Ireland's Deep Atlantic shown in all it's glory
Have you seen the recent wildlife program on RTE – Ireland’s Deep Atlantic? It was filmed and narrated by the wonderful Ken O’ Sullivan who manages to come across as professional while maintaining an almost childish glee at witnessing marine life. Although why wouldn’t he be impressed – he got to swim up close and personal with some of the top attractions in the sea; dolphins, basking sharks, pilot whales, blue whales, humpback whales.
As an avid Irish diver, I know how amazingly rich and vibrant our sea is but I was still blown away at the amount and let’s be honest the size of the marine life Ken filmed off the coast of Ireland. He encountered 2 humpback whales in one year, at different ends of the season, in summer off Kerry and in winter off Clare. Now that would be my dream come true.
Unlike most Irish marine wildlife films to-date, this program coastal beaches and headlands that we divers are well familiar with and headed out, venturing sometimes 100km from land, in what appeared to be a rather small rib. I’ve spent plenty of time bouncing around at the back of Lambay or Mullaghmore but I can’t imagine how they managed such journeys. When the weather permitted such trips, they were rewarded with crystal clear water and marine life in abundance.
The show combined underwater footage taking by some impressive free diving by Ken O’ Sullivan with overhead shots from a drone. The video from above really showed the massive size of the creatures and how close Ken was to the action. Another interesting part was shot from within Ireland’s very own ROV, on board the Marine Institute’s Celtic Explorer.
Unlike the BBC’s Blue Planet, there seems to have been made by a tiny film crew, but it doesn’t suffer by comparison. It is a slick well made production. Now I love David Attenborough and to my mind no-one is better than him but Ken O’Sullivan might be a younger pretender to the crown. He is informative without being boring, delivers strong environmental message without being preachy. Maybe it’s his Kerry charm and wit. At one point when he’s describing what it’s like to swim in the deepest parts of Ireland, he says ” sure if you can’t stand up. what’s the difference between 2 and 2000m”
If you haven’t seen Ireland’s Deep Atlantic, catch in on RTE Player. This is part of wildlife series on RTE – Our Wild Ireland. They have certainly set the bar high with this programme so I’m looking forward to watching more, even if the rest of them are on land.