Philippines Thresher Sharks | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

Philippines Thresher Sharks | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Coming up next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World,
Jonathan goes deep in search of Thresher sharks! There are many tall tails in the ocean, and
not all of them are true. But when it comes to sharks, there is only one truly tall tail.
And that’s the tail on the Thresher shark, one of the tallest tails around. In my search for the tall tail of the Thresher
shark, I have traveled to a remote island in the Philippines called Malapascua. Join
me on a quest for one of the weirdest sharks in the sea. Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world! Malapascua Island is way off the beaten path,
barely a mile long, with a beautiful sandy beach. It is surrounded by clear blue tropical
water, and some of the richest coral reefs in the world. But in my opinion, the most amazing thing
about this island is an animal that can be found about half an hour off shore by boat
at a seamount called the Monad shoal. That’s where the Thresher shark hangs out. A seamount is an underwater mountain that
doesn’t quite reach the surface. Seamounts would be islands if only they were just a
teeny bit taller. Surrounded by deep water, a seamount is like a shallow oasis in the
deep sea, providing a resting area for animals that live in the open ocean. I load my gear into the boat and head out
very early in the morning. For some reason, the Threshers are only seen early in the morning.
I don’t really like getting up early, but to see sharks, it’s worth it! I trudge down
the beach with all my gear and load it into a dingy so it can be transferred to the dive
boat. I’m diving off a traditional Philippino boat
called a Bangka. It’s long and skinny, with outriggers to make it stable on the open ocean.
The captain drives the boat with just the throttle on a string, and a long pole to the
rudder! Without any electronics or GPS, the captain
finds the seamount with just experience and knowledge of the local waters, even though
we are miles from shore, with no landmarks on the horizon. At last I’ll try to film a
Thresher shark. Well, the sun is just peaking over the horizon.
It’s time go down to see if we can find some Thresher Sharks. I’ll be using a special piece of dive gear
called a rebreather. A rebreather recycles part of my exhaled breath to reduce the amount
of bubbles I make. This makes me quieter underwater. Bubbles are very unnatural and often frighten
the fish. I would be lucky to get within 30 feet of a Thresher with conventional scuba
gear. Threshers might be sharks, but they are afraid of bubbles. Hopefully my rebreather will allow me to get
close to them, closer than 10 feet! This has never been done before. I jump off the side of the boat and descend
with my camera down into the deep blue. At 80 feet I reach the top of the seamount
and start looking for a good place to settle down. Now it’s just a waiting game. This turns out to be a lot harder than I thought.
After 90 minutes, I haven’t even seen a shark, never mind get close to it…and it’s time
to head back to the boat. At this depth, I can’t stay too long or I might end up getting
a case of decompression sickness. Oh well. I’ll try again tomorrow. But first I have
to spend a while decompressing on the line under the boat. Talk about boring! The next day we’re out on the water once again
bright and early for another try. I jump into the water, get my camera from
Paul, the divemaster, and down I go. Amazingly, the captain has anchored us within
50 feet of where we were yesterday! How does he do it? I find my spot and start the waiting
game again. Suddenly I see movement out of the corner
of my eye. It’s not a Thresher shark, but an octopus watching me from its den. I go over to introduce myself. Sometimes octopods
are curious and reach out to touch my hand. This one isn’t so sure about me. It thinks
about it, then decides to leave. Right at that moment I look up to see a sharky shape
approaching! Once I can see the shark’s tail, I know I’ve
found a Thresher. Look at the size of that tail fin. No other shark has such a large
tail fin in comparison to the size of its body. Scientists think they use it like a
whip, to stun prey. I think I’ll stay away from that tail for sure. There are several species of Thresher sharks,
and these are called Pelagic Threshers, because they live in the open ocean, far from land.
So why do they come to the seamount? They have never been seen eating or mating. They
just swim over certain coral heads over and over and over. As I continue to watch, I can see the reason
why the Thresher sharks come to this seamount. The sharks are being cleaned by smaller cleaner
fishes called wrasses. The sharks have a symbiotic relationship with the fish. The fish clean
the parasites and dead skin off the sharks. Both species benefit. The fish get a meal
and the sharks get cleaned. The sharks don’t eat the cleaner fish. In fact, the sharks
don’t eat anything while I’m watching. It appears that the sharks only come to the seamount
to be cleaned. They prefer to feed at night in deep water. Because my rebreather is quiet and I’m sitting
on the bottom without moving, a Thresher passes right over me, allowing me to get a good look
at its beautiful shape and that long sinuous tail. But, suddenly, the sharks scatter, as if something
has frightened them. I look around and slowly emerging from the
hazy water in the distance is a manta ray, at least twelve feet across! The manta is like a huge bird, gracefully
flapping its wings to move. Mantas sometimes come to this seamount for the same reason
as the sharks—to be cleaned. The manta has two big scoops on the side of
its mouth. The scoops are called cephalic lobes, and they are used to funnel water into
the manta’s mouth. The manta feeds on tiny microscopic plankton in the water. It swims
along, straining the plankton from the water with its gills. Although mantas used to be
called devil rays because people thought they were dangerous, we now know that mantas are
gentle and harmless. In fact, the manta seems curious about us, and swims around us for
more than half an hour. Few things are as graceful underwater as a manta ray. Finished at the cleaning station, the manta
slowly swims off into the open ocean. Like the Thresher sharks, we have no idea where
they go when they leave the seamount. As my dive comes to and end, I slowly start
surfacing. I will again spend a few minutes decompressing on a line just under the boat
staring down into the blue. From here, the bottom is too deep to see, but I know just
below me are a few Thresher sharks circling over the reef being cleaned. Man that was incredible. We went down looking
for the Thresher Sharks, but what showed up? A Manta ray! It just goes to show you that
the seamounts are a place for all pelagic animals to come to be cleaned. WOO! That was
great! I feel tremendously fortunate that my trip
to the Philippines has allowed me to see Thresher sharks in the wild. I have just witnessed
an incredible secret of the Blue world.

