reefs.

The narrator says HOWEVER, EVEN IN THIS REMOTE
CORNER OF THE WORLD, CHANGES TO
THE CLIMATE AND OCEANS ARE
BEGINNING TO HAVE IMPACT.
AND MAN'S NEED FOR FOOD AND
FUEL IS PUTTING PRESSURE ON
THIS DELICATE REALM.
IT COULD EASILY SLIP AWAY, BUT
A UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP IS
FIGHTING TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT
DOESN'T HAPPEN.
LOCAL FISHERMEN AND
CONSERVATIONISTS ARE WORKING
TOGETHER TO FIND A WAY TO
PRESERVE AND PROTECT THIS
THRIVING ECOSYSTEM FOR
GENERATIONS TO COME.
AND IT'S CHANGING PEOPLE'S
LIVES FOR THE BETTER.

The title of the show reads "Vamizi. Cradle of Coral."

The narrator says THE EAST COAST OF AFRICA IS
LEGENDARY FOR ITS ABUNDANT
SCHOOLS OF FISH, BEAUTIFUL
BEACHES, MAGNIFICENT CORAL
REEFS, AND A GREAT DIVERSITY OF
MARINE ANIMALS: WHALES,
DOLPHINS, TURTLES, AND SHARKS.
BUT IN TOO MANY PLACES, THIS
ABUNDANCE IS GONE.
FROM SOMALIA TO SOUTH AFRICA,
OVERFISHING HAS TAKEN ITS TOLL
IN THE LAST 25 YEARS.
BUT THE ISLAND OF VAMIZI AND
THE REEFS THAT SURROUND IT HAVE
BECOME A REFUGE AND SANCTUARY
FOR THOUSANDS OF SPECIES - A
WILD PLACE RELATIVELY UNTOUCHED
BY THE HAND OF MAN.

A satellite view of the Earth zooms in to show the location of Vamizi.

The narrator says VAMIZI IS PART OF THE QUIRIMBAS
ARCHIPELAGO, A JEWEL-LIKE CHAIN
OF AROUND 30 CORAL ISLANDS JUST
OFF THE COAST OF MOZAMBIQUE,
STRETCHING SOME 400 KILOMETRES
NORTH TO THE BORDER WITH
TANZANIA.
AND VAMIZI IS ONE OF THE
NORTHERNMOST ISLANDS.
AT JUST 12 KILOMETRES LONG AND
TWO KILOMETRES AT ITS WIDEST
POINT, IT'S ALSO THE LARGEST
ISLAND IN THE CHAIN.
WITH LONG, UNTOUCHED BEACHES,
MANGROVE-LINED LAGOONS, AND
RICH BLUE WATERS, IT REALLY
LOOKS LIKE PARADISE.
[bird chirps]
[whale singing]
ITS RELATIVE ISOLATION FROM
MAINLAND MOZAMBIQUE HAS
PRESERVED ITS WILD NATURE AND
ATTRACTS UNIQUE SPECIES LIKE
HUMPBACK WHALES.
THEY TRAVEL THOUSANDS OF MILES
FROM ANTARCTICA TO GIVE BIRTH
AND SHELTER THEIR CALVES IN
THESE WARM, PROTECTED WATERS.
THEY ARE JOINED BY GREEN SEA
TURTLES, WHO TRAVEL UP AND DOWN
AFRICA'S COAST TO SEEK OUT
THESE BEACHES TO LAY THEIR
EGGS.
ALONGSIDE THEM, MORE THAN 400
SPECIES OF FISH LIVE ON THE
SPRAWLING REEFS - ENDANGERED
GREY REEF SHARKS BEING ONE OF
MANY WHO INHABIT THESE REEFS
AND DEEP CANYONS.
MAN HAS HAD A PRESENCE IN
MOZAMBIQUE AND ITS ISLANDS FOR
HUNDREDS - EVEN THOUSANDS - OF
YEARS.
SWAHILI AND ARAB TRADERS SAILED
THEIR DHOWS HERE SEEKING GOLD,
PALM OIL, IVORY, AND SLAVES.
EXPLORER VASCO DA GAMA DROPPED
ANCHOR IN 1498, OPENING
MOZAMBIQUE UP FOR EUROPEAN
COMMERCE AND ESTABLISHING IT AS
A COLONY OF PORTUGAL.
TODAY, MOZAMBIQUE IS A COUNTRY
EMERGING FROM DECADES OF WAR
AND HEAVY CORRUPTION, WHICH
LEFT THE ECONOMY - AND THE
PEOPLE - DEVASTATED.
BUT ALL THAT IS CHANGING.
ONE OF THE LARGEST NATURAL GAS
FINDS IN RECENT HISTORY HAS
BEEN DISCOVERED OFF THE COAST
OF MOZAMBIQUE AND MIGHT BRING
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO THE
COUNTRY IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS.
IT IS TURNING SLEEPY VILLAGES
INTO BOOMTOWNS.
BUT THRIVING CORAL REEF SYSTEMS
LIKE VAMIZI ARE DIRECTLY IN THE
PATH OF THE DEEP SEA DRILLING.
AND THE THREAT IS LOUD AND
CLEAR.

A clip shows flames coming out of a drilling boat.

[flame roars]

On a boat, Tessa says WHALES RIGHT
HERE!

In a wetsuit, William says HERE WE GO.

They both go in the water.

The narrator says A TEAM OF
SCIENTISTS AND CONSERVATIONISTS
FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE
HERE WORKING WITH THE LOCAL
COMMUNITIES TO PROTECT VAMIZI
WHILE THE ECOSYSTEM IS STILL
HEALTHY AND STRONG.

Melinda says OKAY, BACK,
BACK, BACK.
NEUTRAL, NEUTRAL, NEUTRAL!

Joana says WE CAN'T
MOVE THE EGGS TOO MUCH, SO HAVE
TO BE AS GENTLE AS POSSIBLE.

William says I COULDN'T GET
THERE.
I HAD ALREADY BEEN DOWN FOR
A MINUTE AND A BIT.
I START SWIMMING; I GO, I'M
NOT GETTING ANYWHERE.

Tessa says DID YOU HEAR THEM
DOWN THERE?
IT WAS GREAT: OOOOOOH!
IT WAS BRILLIANT.

The narrator says TESSA HEMPSON HAS
BEEN SCUBA DIVING AND FREE
DIVING ON VAMIZI'S REEFS FOR
YEARS, SO SHE HAS A DEEP
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
ABOUT HOW THESE REEFS FUNCTION.
[whale singing]

Tessa says THIS PLACE IS
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO ME
BECAUSE GROWING UP IN AFRICA,
I'M VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT THE
AFRICAN CONDITION.
THERE ARE INCREDIBLY BIG
CHALLENGES IN THIS REGION.
PEOPLE NEED TO BE FED AND REEFS
ARE DECLINING AT A RAPID RATE.
[whale singing]

The narrator says FIRST STEP FOR
TESSA AND THE REST OF THE TEAM
IS TO GATHER INFORMATION ABOUT
THE APEX PREDATORS IN THIS
AREA.

A caption reads "Tessa Hempson. South Africa Marine Biologist, James Cook University."

