This is a marvellous guide to the Great Barrier Reef. Visually stunning and presented by Monty Halls, a marine biologist, ex-marine and a diver. The series is delivered in three one hour episodes although they flow into each other seamlessly. We are informed that the Reef is over 2000km. long,created after the ice age meltdown and the only living structure on earth that can be seen from space. The reef formed by plankton polyps that form coral colonies that, with a microscopic plant, create a limestone skeleton into which they are embedded, and although only 1% of the ocean the reef is home to 1/4 of all known marine coral life. Halls may be no Attenborough but he is enthusiastic in his underwater diving and clearly delights in this project and its narration, often in close proximity to his subjects (even lying in mud sediment) It is, of course, the breathtaking, crystal clear photography that dominates this winner. Remote mini-cameras and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) take us to places not previously captured.
The food chain from plankton to small fish and increasing sizes of predators are magnificently pictured. The necessity of hiding for protection and the need for dangerous escapades for food are portrayed as a force of nature, from groupers eating algae to to bump-head parrott fish the size of sheep ripping chunks of coral to tiger sharks dismembering and sawing through the shells of turtles. The sheer numbers and variety of sea-life are a veritable kaleidoscope of action. The beautifully coloured coral produced by algae bleaches when exposed to excess heat. Other aspects of the reef and their inhabitants are explored, the lagoons, mangroves, islands and rain forests all graphically shot from the air, ground level or beneath the sea. Wonderful rocks,rivers and waterfalls.
The whole package is eye catching. Memorable moments include the green turtle migration to Raine Island where up to 26000 arrive at one time to nest and lay eggs, a slow and hazardous journey, filmed with time-lapse. The hatching of the eggs and young turtles struggling to get to the sea before the herons eat them. The billions of larvae formed from mass migration seeking a home to form a polyp and a coral colony.The spectacular shipwreck scene sheltering over 120 varieties of fish, the largest of its kind in the world. The Queensland grouper the size of a car,venomous jelly fish and sea snakes, sea cows (once mistaken for mermaids) grazing on 40kg sea grass per day. Eagles fabulously caught in flight chasing and catching fruit bats. All shown with total brilliance. Noise from damsel fish and humpback and dwarf minke whales add to the attractions.
Halls ends speculating the effects of natural phenomena on the reef: cyclones, global warming, temperature and tidal changes but also the man-made effects: ranches, cattle farms, habitat changes to support agriculture. All affecting the ecosystem and possibly the long-term lucrative tourist industry.
This is a fantastic visual experience beautifully photographed and presented. Top star product.