Something amazing is happening in Monterey Bay, California. The bay is a marine sanctuary, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The bay is home to an amazing array of wildlife: everything from cute, cuddly sea otters to prehistoric pelicans, from massive kelp forests to gigantic blue whales. But the big news is that BBC is kindly bringing all of this right into your living room with a massive live TV event called Big Blue Live.
Think Springwatch meets Blue Planet. Or Baywatch meets David Attenborough.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Monterey Bay, and it’s impossible not to be bowled over by the sheer abundance and accessibility of wildlife on display. It helps that there’s the fantastic conservation-focussed Monterey Bay Aquarium right there, making it a go-to destination for wildlife lovers and marine biologists the world over.
It’s a year round destination, but the big draw right now is that this is the season when so many big animals congregate in the bay. Especially rich in nutrients, the bay hosts an annual spectacle involving the biggest, blubberiest animals in the ocean. But all year round it’s home to sea lions, dolphins, tuna and many, many more species.
And Monterey Bay is a good news story. These are nationally-protected waters full of globally-important wildlife. Many of the most charismatic critters you will see here in abundance have bounced back in recent years, and are thriving again after having been overhunted to the brink of extinction.
Big Blue Live is your chance to dip into the amazing waters of Monterey Bay from the comfort of your own sofa. There will be three live shows (you can check times here) and a whole heap of other clips online.
There will also be some UK-focussed shows, called Big Blue UK, each morning during the week looking at some of the amazing species we can find in and around the UK’s shores.
You don’t even have to get your feet wet. Although it will probably put you in the mood for a wee paddle at the very least ...