Today, Jonathan travels to Oman looking for a rare and exotic shark.
Welcome to Jonathan Bird’s Blue World.
I have filmed sharks all over the world.
Whale sharks in the Galapagos, Tiger sharks in the Caribbean,
White sharks in Mexico.
Big sharks, little sharks, tropical sharks,cold water sharks, bottom-dwelling sharks.
I love sharks and shark behavior,
and I’m always looking for a new shark species to film.
So,on our shark search,
Cameraman Bill and I are heading all the way to the middle east,
to dive in the Sultanate of Oman.
I’ve come all the way to Oman
to film a unique animal called the Zebra shark.
Oman is a beautiful country
with deserts and mountains meeting the greenish-blue water of the Gulf of Oman
part of the western Indian Ocean.
The water here is tropical
in temperature but filled with plankton due to upwelling nutrients.
As a result, the water is not as clear
as you might expect for such a tropical place,
but absolutely filled with fish.
Cameraman Bill and I arrive
at the very fashionable Civil Aviation Club just outside Oman ’s
capital of Muscat.
We’ll be staying here for the week, righton the ocean.
And it ’ s really convenient
because the dive shop is located right on the property.
As we discover at breakfast the first morning,
we are the only ones here,
because it ’ s the middle of the summer.
Here we are in our morning breakfast at the Civil Aviation Club.
We have the entire place to ourselves.
We’re the only guests.
Because no one shows up in July.
Nobody comes here.
So, it’s 8 in the morning
在阿曼 在七月份 这显然是个很热的季节
in Oman, in July, which is obviously the hot season.
it ’ s over 100 degrees out and the humidity is stifling.
I head over to the dive shop and
grab my gear to load the boat.
And it’s really easy because the boat ison dry land!
I’m experimenting with a new camera system—ultralightweight and travel-friendly.
It kind of looks like an octopus though.
Soon we’re on our way.
It seems weird to be on the boat while they put it
in the water, but they have no dock here,
so this is the best way.
I don’t think the salt water is good forthe tractor.
Once we are free of the boat trailer,
the captain fires up the engines and we ’ re on
our way to the dive site.
This area can be extremely windy, making thesea conditions unsafe.
So we are lucky that today it’s really calm.
经过 20千米的行程 我们到达了曼尼亚特岛
We make good time for the 20 kilometer run out to the Daymaniyat Islands,
one of the best places to dive in Oman.
Daymaniyat is a small group
of desert islands surrounded by healthy reefs and protected
by the Oman government as a nature reserve.
I’m excited to get
in the water and check out what Oman has to offer.
Well, it’s time togo try to find a Zebra Shark!
The water is hot near the surface,
but it quickly cools down as I sink below 30 feet.
And it ’ s chock full of fish,like this big school of Blackspot snapper.
Due to upwelling there is plenty of cool, nutrient-rich water here as I descend.
This deeper layer is green with plankton,and thick with fish.
At times, the schools of fusilier block outthe sun!
But it’s the reefs that really catch my attention.
While the underwater landscape is predominantly hard coral,
there are some magnificent colorful
soft corals about.
They have that classic tropical Indo-Pacificlook.
And yet nearby，
there are bright blue gorgonians that look like they were transplanted from temperate waters.
There’s a species of crown-of-thorns sea star I have never seen before.
A big fat pincushion star.
A pair of anemonefish frolicking in a magnificent anemone that has fluorescing tentacles!
Laced Moray eels seem to be living in every hole in the reef.
A nudibranch, basically a poisonous snail without a shell,
makes its way along the reef.
A pair of tiny shrimp inhabit a branched anemone.
A sea turtle is munching away on a soft layer of coralimorphs that have encrusted the reef.
She doesn’t seem to mind my camera one bit as I move in for a close up.
I might have stayed
with this wonderfully cooperative animal for the whole dive, except
Bill calls me over to see something else.
He has discovered a pair of cuttlefish.
Cuttlefish are intelligent and curious.
They often approach divers without fear fora closer look.
But this pair seems more like they are holding their ground
as we move in closer.
It really seems like they might be up to something that we just interrupted.
With my camera barely more than a foot away,
the cuttlefish stay right in their spot over the reef.
After a few minutes,
they decide to trust me and go back to what they were doing.
And now I get it.
The male is standing guard while the female deposits her eggs
in a safe place under some coral.
This is a spectacular behavior I have neverbefore witnessed.
The male keeps a close eye on me,
but I guess they have decided that Bill and I aren ’ t a threat.
The egg-depositing continues in earnest,
and I feel truly honored that this pair of cuttlefish
will allow us to get a glimpse into theirlives.
We leave the cuttlefish to their efforts andmove on.
当我们潜得更深 在一片碎石中间 我们找到了的目标：
As we swim out into a deeper, rubbly area,we find our quarry:
a Zebra shark restingon the bottom.
But as we sneak in closer, the shark getsspooked.
We had an amazing dive,
and we found a Zebra shark, so we know they are around.
Now we just need to find a cooperative one.
The next morning we are up bright and early,before it gets too hot.
Back at the Daymaniyat Islands,
we jump in the water and head over to the area we saw
the shark yesterday.
Along the way I find some things to film.
But then, I see a Zebra shark resting on the bottom
and approach slowly.
As I get closer,
I can see the distinct spots that look like a Leopard pattern.
In fact, in many places this is known as a Leopard shark.
If the Zebra shark looks a little familiar,
it’s probably because of the 5 ridges running the length of its body,
which make it look like a small Whale shark.
Indeed they are related to each other.
But instead of swimming in open water looking for plankton,
the Zebra shark rests on the bottom during the day
and hunts for mollusks and crustaceans at night.
One thing I immediately notice about this shark is
that it appears to have only 4 gill slits.
Given that all sharks have between 5 and 7 gill slits —
with the vast majority having 5
something doesn’t seem right.
So I sneak around the to the other side
and I can see the explanation.
On Zebra sharks,
the last two gill slits are actually so close together that you can barely
tell they aren’t a single gill slit.
When a Zebra shark swims,
you can see that it has a really long, flexible tail.
Most sharks don’t have a tail like this.
My guess is that the long tail allows
the shark to swim backwards and
wiggle out of the holes and crevices in the reef where ithunts.
Having finally found the Zebra shark,
its time head back to the boat, mission accomplished.
That Zebra shark was amazing!
What I couldn ’ t believe is
just how much it was willing to tolerate me.
I mean, I got right up close
with my video lights and I just settled down and I was filming
and it didn’t even mind.
It was just sitting there,
totally chill—that ’ s the most cooperative shark ever!
After an exciting day filming Zebra sharks,
we head back to the Civil Aviation Club and
enjoy a beautiful Omani sunset over the IndianOcean.
And once again I realize how lucky I am
to be able to explore the far reaches of the Blue World.