Expeditions:America's Underwater Treasures
Originally broadcast on September 20 and 27, 2006
In this two-part, two-hour episode, Jean-Michel Cousteau, his son, Fabien, daughter, Céline, and his team of expert divers set out to investigate, for the first time, all 13 of our National Marine Sanctuaries and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Marine Monument. While discovering what makes them unique, the group explores how these sites are conservation challenges for the country. Traversing thousands of miles, the Ocean Adventures team ventures below and above water off the coasts of Michigan, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, California, Washington, Hawai'I, and American Samoa on a mission to introduce viewers to these fragile sanctuaries.
Over the course of the expedition, Ocean Adventures team members dive in a huge range of conditions and environments. They also dive with a variety of rare and amazing species: goliath groupers, weighing up to 800 pounds; the humpback whale, majestic but endangered; the giant Pacific octopus, very rarely seen in the wild; and coral in the midst of a spawning event, an incredible display that happens just once a year.
The expedition is not solely about the wonders of marine life. The team also seeks out cultural and historical treasures under water. On the deepest dive of the expedition, they explore a sunken Civil War battleship. In the Great Lakes, they dive among hundreds of shipwrecks amazingly preserved by the cold, fresh water, spanning more than two centuries of maritime activity in the area.
The team visits numerous researchers and biologists committed to understanding and protecting national sanctuaries. They talk with scientists who are using a variety of innovative measures to conduct monitoring programs. They also visit with commercial fishers to discuss both conservation and economic issues facing the fishing industry within sanctuary waters.
There are seemingly countless threats to the marine life in these national sanctuaries, but the team also witnesses many efforts underway to counter these threats and preserve the unique environment of each sanctuary.