Wildlife series. Steve tracks the weirdest-looking fish on the planet, comes face-to-face with a giant Pacific octopus and goes kayaking with killer whales.
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My name's Steve Backshall...
..and this is my mission, to find the Deadly 60.
It's not just animals that are deadly to me,
but animals that are deadly in their own world.
My crew and I are exploring the planet.
And you're coming with me every step of the way.
We are in one of my favourite wildlife spots in the world.
This is British Columbia in Canada.
British Columbia is as far north as Great Britain.
and about 5,000 miles to the left.
It's at the same latitude - that's as far from the equator as the UK -
but it gets way colder. It's an explorer's paradise,
with infinite untouched wilderness and spectacular animals.
But our deadly expedition is all at sea.
And for the next few days we're never going to stray very far away
from these amazing seas.
We're going to base operations on a boat.
Come and meet my crew.
Permission to come aboard?
Here you can see all of our dive kit.
-This is John, who's going to be diving with me.
This is James the director, who's messing around with my mask.
It has little microphones so you can never escape what I'm saying,
even when I'm underwater. This is Simon, our underwater cameraman.
-So there you go. This is where it all gets started.
'My first deadly animal could be waiting in the deep water
'below the boat.
'Everything here is super-sized.
'The seaweed grows in a towering forest called kelp.
'And this forest is a home for swimming giants.
'This chilly water is full of nutrients. Basically, fish food.
'Imagine the air around you full of cheeseburgers.
'Well, that's what these seas are like. And the animals love it!
'Massive plumose anemones,
'starfish as big as dustbin lids...
'..and giant sea urchins. That is a good sign.
'Amazingly there's something down here
'that hunts these giant spiked creatures.
'Any monster that can munch one of these spiky horrors
'is just begging to go on my Deadly 60 list.
'It's enough to strike fear into the heart of any urchin...
'well, if urchins had hearts.
'This is a wolf eel.'
This reef is covered with astounding predators.
But there's one in particular I've been trying to find.
And it's got its whole immense bulk
just hidden, down here.
Come and have a look at this.
Whoa! Look at that!
Please don't take my fingers off.
This magnificent creature is a wolf eel.
Here, come on.
Wow, look at that!
The front teeth...
are fierce and spiky. But the back teeth...
..are molars, much like our own.
Where are you off to now?
I'm a little bit concerned about where you are at the moment.
I don't want you down there.
'Those teeth are his secret weapon.
'After all, if you can munch through urchin's spines,
'well, you could certainly make a right mess of my fingers.'
Ah, look at that!
Look at the size of the head on this magnificent creature!
Actually, its head's probably as big as mine is.
Though it's called the wolf eel,
there not actually an eel at all. They are truly a fish.
In fact... Oh!
Don't you go for my fingers, son!
..they are most closely related to the blennies,
the tiny fish that you find in rock pools.
I think you'd get a bit of a shock
if you were to find one of these in a rock pool.
You are magnificent.
Oh, look at that!
He's nibbling on our second cameraman.
Whoa! He's... Ha-ha!
He's just gone between James, my director's, legs.
You're looking a little bit worried there, James!
Ah, look at that!
Back into his burrow where he feels secure.
This is how this magnificent animal will spend most of its daytime.
But at night it's a very different story.
They are much more active in their hunting.
And if you see one of these tucking into a sea urchin,
it's a truly awesome sight.
'They have incredibly strong jaws and front teeth like chisels.
'They munch through sea urchins like a bag of crisps.
'Once they've discarded the needle-like spines,
'urchins actually make a pretty good meal.
'These guys are as hard as nails.
'Well, actually they could probably eat nails.'
They really are monstrous.
I think you have to agree that the wolf eel has to be on the Deadly 60.
'With a gigantic football-sized head,
'its fearsome teeth look like ice picks
'cheerfully munching its way through the world's spiniest creatures.
'The wolf eel, ugly, yes.
'But also on my list.
'After so long under water it's time for new air cylinders
'before I can get back on the trail of deadly animals.
'And I've got a pretty strong idea of my next target animal.
'A short boat-ride away is Dillon Rock.
'The water below this lighthouse is home to a giant predator
'that makes these waters famous.'
Looks like John's found something cool.
He's leading us off in a different direction.
Not sure what it is, but he seems quite excited.
Oh, wow! Look at this!
There's a large area...
of scattered shells...
big chunks of dead crab...
Look up here. We've got the carapace of a dead crab.
This is definitely the work...
of the super-predator that we've come here to find.
Now all we need to do is find the animal itself.
'The huge creature we're looking for
'is a specialist at dismembering its armoured prey.
'And it's leaving us a trail of clues to follow.'
I think Simon might have one.
'And the clues lead us right to its den.
'May I present the giant Pacific octopus.'
And let's peek through this hole...
Oh, my goodness! Yes, I see one.
Now that is a big octopus.
Apparently these octopus are so curious...
that if they sense the warmth of your hand...
they will actually come out to try and get a closer feel of it.
'I just hope I don't get introduced to its vicious, biting beak!'
