After two years of pre-production, filming for the Plastic Oceans project finally kicked off in Sri Lanka on Monday. It's been a hell of a journey but I can tell you, seeing my first blue whale off the Coast of Marissa, in southern Sri Lanka, makes the entire project worth everything that has been put in to it. These creatures are amazing to watch. At around 30 metres, they dwarf the boats around them and make our underwater camera teams seem tiny in comparison. They are the largest animals ever to have lived on the planet. They make me feel insignificant. Blue Whales have been an animal I've studied from a young age. They are few in numbers, some say just ten thousand left in several populations around the world. But their numbers are growing. There are three sub species and we are here with cetacean scientists to study their migrations, their food habits and the toxicity levels in their blubber. But they are incredibly shy and very difficult to find and film. We have been on the water now for two days. The first day was rough and windy and whilst we saw whales spouting and fluking in the distance, we just couldn't get close enough. We also broke some very expensive kit in the rough weather. My new Polecam snapped off one of the carbon fibre lengths. But we managed some home repairs and luckily the electronics haven't been effected. We've also encountered some heavy duty bureaucracy here which has hampered our filming efforts, but we continue to push on undeterred in our quest to expose the problem of plastic and pollution in the world's marine environment. Last night, my presenter, Ben Fogle, arrived from the UK and we began filming the sequences of Ben interacting with our cetacean scientist, Lindsay Porter, and of course, the whales. Only problem was, unlike yesterday, when we encountered around 8 whales during the day, today there were none. Fingers crossed for tomorow.
Assistant cameraman John Chambers checks the Reds in the special Gates underwater housings.
Polecam operator John McIntosh gives the new Polecam a trial run
My DOP, Mike Pitts, checks the damage to one of the Polecam sections after we were hit by heavy seas on the first day of filming.
Me with my crew, filming our first Blue Whales. What a day! What an experience!
And that she blows. All 35 metres of her.
Presenter Ben Fogle, the man who rowed across the Atlantic, loves the razor wire around this tug, put there to protect the crew from Somali pirates.
The water visibility is unbelievable, almost 40 metres.