Coming up next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World,
the kelp forests of southern California. Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world! This is Harold Parker State Forest in Massachusetts.
It looks like a typical forest. But not all forests are the same! I’m heading to Catalina Island, off the
coast of California, to explore another kind of forest. The Forests here are underwater! Getting here from the mainland is as easy
as boarding a ferry. Ninety minutes later, we arrive in Avalon, one of only two settlements
on Catalina Island. I head on over to Catalina Scuba Luv dive
shop to pick up some scuba tanks, and then, it’s off to Casino Point for a shore dive. Casino point is a beautiful spot just outside
the harbor. It’s also a marine reserve, so no fishing is allowed. I waste no time, and start suiting up to explore
this dive site that has such a great reputation. Casino Point is set up as a “Dive Park”
with a protected area just for divers, safe from boat traffic. And look, a staircase right into the water! I walk down the steps and descend into the
Pacific Ocean. Immediately, I am greeted by blue water, excellent
visibility, and lots of kelp! And now I know why they call these places
kelp forests! The kelp grows up from the sea floor as tall as trees. I really do feel like
I’m in a forest! Kelp is a kind of marine algae that can take
many forms. The kelp forests around Catalina Island are formed by Giant Kelp, which can
reach the height of a 14 story building in only a single growing season because it can
grow 2 feet a day! It’s one of the fastest growing organisms on Earth! Looking down at it from above, I see what
an eagle might see, flying over the trees in a forest. But unlike trees on land, the kelp doesn’t
have a rigid trunk to hold it up. In fact, the kelp is quite floppy. So how does it stay
vertical? At the base of each leaf, called a frond,
is a pneumatocyst—basically a little gas bladder. Each one of these pneumatocysts provides
buoyancy, so the kelp floats. Down on the sea floor is something called
a holdfast. Basically it’s like a set of roots that hold onto the rocks. Kelp needs
something heavy on which to attach itself—it can’t grow in a sandy sea floor. So between the pneumatocysts keeping it afloat
and the holdfast keeping it from floating away, the kelp hangs vertically in the water. Kelp is really important in this ecosystem
because it’s a great place to hide. And I don’t mean for divers! This is a great habitat for fish to seek refuge
from predators, so the kelp forest is filled with thousands of fish. The most famous kelp forest resident in Southern
California is most certainly this damselfish—the Garibaldi. Garibaldis are hard to miss—no other fish
in the kelp forest is so brightly colored. Although Garibaldis become aggressive when
they are guarding a nest of eggs, the rest of the time, they don’t seem bothered by
divers much. In fact, this one seems positively curious. I find it hard to film the kelp because every
time I settle down to get a shot, a Garibaldi pokes its head in to see what I’m up to.
So I film the curious fish for a few minutes, only to discover a whole bunch of other fish
watching the show. It seems I have become quite popular down
here. Because lots of divers come to this site, these Kelp Bass are not afraid. They
must know that there is no fishing allowed in this sanctuary. They pose confidently for
my camera! Nearby I also find a Turban Snail. These snails
move up and down the stipe of the kelp, munching away on the algae. All this munching is making me hungry, so
as my tank gets low, I turn around and head back to the steps. Time for some lunch! The following morning, I board the Catalina
Scuba Luv boat King Neptune. We’re heading out to visit a different kelp site, in hopes
of finding some additional residents of the kelp forest! We leave Avalon Harbor under a beautiful blue
sky. Only half an hour from the dock, I prepare
to dive. The water is in the mid-60s so a 7mm wetsuit will keep me nice and warm. I hop into the water from the dive boat’s
convenient submerged swim step, and Julia hands me my camera. I descend into the blue, and soon enter another
mysterious kelp forest. I head out deeper, to a sandy slope where
there isn’t much substrate for the kelp. At a depth of 90 feet, we discover a rare
resident of the kelp forest—a Torpedo ray! I move a piece of kelp so I can get in close
for a shot. The ray is not afraid of me, because she has a powerful means of defense—electricity!
This animal generates an electrical charge of nearly 50 volts that it can use to zap
predators, or its prey. The Torpedo Ray has a curious looking tail,
unlike most other rays. I want to see her swim so I can film the tail—so I give her
a little tickle. The ray immediately turns around and faces
off against my camera. I wasn’t expecting such an aggressive reaction, so I keep my
camera between the two of us and we stare each other down! I’m not making any sudden
moves and neither is she. But as Cameraman Todd moves in closer for
a shot and inadvertently closes her avenue for escape, the Torpedo ray panics and attacks
my camera, pulsing the muscles in her abdomen that create electricity! Then, as quickly as it began, she calls off
the attack and swims away. I follow along behind and now I can see how she swishes her
tail back and forth to swim like her relative the shark–much different from how other rays
swim. What a way to end an incredible couple of
days diving Catalina Island! These beautiful forests of kelp, and their colorful inhabitants,
truly are one of the many wonders of the Blue World.