Oh, wow, its tentacles are gripping my fingers! That's amazing!
Come on then.
Wow, what a grip!
They have amazing suction power.
Wow! Oh, my goodness.
It feels like it could rip my arm out of its sockets.
'The giant Pacific octopus is the largest on the planet.
'It can be as big as a family-sized tent.
'So how did it get into this tiny crack?
'Well, that's because octopus have no bones in their body.
'The only hard bit is their parrot-like beak,
'so they can squeeze through a small space like a wet dishcloth.
'Unfortunately this octopus is not coming out of its den.
'To put this animal on my list I want to see one in the open.
'For now, our dive is over. But we'll be back.
'As I head towards the surface, I get a surprise...'
I just heard in my earpiece, from the top,
that there are whales in the channel.
So I think we should go up and go and have a look.
Come on, let's go.
'These are no ordinary whales. They're killer whales, or orca.
Going to try and get ourselves ready and see if we can intercept them.
That would be an absolute triumph. I've tried to film orca for years
and never quite succeeded.
Can someone get my...
'Orca are possibly the most awesome predators on the planet.
'They have it all. Size, speed and power.
'They have teeth the size of my thumbs
'and perhaps the most deadly feature of all, they're clever.
'These orca hunt sea lion pups,
'risking stranding themselves on the beach in order to get their meal.
'High risk, but child's play for the orca.'
'If the reports are correct, they could be about to cruise past us.'
There they are!
Fantastic. No more than about 100 yards off the side of the boat.
I see three animals already.
There... Oh, my goodness! Almost like a breach.
It's actually quite a large group.
The dorsal fins are all quite small. They're females.
This is incredible.
The animal that I was most hoping to see is right here.
I think I'm going to try and get in the water, in the kayak.
'The orca round here mostly feed on fish.
'But some orca feed entirely on mammals -
'and I'm a mammal.
'I'll come clean, this is a slightly nervy moment.'
This is almost spooky.
Just sitting here with the sea absolutely glassy-smooth
but knowing that somewhere beneath me is possibly, I think,
the most spectacular predator in the world.
And they could pop up anywhere. They are so quick
they could pop up half a mile in the distance, or...
they could be right alongside me.
My heart's going like I've just done the 100m sprint.
There they are.
Oh, I don't believe how close they've come.
Wow, look at that tail slap!
This is a small pod.
There'll be males and females in this group. Some very young,
but they all come from the same matrilineal -
from the line of the mother.
Look at them. I reckon they're playing at the moment.
Orca are the largest of the dolphins and like all dolphins
they have a lot of distinct parts to their day.
So sometimes they'll be travelling, sometimes feeding, sometimes...
they'll be playing, like now!
that's incredible. This is called breaching.
It's supposed to remove parasites from the skins of the orca.
But when you look at something like that you've got to say
they are just playing!
I mean, if you could do that you would, wouldn't you?
Orca need to spend a good deal of their day
interacting with the others in their group.
They have such big brains, they need time to get to know each other
and just to muck around.
This has already been the most exciting two minutes of my life.
Look at that. They are magnificent.
I don't want to chase them. It's very important
that I don't go into their space, I let them come into mine.
But they don't seem to be bothered by us.
Oh, my goodness!
It just breached right in front of me.
Wow! Look at that.
This is THE wildlife spectacle in this part of the world.
'Rarely for my crew, they're almost speechless.
'Apart from Johnny on the main camera.'
Amazing. Really is.
-They're very close to him.
-How close are they?
10, 15m, something like that.
Should he be scared at this point?
Every one of these orca could weigh as much as a small truck.
But they are incredibly manoeuvrable, very, very fast.
Killer whales are probably the fastest mammal in the seas.
And certainly, for long distances,
they can travel enormous distances in a day.
I don't believe what I'm seeing here.
Look at this. They are coming together right in front of me!
They call orca the wolves of the sea. Not just because
of their incredible teeth,
but also because they hunt cooperatively, together in groups.
And I think that's what's happening around me now. Look!
I think now I've probably got about 15 animals, all very, very close.
'It's not just adults here.
'There are plenty of young calves in amongst them.'
Oh! It frightens the life out of you
when they come to the surface like that.
It's like an explosion of air and water out of their blowhole.
He's going right underneath me! I can see him.
Right underneath my boat!
He's about three metres away from me, looking up at me.
He turned on his side and looked straight in my eye!
Wow, he just...
he just popped up, right alongside me.
I think they just really want to find out
what this strange, plastic, yellow boat in their world is.
'I'm seeing firsthand how intelligent they are.
'But let's not forget, that's what makes them deadly.'
And then they disappear and the surface just goes completely glassy
and you'd never know they were here.
Well, if you needed any evidence that that is an animal
with a big brain, that's incredibly curious and incredibly playful,
you just couldn't want for more than that. That's unreal.
Absolutely unreal. One of the best wildlife experiences I've ever had.
And orca are definitely going on the Deadly 60.
'As fast as a speedboat, they're the quickest mammal in the sea.
'Weighing as much as two elephants,
'they hunt as a team using submarine-style echo location.