Tessa is in her late thirties, with long wavy blond hair in a half ponytail. She wears a pink tank top.

Tessa says THE RESEARCH THAT I'M
DOING AROUND VAMIZI IS JUST
BASICALLY TRYING TO FIND OUT
WHERE IT IS THESE SHARKS THAT
WE HAVE HERE ARE GOING, HOW
THEY'RE USING OUR AREAS, AND
WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE THEN TRY TO
CONSTRUCT A CONSERVATION PLAN
THAT'S ACTUALLY GOING TO
EFFECTIVELY CONSERVE THEM OR
GIVE THEM A REALLY GOOD SHOT AT
MAINTAINING THEIR POPULATION.

The narrator says IN ORDER TO TRACK
THEIR MOVEMENTS ON THE REEFS,
TESSA WANTS TO PLACE TAGS ON
SEVERAL SHARKS.
ONCE ATTACHED, THESE TAGS WILL
SEND OUT A SIGNAL TELLING HER
WHERE THE SHARKS GO, HOW DEEP
AND HOW LONG THEY STAY THERE,
SO THE SCIENTISTS WILL KNOW
EXACTLY WHERE TO PUT THE
BOUNDARIES FOR NEPTUNE'S ARM,
A NEW MARINE PARK.
BUT PLACING A TAG ON A MOVING
SHARK IS NO EASY TASK, SO TESSA
IS TEAMING UP WITH A PARTNER
WHO BRINGS SPECIAL SKILLS TO
THE BUSINESS OF SHARK TAGGING.

William says BASICALLY, I WAS
BROUGHT IN TO TAG THE GREY REEF
SHARKS USING MODIFIED SPEAR
GUNS.
WE ARE DOING THIS ON A SINGLE
BREATH OF AIR: FREE DIVING.

The narrator says WILLIAM WINRAM IS
A WORLD CHAMPION FREEDIVER.
LIKE THE FAMOUS JAPANESE PEARL
DIVERS, HE DIVES WITHOUT SCUBA
GEAR, USING ONLY ONE SINGLE
BREATH OF AIR.
AND HE DIVES DEEP, ACHIEVING
DEPTHS OF 150 METRES, AND CAN
STAY UNDERWATER FOR AS LONG AS
EIGHT MINUTES.
A FEW YEARS AGO, HE STARTED
USING HIS SKILLS TO SUPPORT
OCEAN CONSERVATION.

The caption changes to "William Winram. Canada IUCN Oceans Ambassador and freediving world record holder."

William is in his forties, with short wavy blond hair and a soul patch. She wears a pale blue shirt.

William says USING OUR BREATH
HOLD SKILLS AND OUR ABILITY TO
STALK AND HUNT UNDERWATER TO
SNEAK UP ON THE ANIMALS TO
PLACE THE TAGS, IT HAS PROVEN,
IN 90 PERCENT OF THE CASES,
THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY.
GOOD MORNING!

Tessa says GOOD MORNING; HOW YOU
DOING, HON?

William says GOOD.

The narrator says WILLIAM IS ANXIOUS
TO GET A FIRST LOOK AT VAMIZI'S
FAMOUS REEFS AND THE SHARKS
THEY'LL BE TAGGING.

Tessa says LET'S GO.

William says OKAY, SO WE'RE
GOOD?
WE GOT EVERYTHING?

They jump on a boat.

Tessa says YEAH, THINK WE GOT
THE LOT.
CORALS HAVE CREATED THIS ENTIRE
ISLAND, AND THEY'RE THE REASON
THAT ANY OF THE STRUCTURE
AROUND US EXISTS, SO WITHOUT
THE CORALS, YOU DON'T HAVE
HOMES FOR FISH, YOU DON'T HAVE
HOMES FOR CRABS, YOU DON'T HAVE
HOMES FOR BIGGER FISH THAT EAT
THE LITTLE FISH.
SO, THE ENTIRE ECOSYSTEM
ABSOLUTELY DEPENDS ON THOSE
CORALS BEING THERE.

(music plays)

The narrator says THE ISLANDS OF THE
QUIRIMBAS WERE ONCE PART OF AN
ANCIENT GREAT BARRIER REEF THAT
PROTECTED THIS COASTLINE.
OVER MILLIONS OF YEARS,
CONTINENTAL UPLIFT AND RECEDING
OCEAN LEVELS EXPOSED PARTS OF
THE REEF, CREATING THE ISLANDS
THAT WE SEE TODAY.
BUT JUST BELOW THESE CRYSTAL
BLUE WATERS, THEY'RE SURROUNDED
BY VAST, MAGICAL GARDENS OF
CORAL SPREADING OUT OVER 100
KILOMETRES.
DAVID OBURA IS A RENOWNED
SPECIALIST ON CORAL REEFS.
HE'S DIRECTOR AT CORDIO, A
PROGRAM DEDICATED TO THE STUDY
OF CORAL REEFS IN THIS REGION.

The caption changes to "Doctor David Obura. Kenya IUCN Coral Specialist Group."

David is in his forties, clean-shaven and with short curly brown hair. He wears a plaid shirt in blues and greens.

David says COASTLINE
IN MOZAMBIQUE AND VAMIZI, IT'S
SPECIAL IN MANY WAYS AND WE'RE
ONLY REALLY DISCOVERING THOSE
NOW IN TERMS OF WHAT IT MEANS
FOR CORAL REEFS.
AND IT'S CLEAR THAT THIS IS THE
HIGHEST DIVERSITY REGION IN THE
WHOLE WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN.
HERE IN THE NORTHERN MOZAMBIQUE
CHANNEL, YOU HAVE THESE HUGE,
CIRCULAR CURRENTS AND EDDIES
THAT SET UP.
AND THE WAY THEY INTERACT WITH
THE COASTLINE, THEY CREATE
THESE REALLY COMPLEX ISLANDS
AND BANKS, AND I THINK THAT'S
ONE OF THE REASONS WHY YOU JUST
HAVE SO MUCH ABUNDANT REEF LIFE
OVER HERE AND SO MUCH VIBRANCY.

The narrator says OBURA AND OTHER
SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THESE REEFS
MAY BE THE CRADLE OF CORAL -
WHAT OBURA CALLS A "MOTHER
REEF."

David says A MOTHER REEF IS A
SOURCE REEF FOR OTHER REEFS
AROUND IT.
SO, YOU HAVE THE REPRODUCTION
OF THE CORALS AND THE FISH AND
OTHER SPECIES ON THE REEF GETS
TRANSPORTED TO OTHER PLACES
ADJACENT ON THE COASTLINE.
IT'S VERY LIKELY THAT VAMIZI IS
THAT.

