Coasting along the world’s scenic shores

04 December 2017

More intense TV and intriguing holidays inspired by Blue Planet II.



This week it’s the penultimate episode of Blue Planet II and all eyes are on ‘Coasts’ (3.12.17). At the points where oceans and land collide, dramatic and challenging habitats are found, places where extraordinary wildlife fight against the odds to survive.

Coastlines are forever changing, and many of the world’s animals, who can live both on land and in water, must adapt to deal with homes being destroyed, food being limited and new predators arriving on the scene.

We all are well aware, though, of the joy of the being by the coast. Over half of the planet’s population are lured by the sea and live within 37 miles of it. Many more of us flock there to spend our holidays.

Fortunately, there is approximately 385,000 miles of coastline on earth - around 10% of its land surface – so there are plenty of options for holiday destinations. The Blue Planet II team spent time in Miami, Brazil, Norway and Western Australia, as well as in the Philippine Sea, for the footage that appears in this week’s episode – and Saga can take you there too.

Make 2018 a year to remember. Find out more about Saga’s holidays and cruises here

Sharks off the coast of Florida

Not far from the crowd-filled beaches of Miami, on the south-eastern tip of Florida state, spinner sharks and blacktip sharks gather in large numbers. These sea creatures, just like us, are attracted by turquoise inshore waters. However, they encounter challenges we don’t need to worry about – revealed in this week’s Blue Planet II.

Footage also unveils the unique way the spinner shark feeds. Unlike other sharks, the slender spinner lives up to its name and spins out of the water in quick bursts of speed to catch a meal. A highly migratory species, the spinner shark traverses the coast of Florida towards the Gulf of Mexico so it can reproduce.

Also fond of warm coastal seas are blacktip sharks, who are sometimes spotted leaping above the water’s surface too. While they feed on squid, stingrays and crustaceans, a tasty fish supper makes a more fulfilling dinner – all they need to do is follow the fishermen.

On Saga escorted tours, guests have experienced guides to show them the way around sights and tourist attractions. And on Saga’s Florida’s Golden Coasts and Coral Sunsets 13-night tour, there are a wealth of excursions and visits all included in the price.

Starting off in Orlando, your first day is spent in the historic St Augustine, before travelling south to Miami, home of stunning beaches and colourful Art Deco buildings. Then the tour takes you to Key West, much loved by writer Ernest Hemingway, Naples, Sarasota and a relaxing resort at Clearwater Beach. New York, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Mississippi – discover more about Saga’s holidays in North America here

Leaping blenny in the Pacific Ocean

As viewers tuning in to this week’s Blue Planet II will witness, it’s not only sharks who are captured on camera leaping out of our oceans. Over on the other side of the world, in the Pacific Ocean, another star is born – the leaping blenny.

However, it would appear that this little fella, being just over three inches long, was somewhat camera shy at first. Or rather, because of its size, the leaping blenny was proving a trial to film. Indeed, a cameraman found himself immersed in water off the coast of Guam for hours on end waiting for the fish to make an appearance.

Eventually, patience in the Philippine Sea paid off, and thanks to some extreme slow-motion filming techniques, the leaping blenny was seen wriggling above the waves. Amusingly, the filming team claim this is the most terrestrial fish they’ve ever stumbled upon, preferring its cave above the tide lines rather than being in the sea.

Cruise lovers who are at their happiness when at sea will relish the 120-night Grand Round the World Voyage 2019, offered by Cruise & Marine Voyages and bookable online with Saga.

One of the 41 incredible ports of call is Rabaul, a township on the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. Close to Guam, you may not catch sight of the leaping blenny, but there is still much for the cruise goer to enjoy in this part of the world, including the volcano Mount Tavurvur.

Other island destinations on the cruise itinerary include Tahiti, Bora Bora and the Kingdom of Tonga.

Where in the world will you cruise to in 2018? Start thinking about your next embarkation here

Atlantic Puffin off the coast of Norway

Anyone who’s had the privilege of being up close to a puffin will know only too well that these brightly beaked birds are magical. Their looks are incredibly distinctive and after watching Blue Planet II, you’ll discover they’re remarkable creatures too, enduring great feats for their family.

As seen this week in ‘Coasts’, puffins think nothing of travelling 60 miles or more a day to bring just one beak-full of food back to the nest. Hungry chicks are waiting but just as ‘Dad’ is about to arrive home, a scoop of skua launch a savage attack. Prepare for a dramatic duel that will have you on the edge of your seat.

While on their travels in Norway and Svalbard, the Blue Planet II filming team came upon 150,000 Atlantic puffins breeding and caring for their young. It was a sight to behold, as are many of the astonishing landscapes and marvels on Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago situated between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

Available to book online with Saga, Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines’ Exploring Remote Spitsbergen cruise takes guests to Spitsbergen, the largest and only permanently populated island of Svalbard. The Black Watch ship sails within 700 miles of the North Pole, cruising by wonders such as the North Cape, Temple Mountain and Tuna Glacier, before ending up at the rocky Faroe Islands.

The cruise also allows passengers to experience the Midnight Sun, a natural phenomenon when the sun remains visible at, yes, you’ve guessed it, midnight!

Cruise the stunning fjords to see Mother Nature at her finest – find out more about Saga’s holidays to Norway

Snubfin dolphins in Western Australia

The coast and seas surrounding Australia have provided the backdrop to much of the footage in this series of Blue Planet II. And in this week’s sixth episode ‘Coasts’, we’re back in Western Australia, near the coastal town of Broome.

Taking centre stage is the snubfin dolphin, a bizarre-looking mammal with a curious blunt face. Although known to be a little on the shy side, this doesn’t deter this dolphin from swimming in shallow waters and close to the coast of Broome they are spotted seemingly standing on their heads, and spitting.

The filming team spent three-and-a-half weeks observing the snubfin dolphins around Broome, which has expansive mud flats. As the tide came in, the dolphins also came in closer to shore, spitting on their way – and aiming directly at fish lying on the sand. Startled, the fish then leapt (you’ll notice a theme this week!) straight into the dolphins’ mouths!

Kangaroo, koala, platypus, wombat - when you think about it, many strange-looking animals live in Australia, and as they can’t be found in any other part of the world, wildlife lovers will have to travel Down Under to catch glimpse of these unique creatures.

Luckily, Saga can make it easy for you. And on their Australian Adventure, you can book an optional excursion to a Koala Research Project while staying in Melbourne. Multiple sightings of the eucalyptus leaf-loving koala are possible, and you’ll also get the change to walk among kangaroos, looking out for emus, wallabies and parrots.

Take a trip of a lifetime Down Under with Saga. Find out more here

Sally Lightfoot crab in Brazil

The Sally Lightfood crab is one of the most common crabs living along the western coast of South America, and will spend much of their day leaping from rock to rock in search of algae and plants to eat. It has to be agile, not just to avoid lapping waves, but also to escape the gaping jaws of moray eels and strong tentacles of octopuses, all on the lookout for food too.

As seen in this week’s Blue Planet II when the film crew travelled to Brazil, the Sally Lightfood crab has no other choice but to be light and nimble on its five pairs of legs – the resulting sequence is thoroughly entertaining.

If you enjoy intrigue and excitement, then a holiday to Brazil should be high on your wish list for 2018. Adventures await whether you want to explore the amazing Pantanal wetlands or laze on Rio’s Copacabana beach.

Alternatively, you can travel on to other exhilarating South American countries, such as Chile or Argentina.

For all holidays to South America, including Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, see here

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.