100 thoughts on “Philippines Thresher Sharks | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. Mabuhay to the Philippines Mr. Jonathan Im fun watching Every clips with you. Do add up knowldege for me too..good luck

  2. I play Hungry Shark World and i saw the in game thresher shark and i didnt believe that such a shark existed.It turns out im wrong (and yes im Filipino)

  3. I dream to dive into the ocean. However, I'm wondering if the oxygen tank you are carrying is heavy?

  4. hi jonathan im so happy you always feature philippine sea in some of your adventures! always take care!

  5. Lol I live in the Philippines and it's my first time to hear these sharks triving in our seas. Hahaha

  6. There are many tall tails in the world. But when it comes to unconditional love, only wallflowers have the tallest tale

  7. I just got back from visiting malapascua, dived twice while there and saw nothing, other dive groups saw loads of threshers, gutted

  8. I love filipinos!they are so amazing hope i can visit philippines soon..god bless and take care,love you all guys..greetings from Seoul

    Seoul Tan, Kudarat..
    😊😊

  9. Anything inside me about sharks is a fact the people the other thing this is one shark in the sea that is a most dominant animal in the sea and that is Yorker it is more dominant the any white shark in the world and cleverer and adapt to anywhere else you find yourself on the planet

  10. 5:48 Hakujin no Tachi: (薄刃乃太刀) (Long Sword/Tachi of the Thin Blade) One of Shakku's last swords. It's very long and was made as thin as possible. The tip is weighted so the wielder can control the direction the blade flies with a flick of the wrist which makes dodging by a small margin dangerous.
    Similar to the Urumi

  11. Thank you for the clarity of photography and explanations; and the importance of sitting totally still when close to wild life.

  12. shark didn't see operator, but abruptly scared. it must have sensed water movement.
    i think long tail is a preference of slow motion, like ray, but little faster.

  13. That was impressive how close you got to that thresher..I came close this summer at Little Brother in Egypt 30m down, thresher was hunting something & came right up to the side of the reef for a split second then turned & vanished.

  14. I am a Filipino! Thanks for showing us mkre creatures in the ocean.
    Blue World tv is the best place to learn about the ocean!!!
    Your the best Jonathan

  15. I like the way he narrates. Talking about the marine life and the ocean enthusiastically like there's no danger lurking in the deep.

  16. I can't believe you have visit our country! I hope we can see you again with your big adventures under the ocean of the philippines! 😁💕

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