The narrator says DAVID IS DIVING
SEVERAL REEF SITES AROUND
VAMIZI, TAKING SAMPLES AND
IDENTIFYING DIFFERENT SPECIES
OF CORAL.
HIS INVESTIGATION WILL REVEAL
MUCH ABOUT THE OVERALL HEALTH
OF THE REEFS AND HOW WELL THEY
ARE ABLE TO RESPOND TO
ENVIRONMENTAL THREATS, LIKE
WARMING OCEAN TEMPERATURES AND
POLLUTION, ESPECIALLY DURING
EL NINO YEARS.
CORALS REPRODUCE THROUGH
SPAWNING.
A KEY INDICATOR IN DAVID'S
RESEARCH IS AN EVENT CALLED THE
KITUCULO, A CORAL MASS SPAWNING
USUALLY TIED TO THE FULL MOON
DURING THE SPRING EQUINOX.
AND CORALS ARE HERMAPHRODITES:
THEY HAVE BOTH MALE AND FEMALE
SEX ORGANS.
DURING THE MASS SPAWNING, THE
INDIVIDUAL CORAL ORGANISMS
SIMULTANEOUSLY RELEASE THEIR
EGGS AND SPERM IN AN EXPLOSION
OF LIFE.
THE FERTILIZED EGGS - NOW
LARVAE - ATTACH TO HARD
SURFACES BELOW THE WATER, AND
EVENTUALLY GROW INTO NEW
CORALS.
THE RELEASE OF THE EGGS ATTRACT
MANY FISH.
A MASS SPAWNING IS VERY RARE
AND OCCURS IN ONLY A FEW PLACES
IN THE WORLD.
IN FACT, VAMIZI IS THE ONLY
REEF IN ALL OF AFRICA WHERE IT
HAS BEEN OBSERVED.
IF THE MASS SPAWNING HAPPENS
NOW, IT WILL MEAN THAT VAMIZI'S
REEFS ARE STRONG AND CONTINUING
TO GROW, WHICH IS VITAL FOR
THIS REGION AND FOR THE OVERALL
HEALTH OF CORAL REEFS
EVERYWHERE.
TESSA AND WILLIAM ARE TARGETING
THE MOST SPECTACULAR PART OF
THE REEF - NEPTUNE'S ARM, ABOUT
A 40-MINUTE BOAT RIDE FROM
VAMIZI.
IT IS RATED ONE OF THE BEST
DIVE SITES IN THE WORLD, BUT
THE CURRENTS HERE CAN BE
STRONG.

William says WOW, THAT IS
RIPPING.

Tessa says IT LOOKS LIKE IT EBBS
AND FLOWS.
I MEAN, NOW, IT'S KIND OF
STOPPING A BIT BUT THERE'S
STILL THESE BIG PUSHING UP
UPWELLING CIRCLES.

William says WELL, WE NEED TO
GET IN AND CHECK IT OUT.

Tessa says YEAH.

Tessa and William jump in the water.

The narrator says THEY HAVE ENTERED
ONE OF THE RICHEST ECOSYSTEMS
IN THE WORLD, A MARINE
WONDERLAND, A RUGGED LANDSCAPE
OF MOUNTAINS, CANYONS, AND
VALLEYS.
CORALS TUMBLE DOWN A
1,000-METRE SHEER WALL, AND THE
UPWELLING OF COLD WATER FROM
THE DEEP HELPS KEEP THE CORAL
HEALTHY AND THE FISH POPULATION
PROSPERING.

William says WE HAVE WHAT'S
CALLED A MAMMALIAN DIVING
REFLEX.
IT'S THE SAME REFLEX AS WHALES,
DOLPHINS, SEA LIONS HAVE.
IT'S JUST NOT QUITE AS
PRONOUNCED.
SO, WHEN YOU HOLD YOUR BREATH,
PUT YOUR FACE IN THE WATER,
YOUR HEART RATE SLOWS.
WHEN YOU START TO DIVE DOWN,
YOUR BODY SHUNTS BLOOD OUT OF
THE ARMS AND LEGS AND
PRIORITIZES THE HEART, THE
LUNGS, AND THE BRAIN TO SAFELY
PROLONG YOUR TIME UNDERWATER.
SO, IT'S ALMOST LIKE WE'RE
MEANT TO BE IN THE SEA.

Tessa says JUST HAVING SEEN A
WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHER REEFS IN
THE LAST TWO YEARS THAT I'VE
BEEN STUDYING AND TRAVELLING
QUITE A LOT IS, COMING BACK
HERE, YOU JUST REALIZE WHAT A
UNIQUE SPOT THIS IS.
THE NUMBER OF REALLY BIG
PREDATORY FISH ON THE REEF, THE
DIVERSITY OF FISH, AND HOW
CLOSE YOU CAN GET TO THEM - IT
REALLY STANDS OUT FOR ME NOW
EVEN MORE THAN BEFORE JUST HOW
UNIQUE THAT IS.
IT'S ONE OF THE MOST PRISTINE
REMAINING REEFS THAT ACTUALLY
EXISTS ALONG THIS COASTLINE.

(music plays)

The narrator says TESSA IS ON THE
LOOKOUT FOR THE TOP DOGS IN
THIS FOOD CHAIN: SHARKS.
ALTHOUGH THERE ARE SOME
HAMMERHEAD AND TIGER SHARKS IN
THE AREA, THE MOST COMMON SHARK
SEEN ON THESE REEFS IS THE GREY
REEF SHARK.
THIS MEDIUM-SIZED SHARK IS
TYPICALLY ABOUT TWO METRES LONG
WITH A SPLASH OF WHITE ON THE
TIP OF ITS DORSAL FIN AND DARK
TIPS ON ALL THE OTHERS.
GREY REEF SHARKS ARE VERY
SOCIAL AND ARE KNOWN TO HUNT IN
PACKS, THEIR FAVOURITE PREY:
THE SCHOOLS OF FISH THAT LIVE
IN AND AROUND THE CORAL REEFS.

Tessa says WHAT I HAVE
DEFINITELY NOTICED IS THE DROP
IN THE NUMBER OF SHARKS FROM
THE TIME WHEN I FIRST CAME
HERE TO NOW.

The narrator says BUT SHARKS ARE IN
TROUBLE AROUND THE WORLD.
SCIENTISTS ESTIMATE THAT OVER
100,000 SHARKS ARE KILLED EVERY
DAY.
WE HAVE LOST MORE THAN 90
PERCENT OF THE WORLD'S SHARKS
IN JUST THE LAST FEW DECADES
DUE TO OVERFISHING.
IN FACT, THIS IS THE LAST
SURVIVING GREY REEF SHARK
POPULATION ON MOZAMBIQUE'S
COAST.
AND SHARKS DON'T BOUNCE BACK
QUICKLY.
GREY REEF SHARKS PRODUCE PUPS
ONLY EVERY OTHER YEAR, BUT
TESSA BELIEVES THAT THE RICH
REEFS OF VAMIZI MAY BE THE MOST
IMPORTANT NURSERY IN EAST
AFRICA FOR THEM.

Tessa says WE'VE HAD A COUPLE OF
YEARS WHEN WE'VE HAD LITTLE
PUPS THERE, AND THAT'S RARE TO
FIND A SITE THAT SHARKS ARE
USING LIKE THAT.
BREEDING SITES LIKE THAT AND
NURSERY SITES LIKE THAT ARE
RARE.
AND WE GET TINY LITTLE THINGS;
I MEAN, THEY'RE MINUTE.
THEY'RE SO CUTE.
THEY'RE LIKE THESE LITTLE
TADPOLES AND SUPER-CURIOUS AND
INVESTIGATIVE, NOT FEROCIOUS AT
ALL.
A SITE LIKE THAT IS KEY FOR
THESE POPULATIONS.

