If you think you know what a thriving coral reef community looks like, take a look at the video clip below from the upcoming IMAX movie “Journey to the South Pacific.” I’ve been SCUBA diving for 25 years and have seen a range of colors and marine life, but often it is accompanied in some way or form by human pollution or destruction.
In West Papua, Indonesia, however, the coral reefs are still largely pristine and undamaged, making for gorgeous underwater filming opportunities.
As part of their One World One Ocean Campaign, MacGillivray Freeman Films traveled to the heart of what’s known as the Coral Triangle in the South Pacific. Director Greg MacGillivray and his film crew spent two months in the archipelago Raja Ampat off the coast of the island of New Guinea.
They met Jawi, a boy living on the West Papua island of Sawinggrai, who travels with his uncle to teach other children in over 130 different villages within the archipelago the importance of protecting their reef. They travel aboard the Kalabia, a boat that was once an illegal fishing vessel, but is now a demonstration of the West Papuans’ success at combining their ancient wisdom on fisheries management (known locally as sasi) with modern conservation efforts.
“The kids teach the kids,” says producer Shaun MacGillivray. “It’s not moms or schools teaching everything, it’s the five-year-old teaching the three-year-old. It’s one of those places, there aren’t that many left, where people still live off the land, living in harmony with nature. And that is an overriding theme in the film: let’s protect our own backyard.”
Journey to the South Pacific will be released in IMAX theaters on Nov. 27, 2013, and narrated by Cate Blanchett.
Top Image: Jawi swims with a whale shark. (Courtesy MacGillivray Freeman Films).