100 thoughts on “Kelp Forests | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. I'm surprised you didn't find any Leopard Sharks during your dive. They're only found along the west coast of NA, and kelp forests are their natural habitats.

  2. Awesome videos. 
    How do you finance this lifestyle ? Do you have savings or is it with youtube incones ?
    Do you have another job or are you just moving from dive to dive ?
    Would be interresting to know to give some ideas 🙂
    Thanks man

  3. Jonathan, here in our California kelp forests we have this fish called the California sheep head. Did you know that they change from female to male throughout their life? They are amazing animals!

  4. I really like your videos but touching and interfering with sea life is an absolutely shocking example for divers- you should only observe, you are a visitor in their environment.

  5. Very well made! I love how you kept it completely unbiased and talked about what you observed! Awesome! You just earned a sub! (Subscription, not submarine! Or sub sandwich come to think of it!)

  6. Hey Jonathan, I love your videos they are so fascinating. Your videos also help me be more aware of the damage caused by humans. I wish we could unite the governments of the world and ask them to stop spending money on weapons and start spending money on saving the planet. It makes me sad that no one seems to care about the ocean.

  7. Hey Jonathan Bird I love your channel I always wanted to go scuba diving but I'm not old enough to go scuba diving with you I'm only eight

  8. I should your channel to my mom and dad they liked it they showed them all the sharks videos They loved it

  9. Do you think that Torpedo Ray still alive now ? I think it still alive because torpedo ray has no enemies and can live over 24 years !

  10. when I dive on the ocean I . dont like celps and seaweeds on my way and areea because what if a shark will ambush yo in a kelp or seaweeds

  11. I'm very happy I found your channel, the ocean has always fascinated me ever since I was a child! Thanks so much for your hard work and research!

  12. I got tense when the torpedo rey tried to attack the camera, I was afraid it would zap it and the person holding it.. Thank God it didn't. tsk

  13. It's true that there and. so scare of these things. It was becoming like a phobia from me very young age.

  14. I like the double hose regulator, does it have any benefits to a normal regulator (assuming it’s not a rebreather system I’m just not seeing)

  15. 1) the torpedo ray looks so elegant swimming like that.
    2) why you use rebreather for this dives?
    3) how much pain you felt from the ray?

  16. Jonathan can you go diving at lake Baikal and show us the spiny amphipods then go to Europe and show us the freshwater Dikerogammarus villosus (killer shrimp)?

    That would be such a cool episode on amphipods.

    Bring back a few amphipods I will pay top dollar for some interesting cold water amphipods.

  17. Almost dies and then follows it up with an excellent shot and voiceover praising the animal. Gotta love it! I'd do the same thing…

  18. Jonathan: I want a shot of you moving. Ray: this good enough, jerk??? Stares down. Camerablokey: I want a better shot. Ray: How's THIS for a shot!!! Invades camera!!! Lol hilarious!!! Yep, beautiful placey…

  19. Wow that's scary. The ray confidently stand against anything that he know he will win the fight. What a brave creature

  20. Date 11-09-2019 At camp in '68. I dove off the diving tower(second level). As one usually travels half way to the bottom , I ran into weeds, Their Hands, grabbing me. Panic ensued ! I move my upper body toward the surface. My legs and feet were in engulfed by these killer weeds until out of sheer horror, adrenaline pumps, and I escape the beast. I then started watching this video, OOOOOHHHH NOOOOOOO the terrible weeds are back. But this time Oh my, have they grown, their name has change, now their known as Kelp. Which is a sure thing, you will cry out for help. A leafy coffin , ready to say to any that past thru, "Christmas wrapping or Birthday"? "You, you light up my life, you may me whole, when watching this show. It's a intriguing I know, as we dive in this cold, but in this Blue World, yes I am sold. For you light up, the Blue in my life.

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