The narrator says SHARKS AND OTHER
SEA CREATURES MEET UP ON THE
REEFS DAILY TO GET CLEANED AND
GROOMED.
SMALL FISH AND SHRIMP QUEUE UP
AND PICK PATIENTLY ON THE
LARGER ANIMALS, REMOVING
PARASITES, DEAD SKIN, AND
BACTERIA THAT ACCUMULATE
OVERNIGHT.
IN RETURN, THESE SMALL CLEANERS
ARE OFF THE MENU.
NO HUNTING AND EATING THE
SERVICE STAFF!
EVEN THOUGH THERE USED TO BE
MANY MORE SHARKS HERE, THERE IS
A RESIDENT PACK LEFT.
TESSA SUSPECTS THAT THEY ARE
JUST SWIMMING AND HUNTING DEEP
WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT SHE
HOPES TO CONFIRM WITH THE DATA
FROM THE TAGS.
BUT TODAY, AGAIN, THE CURRENTS
ARE RUNNING STRONG.
TESSA AND WILLIAM DECIDE TO
RETURN TO HOME BASE AND PLAN
THEIR TAGGING STRATEGY.

William says IT'S VERY
INTERESTING.

Tessa says FROM WHEN YOU GOT OUT
OF IT, YEAH.

William says OKAY, YEAH.

They climb back up on the boat.

The narrator says CLOSER TO VAMIZI,
DAVID OBURA IS CHECKING THE
REEFS FOR SIGNS OF STRESS OR
DAMAGE.
HE HAS SO FAR IDENTIFIED OVER
300 SPECIES OF CORAL GROWING
HERE.

David goes in the water.

David says THE WATERS AROUND
VAMIZI ISLANDS ARE EXTRA RICH,
AND THE REASON IS BECAUSE THE
ENERGY IN THESE CIRCULAR
CURRENTS, THE EDDIES, IT
CREATES A LOT OF ACTIVITY IN
THE WATER AND PRODUCTIVITY FOR
THE PHYTOPLANKTON AND THE
PLANKTON AND SO ON.
BUT ALSO, WHAT THESE EDDIES DO
IS THEY REACH DOWN AND THEY
TOUCH THE BOTTOM.
THEY GO DOWN THE CONTINENTAL
SLOPE AND THEY PULL UP
NUTRIENTS AND SEDIMENTS FROM
THE OCEAN FLOOR AND DELIVER IT
TO THE SURFACE, AND THAT
CREATES A HUGE RICHNESS FOR
LIFE IN THE SHALLOWS.
CORALS CAN GROW TO CENTURIES
OLD, AND THIS IS ONE OF THE
MOST STABLE TECTONIC
CONTINENTAL COASTLINES IN THE
WORLD.
IT'S BEEN LIKE THIS FOR 150
MILLION YEARS OR MORE.
IN THAT TIME, SO MUCH CHANGE
HAS HAPPENED ELSEWHERE - THE
DINOSAURS HAVE GONE EXTINCT,
AND NOW WE HAVE A LOT OF CORAL
SPECIES BEING FORMED IN THE
INDONESIAN REGION, AND THEY'RE
COMING ACROSS IN THE OCEAN
CURRENTS FROM THERE, AND I
THINK THEY'RE MIXING WITH THIS
OLDER FAUNA OF CORALS FROM
30 MILLION YEARS AGO.
AND IT SEEMS THE NORTHERN
MOZAMBIQUE CHANNEL REALLY IS A
PLACE WHERE ALL THESE SPECIES
CAN SURVIVE.

The narrator says BUT MOST CORAL
REEFS ARE NOT SO LUCKY.
REEFS AROUND THE WORLD ARE
EXPERIENCING MASSIVE DIE-OFFS.
UNDER STRESS FROM WARMING
OCEANS, POLLUTION, OR EVEN THE
LOSS OF TOO MANY FISH, CORAL
EXPELS THE ALGAE THAT GIVES IT
ITS BEAUTIFUL COLOURS,
RESULTING IN BLEACHING.
REEFS CAN RECOVER, BUT MANY
DIE, AND DAVID KNOWS THAT THIS
IS A BIOLOGICAL HOTSPOT THAT IS
COMPLETELY UNIQUE AND MUST BE
KEPT ALIVE.

David says NOW, WHEN YOU SEE THE
NUMBERS OF INCREASING
PERCENTAGE OF REEFS ARE
THREATENED, DECREASING
PERCENTAGE ARE IN REALLY GOOD
HEALTH, IT'S BECAUSE WE'RE
ADDING ONE IMPACT AFTER ANOTHER
FISHING, POLLUTION, CLIMATE
CHANGE.
AND THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME
TO RECOVER FROM ONE BEFORE THE
NEXT ONE HAPPENS.
PROGRESSIVELY, CORAL REEFS ARE
INCREASINGLY THREATENED AROUND
THE WORLD.

David takes pictures of the species in the coral reefs.

(music plays)

