Lonely Planet Writer

Enter the magical aquatic world of Blue Planet II

Despite having only aired three of its intended seven episodes, already Blue Planet II is receiving international acclaim for its incredible cinematography, breath-taking scope and unflinching look at the world’s oceans and all of its inhabitants.

Presented by Sir David Attenborough and produced by BBC Earth, the popular nature series follows the first instalment, released in 2001, and with more than 15 years having passed, technological advances mean the team can capture even more detail than ever before.

So far, episodes have explored animal behaviours uncovered on the journey from the equator to the poles, as well as the undersea cities of tropical reefs and the mysteries of the deep. In total, the team spent 1500 days at sea on 123 different expeditions, clocking up over 1000 hours in submarines in order to get the footage.

An Atlantic puffin with a beakful of food for its chick as seen on Blue Planet II. Image by Miles Barton
An Atlantic puffin with a beakful of food for its chick as seen on Blue Planet II. Image by BBC/Miles Barton
Surfing bottlenose dolphins, in South Africa as seen on Blue Planet II.
Surfing bottlenose dolphins, in South Africa as seen on Blue Planet II. Image by BBC/Steve Benjamin
A Sally Lightfoot crab, the favourite food of moray eels and octopuses. Image by BBC/Miles Barton
A Sally Lightfoot crab, the favourite food of moray eels and octopuses. Image by BBC/Miles Barton
A walrus mother and calf resting on an iceberg in Svalbard, Arctic. The bond between mother and calf is very strong, reinforced by vocal communication and their strong sense of smell. Image by BBC
A walrus mother and calf resting on an iceberg in Svalbard, Arctic. The bond between mother and calf is very strong, reinforced by vocal communication and their strong sense of smell. Image by BBC
Humpback whales, feeding communally off the coast of Monterey. Image by BBC/Joe Platko
Humpback whales, feeding communally off the coast of Monterey. Image by BBC/Joe Platko
A bustling coral reef in Fiji. Tropical reefs are some of the busiest places in the ocean. Fish, like these Sea Goldie (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), spend their days foraging in schools in the clear waters above patches of coral reef. Image by BBC/Alex Mustard
A bustling coral reef in Fiji. Tropical reefs are some of the busiest places in the ocean. Fish, like these Sea Goldie (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), spend their days foraging in schools in the clear waters above patches of coral reef. Image by BBC/Alex Mustard
A green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in Sipadan, Borneo, Malaysia. Endangered Green Turtles come to feed in the tropical waters off the island of Sipadan. As an adult, the green turtle is the only strict herbivore of all the sea turtles. It has fine serration along its jaw to help it tear algae and sea grass to eat. Image by BBC/Jason Isley
A green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in Sipadan, Borneo, Malaysia. Endangered Green Turtles come to feed in the tropical waters off the island of Sipadan. As an adult, the green turtle is the only strict herbivore of all the sea turtles. It has fine serration along its jaw to help it tear algae and sea grass to eat. Image by BBC/Jason Isley
A whale shark visiting the remote Galapagos Islands. Image by BBC/Simon Pierce
A whale shark visiting the remote Galapagos Islands. Image by BBC/Simon Pierce
A coral grouper (Plectropomus leopardus) on the Great Barrier Reef in Northern Australia. Groupers use a gesture dubbed the ‘headstand signal’ to reach across the vertebrate-invertebrate divide and encourage another species to help it hunt. Gestures such as this are thought to only occur in the largest-brained species. The discovery of this behaviour in groupers indicates that some fish are able to think flexibly to achieve their goals. Image by BBC
A coral grouper (Plectropomus leopardus) on the Great Barrier Reef in Northern Australia. Groupers use a gesture dubbed the ‘headstand signal’ to reach across the vertebrate-invertebrate divide and encourage another species to help it hunt. Gestures such as this are thought to only occur in the largest-brained species. The discovery of this behaviour in groupers indicates that some fish are able to think flexibly to achieve their goals. Image by BBC
Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia physalis) at dawn. The venomous Portuguese man-of-war is not a jellyfish but a siphonophore, a colonial animal made up of specialised individuals working together. It is also known as ‘floating terror’ as it sails with the wind, trailing tentacles that can deliver a vicious sting - painful to humans but paralysing for fish. Image by BBC/Matty Smith
Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia physalis) at dawn. The venomous Portuguese man-of-war is not a jellyfish but a siphonophore, a colonial animal made up of specialised individuals working together. It is also known as ‘floating terror’ as it sails with the wind, trailing tentacles that can deliver a vicious sting - painful to humans but paralysing for fish. Image by BBC/Matty Smith
A feather star (Promachocrinus sp.) dances in the deep waters of the Antarctic Sound. These invertebrates attach themselves to the seabed or to another benthic invertebrate, such as a sponge. They use their long arms to filter particles from the water column. But they can also lift off the seafloor and swim, with the grace of a ballerina, to a new anchorage. Image by BBC
A feather star (Promachocrinus sp.) dances in the deep waters of the Antarctic Sound. These invertebrates attach themselves to the seabed or to another benthic invertebrate, such as a sponge. They use their long arms to filter particles from the water column. But they can also lift off the seafloor and swim, with the grace of a ballerina, to a new anchorage. Image by BBC
The submersible 'Nadir' at the start of a dive into the abyss off Cocos Island. Image by BBC
The submersible 'Nadir' at the start of a dive into the abyss off Cocos Island. Image by BBC
Corals that have suffered from a process known as coral bleaching. When sea temperatures are elevated by just 1 or 2 degrees Celsius above normal, for just a few weeks, that can be enough to cause the plant-like cells in a coral's tissue to be ejected. Corals lose both their colour and their primary source of nutrition. If temperatures do not return to normal levels, they can die. Image by BBC/Alex Mustard
Corals that have suffered from a process known as coral bleaching. When sea temperatures are elevated by just 1 or 2 degrees Celsius above normal, for just a few weeks, that can be enough to cause the plant-like cells in a coral's tissue to be ejected. Corals lose both their colour and their primary source of nutrition. If temperatures do not return to normal levels, they can die. Image by BBC/Alex Mustard
Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Sipadan, Borneo, jostling for their place at a cleaning station. Here, turtles are serviced by blennies and surgeonfish who rid them of algal growth, parasites and dead skin. In return, these fish receive a nutritious meal. Image by BBC
Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Sipadan, Borneo, jostling for their place at a cleaning station. Here, turtles are serviced by blennies and surgeonfish who rid them of algal growth, parasites and dead skin. In return, these fish receive a nutritious meal. Image by BBC