'Orca could be the most deadly animal in the world.
'That's two deadly animals down
'but it's time to get back on the trail of the giant octopus.
'I know they're here, but haven't managed to get one to pop out
'and say hello. I reckon my best chance will be to dive at night
'when they might be out hunting.'
This is amazing.
Just looks so wild and weird down here at night.
Lots of unusual creatures looming out of the darkness.
These bizarre, primitive looking fish
are called chimera.
What a wonderful creature. And they're everywhere.
'This is a whole lot of crab.
'Perfect food for a giant octopus.'
It's a king crab.
Look at that. Absolutely magnificent.
But the giant octopus makes short work of them.
Just rips them apart with its muscular arms.
'So, the octopus' dinner is here, but where's our hero?'
We were looking for a giant Pacific octopus
and Simon's found a tiny Pacific octopus.
Look at that.
But we were really rather hoping to find one of your big brothers.
Any idea where I can start looking?
'So, all we had for our efforts was a charming,
'but very small, baby octopus.
'I wasn't going to give up though.
'Tomorrow we're going to get one last go.'
'We know the giant Pacific octopus are here.
'We found their dens, we've even seen a baby.
'But our goal is to see one out in the open.'
It's our last day, very early in the morning.
The water is looking particularly cold. This is our very last chance
at tempting one of those giant Pacific octopus out of its den.
I think it's safe to say that we've pretty much given up hope
of doing it. Is that fair to say, Simon?
No. No, never give up hope.
Oh, well at least he's positive. Ha-ha!
'OK, so I wasn't hopeful.
'But not long into the dive and signs were looking good.
'The water was clear. Everywhere I turned there was life of some sort.'
'And then we spotted the trail of crab bodies and shells
'left behind by a hunting octopus.'
I think Simon might have one.
Oh, yes! I see it.
There he is.
Now that is a big octopus.
Oh, my goodness.
He's absolutely monstrous.
And I thought this was a small one!
Look at those tentacles.
That is just insane.
Oh, wow! So strong.
I don't want my hand too close to his mouth.
Because he could actually do me quite a lot of damage.
Let's just see if we can get him out into the open.
Look at the size of him!
This is one of the most intelligent invertebrates on the planet.
And I think one of the most extraordinary creatures
that we'll ever see on the Deadly 60.
Look at the way the mantle, the head,
bobbles up with these tiny projections, and changes in colour
so that he blends in with his background.
Moving across the bottom with that beautiful
stretching out of the tentacles.
Just feeling his way through his environment.
He is the weirdest, most majestic creature I've seen in these seas.
But they are also phenomenal predators.
'A giant Pacific octopus can move around underwater
'in several ways.
'It can propel itself with a water jet called a siphon,
'driving it along at speed...
'..or grapple and crawl its way along using its eight tentacles.
'As a crab killer, it is without equal.
'It can catch hold of a crab with just the tip of one tentacle.
'Engulfed in those arms, a hard beak goes to work,
'smashing and ripping through the crab's shell,
'tearing its armour off and leaving its soft body exposed.
'It's dinner time.'
What a creature!
He is utterly phenomenal.
At first it's kind of tentative,
but the power, when they actually pull back,
and decide to really pull towards their beak-like mouthparts
is actually very frightening.
Particularly when you consider that this is actually quite a small
Pacific octopus. They can get to be, wait for it...
nine metres in width!
So, if you can try and imagine an octopus
that has an arm span like a truck, I think you'll have the idea.
Wow, that is just stunning.
I've waited a long time
for my encounter with a giant Pacific octopus,
but it was well, well worth it.
The giant pacific octopus is definitely going on the Deadly 60.
'It's the world's biggest octopus,
'with a brain capable of cunning.
'And it cane be twice the length of a van.
'One of my favourite submariners on the Deadly 60.
'The giant Pacific octopus.'
And that big, beautiful octopus came out to say hello.
How about that.
Next time on deadly 60...
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Steve and crew pitch up in British Columbia, Canada. It is an explorer's paradise with infinite untouched wilderness and spectacular animals, but Steve's focus is on the creatures of the deep. In the giant underwater kelp forests lurks a swimming giant - the wolf eel. This monster strikes fear into some of the world's spiniest creatures, biting clean through their defensive spikes with ferocious chisel-like teeth and powerful jaws - not a surprising achievement when you consider that its head is the size of a football.
Steve then finds a trail of discarded crab shells which leads him on to his next deadly encounter - an eight-legged sea creature which can easily reach the size of a family-sized tent. Armed with a vicious biting beak, the giant Pacific octopus makes light work of a crab's shell, and Steve comes face to face with one and quite literally gets wrapped up in his encounter with it. It has an extraordinary arm span and is a crab killer without equal.
Then Steve is off in search of what could arguably be the most deadly animal in the world. Called wolves of the water - not only because they have a mouthful of killer teeth but because they hunt in packs - they are orcas, otherwise known as killer whales. One of the most awesome predators on the planet, they have it all - size, speed and power. When Steve goes kayaking in amongst them, he gets the surprise of his life when they start breaching all around him.