The narrator says THIS IS AN
INCREASINGLY COMMON SIGHT.
WHAT USED TO BE COLOURFUL AND
MIND BOGGLINGLY RICH, AN
EQUILIBRIUM OF LIFE AND A
LIFE-SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR
HUMANITY, HAS NOW TURNED INTO
AN UNDERWATER WASTELAND.
CORAL REEFS ARE SOME OF THE
OLDEST ECOSYSTEMS ON EARTH AND
CRUCIAL TO THE STABILITY OF THE
PLANET.
THEY ARE SOMETIMES CALLED THE
RAINFORESTS OF THE OCEAN
BECAUSE THEY NOT ONLY PROVIDE A
HOME FOR THOUSANDS OF SPECIES,
THEY ALSO PROTECT OUR
COASTLINES FROM EROSION AND
SLOW GLOBAL WARMING BY PULLING
CARBON DIOXIDE OUT OF THE AIR.
IN FACT, SEA GRASS BEDS AND
MANGROVES ALSO HELP SEQUESTER
CARBON FROM THE ATMOSPHERE.
IT'S ALL CONNECTED.
ALTHOUGH A CORAL REEF LOOKS
LIKE IT'S MADE UP OF ROCKS AND
PLANTS, IT IS ACTUALLY A
COMPLEX STRUCTURE COMPOSED
ENTIRELY OF MILLIONS OF TINY
ANIMALS CALLED CORAL POLYPS.
THE STONY CORALS FORM A HARD
SKELETON OF CALCIUM CARBONATE.
WHEN THEY DIE, THEIR SKELETONS
REMAIN AND NEW POLYPS ATTACH TO
THEM AND GROW.
SOON, THEY HAVE CREATED A
VIRTUAL UNDERWATER CITY.
THIS IS PRIME OCEAN REAL
ESTATE.
CORAL REEFS MAKE UP LESS THAN
ONE PERCENT OF OCEAN HABITAT,
YET 25 PERCENT OF MARINE LIFE
LIVES HERE.
LIKE THE BLUESPOTTED STINGRAY
OR THE NAPOLEON WRASSE, HIGH ON
THE IUCN RED LIST OF THREATENED
SPECIES.
GARDEN EELS...
OR ALLARD'S CLOWNFISH, HIDING
OUT IN THE ANEMONES.
AND A SPOTTED GREASY GROUPER
THAT WATCHES FOR PREDATORS AND
PREY ON THE SANDY BOTTOM.
NEARBY, A JUVENILE BLUE RAZOR
WRASSE MIMICS A BIT OF DEBRIS,
SWAYING WITH THE GENTLE SURGE.
SOME RESIDENTS ACTUALLY CHEW ON
THEIR HOME.
THE RARE BUMPHEAD PARROTFISH
RAMS ITS HEAD INTO THE REEF,
BREAKING UP THE POLYPS FOR EASY
SNACKING.
ALTHOUGH THEY CANNOT
METABOLIZE THE CORAL, SO THEY
DISCHARGE IT.
A SINGLE BUMPHEAD CAN CONSUME
OVER FIVE TONS OF CORAL IN JUST
ONE YEAR, WHICH RESULTS IN
ABOUT 100 KILOS OF SAND.
SCIENTISTS SAY THAT THESE FISH
ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ABOUT 70
PERCENT OF ALL THE SAND ON THE
TROPICAL BEACHES.
ANOTHER GREAT PERSONALITY ON
THESE REEFS IS THE ONE THE
LOCALS HAVE DUBBED NUISANCE.
IT'S NOT DANGEROUS - JUST BIG,
CURIOUS, AND UNAFRAID.
SPORTING 11 SPINES DOWN ITS
BACK AND WEIGHING IN OVER 100
KILOS, THE POTATO GROUPER CAN
STARTLE EVEN THE MOST
EXPERIENCED DIVER.
PROVIDING EXQUISITE COLOUR IN
THE DARK BLUE ARE ORIENTAL
SWEETLIPS, HUMPBACK SNAPPERS,
AND SCHOOLING BANNERFISH.
THE LIONFISH WHOSE VENOMOUS
SPINES CAN PUNCTURE AND DELIVER
NEUROTOXINS.
BATTALIONS OF NEON FUSILIERS,
AND HUNDREDS OF OTHERS.
TUCKED DEEP INSIDE THE REEF ARE
SOME OF THE STRANGER
INHABITANTS: RAZOR-TOOTHED,
BLACK-SPOTTED, AND GIANT MORAY
EELS.
COLOURFUL NUDIBRANCHS.

A bright coloured sea slug-like mollusc appears in the reef.

The narrator says GRACEFUL CREATURES WITH
EXTRAORDINARY ADAPTATIONS.
BUT THE CORALS THEMSELVES OFFER
UP A STUNNING VARIETY OF SHAPES
AND COLOURS, FROM THE REGAL
STAGHORN AND TABLE CORALS,
WHICH ARE BUILDING BLOCKS OF
THE REEF, TO SHOWY VARIETIES
LIKE GALAXY CORAL, FAN CORAL,
AND CABBAGE CORAL.
EVEN IN THE WORLD OF MEDICINE,
THESE REEFS ARE OF
EXTRAORDINARY IMPORTANCE
BECAUSE THE DIVERSITY AMONG
CORALS IS EQUALLY AMAZING ON A
CHEMICAL LEVEL.
THIS IS ONE OF OUR MOST
VALUABLE TOOLS TO DEVELOP NEW
DRUGS FOR THE FUTURE.
[rooster crowing in distance]
[people chattering]

A clip shows a group of fisherman and their families.

The narrator says THE LOCAL FISHING COUNCIL,
COMPOSED OF FISHERMEN AND
VILLAGERS, HELP PROTECT THE
COMMUNITY-RUN MARINE SANCTUARY.
REGULAR PATROLS CONDUCTED BY
THE LOCAL FISHERIES' COUNCIL
INTERCEPT FISHERMEN AND
CONFISCATE THEIR FISHING GEAR
WHEN THEY FIND THEM FISHING
ILLEGALLY.
AND ON THESE ISLANDS, TURTLES
AND THEIR EGGS HAVE ALSO BEEN A
KEY SOURCE OF FOOD FOR
ISLANDERS.

Night vision camera clips show images of Joana Trindade next to sea turtles on a beach.

Joana is in her thirties, with shoulder-length straight brown hair. She wears a gray top with white lace appliques.

Joana says MY PRIMARY AREA OF
WORK IN VAMIZI ARE THE SEA
TURTLES.
WE HAVE GREEN TURTLES NESTING
ON THE ISLAND AND WE'VE BEEN
MONITORING THEM FOR OVER 10
YEARS NOW ON A DAILY BASIS, AND
WE HAVE HAWKSBILL FEEDING ON
THE REEFS AROUND THE ISLAND,
WHICH WE WILL START TO MONITOR
SOON.

A clip shows Joana measuring a turtle nest in the sand.

The narrator says ABOUT 1500 PEOPLE
LIVE IN THREE VILLAGES ON
VAMIZI, ALL LOCATED ON THE
EASTERN TIP OF THE ISLAND.
THEY ARE CALLED THE "PEOPLE OF
THE COAST," OR MWANI PEOPLE.

[women singing in Mwani]

The narrator says LIFE IS TRADITIONAL HERE.
MOST PEOPLE MAKE A LIVING BY
CATCHING FISH FROM THEIR DUGOUT
CANOES OR SMALL DHOWS.
THERE ARE A FEW SMALL GARDENS,
BUT CROPS ARE LIMITED BECAUSE
THERE IS NO FRESH WATER ON THE
ISLAND.

Clips show images of the Mwani people in their day to day activities.

The narrator says EVERY DROP THE COMMUNITY USES
MUST BE BROUGHT IN DAILY BY
BOAT FROM THE MAINLAND.
IN 2006, FISHERMEN FROM
TANZANIA AND OTHER MOZAMBIQUE
PROVINCES BEGAN TO FISH THE
RICH WATERS OF VAMIZI'S REEFS.
ALARMED THAT THEIR FISH STOCKS
WOULD BE DEPLETED, THE LOCAL
FISHERIES' COUNCIL DECLARED A
THREE-KILOMETRE NO FISHING ZONE
AROUND VAMIZI.
AND PEOPLE ARE ALSO VERY
ENGAGED IN TURTLE CONSERVATION.

Joana picks up a hatchling and says SHE JUST HATCHED;
YOU CAN SEE.
SEA TURTLES HAVE VERY AMAZING
LIFECYCLES.
FROM BEING LITTLE HATCHLINGS
BORN ON THE BEACH, THEY END UP
IN THE SEA AND THEY SWIM FOR
DAYS UNTIL THEY REACH DEEP
WATERS AND HIDE IN ALGAE BEDS,
WHERE THEY WILL STAY FOR A FEW
YEARS UNTIL THEY GROW.
THEN THEY WILL MOVE TO THEIR
FEEDING HABITATS FOR A FEW
DECADES.
IT TAKES TWO OR THREE DECADES
TO REACH SEXUAL MATURITY, AFTER
WHICH THEY WILL GO BACK TO THE
BEACHES WHERE THEY WERE BORN TO
MATE AND NEST AND TO START THE
CYCLE ALL OVER AGAIN.

The narrator says AND THAT'S WHERE
THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES COME IN:
TO HELP LOCATE, MONITOR, AND
PROTECT THE NESTS SO THE
HATCHLINGS HAVE A CHANCE TO
MAKE IT TO THE SEA.

Joana says WE STARTED BY
WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITIES
AND SEEING HOW THE POPULATION
WAS GROWING.
THEY THEMSELVES BECAME THE
BIGGEST PROTECTORS OF SEA
TURTLES, AND STILL TO THIS DAY
THEY WILL TELL YOU HOW
IMPORTANT IT IS TO KEEP THE
TURTLES AROUND, AND THEY ARE
THE ONES THAT LOVE THEM THE
MOST.

(music plays)

The narrator says EACH YEAR,
HUMPBACK WHALES SET OFF ON ONE
OF THE LONGEST MIGRATIONS IN
THE WORLD, TRAVELLING THOUSANDS
OF MILES FROM THE FRIGID WATERS
OF ANTARCTICA TO COME HERE TO
THE PROTECTED BAYS AND LAGOONS
OF THE MOZAMBIQUE CHANNEL TO
BREED AND GIVE BIRTH.
[blast of air]
AVERAGING 15 METRES LONG AND
WEIGHING ANYWHERE FROM 25 TO 40
TONS, THESE GIANTS OF THE DEEP
WERE HUNTED TO NEAR EXTINCTION
BEFORE INTERNATIONAL WHALING
BANS WENT INTO PLACE IN THE
'60s.
NOW THEIR NUMBERS ARE SLOWLY ON
THE RISE.
THEY CAN FREQUENTLY BE SEEN
HERE DRIFTING ON THE SURFACE
AND RESTING.

On a boat, Melinda says THERE HE IS!
SO, WE'RE GOING TO GET ANOTHER
SURFACING.

The narrator says MELINDA REKDAHL IS
A MARINE BIOLOGIST WITH THE
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
IN NEW YORK SPECIALIZING IN
WHALES.
SHE'S COME HERE TO FIND OUT
MORE ABOUT THE HEALTH AND
MIGRATIONS OF THE HUMPBACKS IN
THESE TROPICAL LAGOONS.

Melinda says CALVES NEED WARM
WATER.
THEY DON'T REALLY WANT TO BE
BORN DOWN IN ANTARCTICA WHERE
THEY MIGHT HAVE COLD WATER.
THEY DON'T HAVE A LOT OF
RESERVES, OBVIOUSLY, FAT STORES
THEMSELVES, SO THEY COME AND
GIVE BIRTH UP HERE.

The narrator says GELICA INTECA,
A RESEARCHER FROM UNIVERSIDADE
LURIO IN PEMBA, KEEPS A DATA
LOG ON ALL SIGHTINGS AND
CONTACTS.
IT'S CLEAR THE WHALES ARE
COMING HERE IN BIG NUMBERS.
BY TAKING SMALL SKIN BIOPSIES,
THE TEAM CAN LEARN ABOUT THEIR
OVERALL HEALTH, WHERE THEY'RE
GOING, AND WHAT DRAWS THEM TO
THESE CALM LAGOONS.
MELINDA HAS BROUGHT AN OLD
TECHNOLOGY TO HER HIGH-TECH
WORK: A CROSSBOW FITTED WITH A
SMALL DART THAT STRIKES THE
WHALE BELOW ITS DORSAL FIN AND
EXTRACTS A SMALL SKIN SAMPLE
BEFORE FALLING INTO THE WATER.

The caption changes to "Melinda Rekdahl. Australia Postdoctoral researcher wildlife conservation society (MCS)."

Melinda is in her thirties, with long wavy blond hair and wears a white T-shirt and a colourful necklace.

Melinda says IT'S ABOUT
A
CENTIMETRE PLUG TAKEN OUT
FROM THE WHALE.
AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S A MASSIVE
ANIMAL - USUALLY UP TO 15
METRES.
SO, I THINK IT'S MORE OF A
MOSQUITO BITE.

The narrator says MELINDA IS
CONCERNED THAT THE WHALES MAY
BE THE FIRST TO FEEL THE IMPACT
FROM THE DEEP SEA DRILLING FOR
GAS.
LOUD NOISE IN THE WATER CAN
SHATTER THEIR PEACEFUL WORLD.
[whales singing]

Melinda says THERE'S A LOT OF
NOISE GENERATED FROM OIL AND
GAS ACTIVITIES, STRANDINGS
THAT HAVE BEEN LOOSELY
ASSOCIATED AT LEAST WITH
POTENTIAL LARGE SOURCES OF
NOISE.
THERE'S KIND OF TWO EFFECTS IT
CAN HAVE.
IT CAN HAVE A PHYSIOLOGICAL
EFFECT AND HARM THEM BY
DAMAGING THEIR HEARING, OR IT
CAN HAVE THIS SOCIAL EFFECT
WHERE IT'S AFFECTING HOW THEY
CAN COMMUNICATE AND CARRY OUT
THEIR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES AND
IMPORTANT ACTIVITIES THAT ARE
REALLY CRITICAL TO THEIR
SURVIVAL.

On the boat, Melinda says THERE WE GO.
I THINK IT IS A MOTHER AND
CALF.
500 METRES; TAKE IT VERY
SLOWLY.
THEY'RE VERY QUIET.
THE CALF'S LYING ACROSS HER
ROSTRUM.
CAREFUL.
CAREFUL!

She aims and fires the dart.

[dart firing]

She says YAY!
OKAY, BACK, BACK, NEUTRAL,
NEUTRAL!
LET'S GET THE DART, HUH?
IT'S FANTASTIC.
WE'VE REALLY SEEN SO MANY
WHALES HERE.
A LOT OF MOTHERS AND CALVES,
WHALES THAT HAVE JUST STAYED IN
THIS BAY OVER MULTIPLE DAYS,
AND REALLY SHOWS US THAT THIS
IS A UNIQUE AREA.
IT'S OBVIOUSLY A REALLY GOOD
HABITAT FOR THE WHALES.

[whale singing]

The narrator says WHALES ARE
CONTINUING TO ARRIVE, AND
MELINDA IS CONFIDENT SHE'LL BE
ABLE TO GET GOOD SAMPLES THAT
WILL TELL THE TALE OF WHERE
THESE WHALES ARE GOING AND HOW
TO PROTECT THEM.
[laughs]

(music plays)

The narrator says THE FULL MOON IS A SIGN THAT
THE KITUCULO - THE CORAL MASS
SPAWNING - MAY HAPPEN SOON.
BUT IT'S A SECRET AFFAIR,
OCCURRING ONLY AT NIGHT AND NO
ONE KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT TRIGGERS
IT.
10 MINUTES AFTER SUNDOWN, THE
DAYTIME FISH HAVE SCURRIED TO
SHELTER AND THE NIGHTTIME
CARNIVORES COME OUT TO FEED
AND BREED.
LIONFISH, SCORPIONFISH, MORAY
EELS, SHARKS, AND OTHERS TAKE
THE NIGHTSHIFT.
SOME FISH CHANGE COLOUR,
DARKENING TO CAMOUFLAGE
THEMSELVES.
OTHERS CHANGE THEIR ENTIRE
BODIES, LIKE THIS DOGFACE
PUFFERFISH, WHICH BECOMES AN
UNAPPETIZING BALL OF SPIKES
WHEN THREATENED.
MOST TUCK THEMSELVES INTO
CREVICES IN THE REEF TO REST
AND TO AVOID TO BECOME THE
NIGHT'S SNACK, BECAUSE THE
NOCTURNAL HUNTERS ARE ON THE
PROWL.
SOME HAVE BIGGER EYES TO ABSORB
AS MUCH LIGHT AS POSSIBLE AS
THEY WATCH AND WAIT FOR PREY.
THIS SCORPIONFISH MAKES ITSELF
LOOK LIKE PART OF THE REEF -
AN EFFECTIVE AMBUSH PREDATOR.
SHARKS USE THEIR KEEN SENSE OF
SMELL AND THEIR SENSITIVE
ELECTRORECEPTORS JUST BELOW
THEIR SKIN TO DETECT THEIR
TARGETS.
SOME CREATURES TEAM UP TO CATCH
DINNER.
FOR CORALS, FINDING THE NEXT
MEAL IS A LITTLE EASIER.
WITHOUT LEAVING THE COMFORT OF
HOME, THEY EXTEND THEIR
TENTACLES AND FEED ON THE
NIGHT'S PLANKTON FEAST AS IT
DRIFTS DOWN FROM THE SURFACE.
BUT EVEN AS THE LIGHT GOES OUT,
OTHER LIGHTS BEGIN TO WINK ON
AS SOME OF THE REEF ANIMALS
BEGIN TO GLOW BRIGHTLY.
THIS EFFECT, CALLED
BIOLUMINESCENCE, IS A CHEMICAL
PROCESS SIMILAR TO WHAT HAPPENS
IN A GLOW STICK.
THERE ARE MANY LIKELY REASON
FOR THIS STRATEGY: SCARING OR
ALERTING PREDATORS, FINDING A
MATE, OR EVEN FEEDING.
TO THE HUMAN EYE, IT RESEMBLES
NEON FIREWORKS.
BUT WITH THE FIRST RAYS OF SUN,
THE CREATURES OF THE NIGHT
SCUTTLE BACK INTO THEIR HIDING
PLACES, AND THE DAY BEGINS
AGAIN.
THE STAKES ARE HIGH, AND TESSA
AND WILLIAM ARE ANXIOUS TO
START TAGGING SHARKS AT
NEPTUNE'S.

Tessa and William get back on a boat.

[engine starting]
[engine humming]

Tessa says TO TAG THESE SHARKS,
WE HAVE AN AMAZING OPPORTUNITY
AT THE MOMENT WITH WILLIAM
WINRAM.
AND HE'S GOT A FANTASTIC SKILL:
USING A SPEAR GUN, IMPLANT A
TAG JUST NEXT TO THE DORSAL FIN
OF THE SHARKS.
SO, HE TAGS IT WITHOUT HAVING
TO CATCH THE SHARK, WITHOUT
HAVING TO BRING THEM TO THE
SURFACE.
WE CAN AVOID ALL THAT STRESS.
AND IN THE REGULAR TAGGING
PROCESS, WHERE WE'D NORMALLY
HAVE TO EXHAUST A SHARK TO
GET IT UP TO THE SURFACE AND
TAG IT; SO HE JUST DIVES DOWN,
GETS CLOSE ENOUGH TO THE
SHARKS, AND THEN TAGS THEM.

William says SO, YOU WANT TO
TAKE THAT OFF?
MY HANDS ARE WET.

Tessa says SURE.

The narrator says ONCE THE TAG IS IN
PLACE ON THE DORSAL FIN OF THE
SHARK, IT WILL START SENDING
OUT A SIGNAL WHICH IS PICKED UP
BY RECEIVERS PLACED THROUGHOUT
THE REEFS.
SCIENTISTS WILL BE ABLE TO
TRACK WHERE THE SHARK GOES AND
BETTER UNDERSTAND ITS
BEHAVIOUR.

Tessa says WE'LL GO ONCE WE'RE
IN THE WATER.
ON THE COUNT OF THREE.

William says ONE, TWO, THREE,
GO.

In their diving gear, they go in the water.

The narrator says THE CURRENTS ARE
STILL RUNNING STRONG, AND SINCE
THE SHARK POPULATION IN THE
ENTIRE WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN IS
DIMINISHING, SHARKS ARE HARDER
NOW TO FIND AND APPROACH THAN
EVER.
TESSA AND WILLIAM DECIDE TO USE
SCUBA GEAR TODAY, ALLOWING THEM
MAXIMUM TIME UNDERWATER TO FIND
AND TAG A SHARK.
THEY DESCEND INTO THE CANYON
FORTRESS OF NEPTUNE'S ARM AND
BEGIN THEIR SEARCH.
TESSA AND WILLIAM KNOW THAT
THE SHARKS OFTEN HANG OUT DEEP
DURING THE DAY, BUT GREY REEF
SHARKS RELY ON RAM VENTILATION
WATER FORCED OVER THEIR GILLS
TO GET AIR.
THAT MEANS THAT THEY MUST SWIM
CONSTANTLY IN ORDER TO BREATHE.
THEY'RE HOPING THAT A FEW
HUNGRY OR CURIOUS SHARKS WILL
VENTURE INTO THE SHALLOWER
DEPTHS TODAY.
IT'S A GAME OF HIDE-AND-SEEK.
AND THEN SUDDENLY...

A shark approach and they tag it with a long device.

The narrator says IT'S DONE.
THEY HAVE THEIR FIRST TAG.

Back on the surface, Tessa says THAT WAS AN AWESOME
SESSION.

William says YEAH, WAS GREAT.

Tessa says UN, DOS, TRES!

William says IT WORKED.
WAS AMAZING!
WHEN I GOT IN, I COULDN'T SEE
ANYTHING.
NO IDEA WHERE THE BOAT HAD
GONE.
VISIBILITY WAS LIKE MAYBE A
METRE AND A HALF, AND THEN I
LOST YOU AND I WAS LIKE, SHIT,
WHERE'D SHE GO?
AND YOU WERE ABOVE ME!
BECAUSE I'D GOTTEN IN AND I
EMPTIED THE THING AND I WAS
LIKE...

The narrator says THE TEAM IS
ELATED.
THEY'VE MANAGED TO COLLECT DATA
ON TWO OF THE LARGEST SPECIES
HERE: THE GREY REEF SHARK AND
THE HUMPBACK WHALE.
[whale singing]

(music plays)

The narrator says AND AS NIGHT FALLS, THERE'S
MORE GOOD NEWS.
FISHERMEN ARE REPORTING THAT
THEY'RE SEEING THE FIRST
RELEASE OF THE CORAL SPAWNING.
THE KITUCULO HAS BEGUN.
THIS UNIQUE EVENT IS RARELY
SEEN, AND ALMOST NEVER FILMED.
NO ONE KNOWS HOW THE CORALS
COORDINATE, BUT SCIENTISTS
BELIEVE THAT THEY MAY RELEASE A
CHEMICAL WHICH ALLOWS THEM TO
SMELL EACH OTHER SPAWNING.
WHATEVER THE SECRET IS, IT HAS
WORKED TONIGHT.
THE MASSIVE RELEASE OF EGGS AND
SPERM RESEMBLES AN UNDERWATER
SNOWSTORM.
OCEAN CURRENTS WILL SPREAD THE
MATERIAL OVER A BROAD AREA,
ENCOURAGING HEALTHY GENETIC
MIXING.
AND THE SHEER VOLUME MEANS THAT
A GOOD PERCENTAGE OF THE NEW
LARVAE WILL SURVIVE THE NIGHT'S
PREDATORS.
VAMIZI IS ONE OF ONLY A HANDFUL
OF CORAL REEFS IN THE ENTIRE
WORLD WHERE MASS SPAWNING
OCCURS.
IT CONFIRMS THAT THE REEFS ARE
HEALTHY AND CAN CONTINUE TO ACT
AS A MOTHER REEF LOCALLY AND
GLOBALLY.

David says IT'S VERY POSSIBLE IF
THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE THAT
THAT HAPPENS, THEN FOR SURE
THOSE CORAL LARVAE ARE SEEDING
OTHER REEFS ALL OVER THE EAST
AFRICAN REGION.
AND THAT'S UNHEARD OF IN EAST
AFRICA.

(music plays)

[women singing]

The narrator says THE CORALS AREN'T
THE ONLY CREATURES ACTIVE AT
NIGHT.
LITTLE TURTLE HATCHLINGS POKE
THEIR SNOUTS OUT OF THEIR
SHELLS AND STRUGGLE TOWARD THE
BIG SEA.
THESE BABIES ARE THE NEXT
GENERATION OF GREEN SEA TURTLES
JUST A FEW OF THE 6,000 BORN
ON VAMIZI THIS YEAR.
THEY FACE A TOUGH JOURNEY, AND
WORLDWIDE ONLY ABOUT ONE IN A
THOUSAND OF THESE YOUNG TURTLES
SURVIVE TO ADULTHOOD, BUT THE
CONSERVATION TEAM WORKING WITH
THE VILLAGERS ARE HELPING THEM
BEAT THE ODDS SO THEY CAN COME
BACK HERE IN 30 TO 40 YEARS AND
LAY THEIR EGGS IN SAFETY.

Tessa says THIS LITTLE GIRL GOES
DOWN TO THE SEA AND THERE'S
THIS OLD MAN THAT COMES DOWN
FOR HIS MORNING WALK AS WELL.
AND THERE WAS A STORM THE NIGHT
BEFORE, AND ALL THESE STARFISH
HAD BEEN WASHED UP ON THE
BEACH.
AND THE LITTLE GIRL IS WALKING
ALONG AND SHE'S PICKING UP THE
STARFISH AND THROWING THEM BACK
IN THE SEA.
THE OLD MAN EVENTUALLY CATCHES
UP WITH HER AND SAYS TO HER,
YOU KNOW, LITTLE GIRL, WHAT ARE
YOU DOING?
THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF STARFISH
ON THIS BEACH; YOU'RE NEVER
GONNA MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
AND SHE PICKS UP A STARFISH,
THROWS IT BACK IN THE SEA AND
SAYS, FOR THAT STARFISH, I MADE
A DIFFERENCE.
AND...
THAT'S IT.

The narrator says THEIR MISSION HAS
BEEN SUCCESSFUL, BUT IT'S JUST
ONE CHAPTER IN A LONG-TERM
COMMITMENT.

David says VAMIZI IS REALLY AN
ISLAND OF HOPE.
GOING DIVING HERE AND SEEING
THE HEALTH OF THE CORALS AFTER
HAVING SOME OF THEM BEING
IMPACTED BY GLOBAL WARMING IN
ONE PLACE, UNIMPACTED IN
OTHERS, THEY'RE REALLY
REBOUNDING BACK LIKE I HAVEN'T
SEEN IN MANY OTHER PLACES.
THE REEFS IN THIS REGION ARE A
REAL HOPE FOR THE REST OF THE
WEST INDIAN OCEAN, IN FACT.

(music plays)

The narrator says THE KEY IS
PARTNERSHIP.
THE GAS INDUSTRY IS JUST
TAKING OFF.
PROJECTIONS ARE THAT THE
RESERVE BELOW THE SEAFLOOR
HOLDS THREE TRILLION CUBIC
METRES OF GAS, MAKING
MOZAMBIQUE A MAJOR PLAYER IN
THE GLOBAL MARKET.
THE ECONOMY AND THE POPULATION
ARE BOOMING.
WORKING TOGETHER, THE LOCAL
FISHING COUNCIL AND THE
CONSERVATION TEAM AIM TO MAKE
SURE THAT GROWTH HAPPENS IN A
SUSTAINABLE WAY.
NEW DATA IS COMING IN FROM THE
SHARK AND WHALE STUDIES, GIVING
THE TEAM FRESH INFORMATION
ABOUT WHAT THESE ANIMALS NEED
TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE HERE.
THE CORAL REEFS HAVE BEEN HERE
FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS - LONG
BEFORE MAN WALKED THE EARTH.
PROTECTING THEM, PRESERVING
THEIR BEAUTY, IS A CRUCIAL
INVESTMENT TOWARDS A
SUSTAINABLE FUTURE THAT IMPACTS
NOT ONLY THIS REGION, BUT EVERY
PLACE AND EVERY LIVING THING ON
THIS PLANET, FROM LONDON TO
MUMBAI TO BUENOS AIRES.
IF THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER WITH
THE CONSERVATION TEAM CAN FIND
A WAY TO BALANCE THE NEEDS OF
NATURE AND THE NEEDS OF MAN,
THEY HOPE TO KEEP THE REEFS
STRONG AND FLOURISHING FOR
GENERATIONS TO COME.

David says MY FOUR-YEAR-OLD SON,
HE WANTS TO DIVE AND SURF AND
ENJOY THE SEA THE WAY I DO.
I HOPE THAT I CAN HELP MAKE IT
SO THAT IT'S AS BEAUTIFUL THEN
AS IT IS NOW.

The narrator says IT WILL BE THE
LEGACY OF OUR GENERATION, THE
GREATEST CHALLENGE IN HUMAN
HISTORY, TO SAVE THE EARTH, AND
THEREBY TO SAVE OURSELVES.
WHAT CAN WE KEEP, AND WHAT WILL
WE LOSE?
THE PLACE TO BEGIN IS
EVERYWHERE.
THE TIME TO BEGIN...
IS NOW.

(Mwani music plays)

The end credits roll.

Directed and narrated by Mattias Klum.

Producers, Mawyanne Culpepper and MAttias Klum.

For Ansgar and Einar. In loving memory of Salimo Assuane.

Copyright 2016, Mattias Klum Tierra Grande AB.

Watch: Vamizi - Cradle of Coral