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  • ♪ (soaring string music) ♪

  • ♪ (ambient music) ♪

  • David Doubilet: Unseen, unknown, mysterious.

  • Beautiful and existence,

  • city in the sea.

  • The richest part of our planet.

  • It was paradise.

  • (applause)

  • Good evening!

  • What we want to show tonight

  • is basically a year.

  • A year in photography.

  • And we will take you on a journey,

  • mostly under seas,

  • from the boiling hot tropics,

  • the volcano-laced tropics,

  • to the cold water, to the ice,

  • to the arctic.

  • And I think I may share

  • a little bit about us.

  • We work as a team. We're together 24/ 7,

  • which is--

  • We are married, you know.

  • Yes, we are married.

  • But it's a good partnership.

  • Jennifer has always said

  • that I have this teenage crush

  • about Papua New Guinea.

  • But 18 years ago, it's now 18 years ago,

  • I was in a place called Kimbe Bay,

  • I was there for the total of six days.

  • And in those six days I made

  • some very serious, wonderful pictures.

  • And I had to go back, I had to go back.

  • But the years passed and suddenly...

  • The phone rang and it was...

  • It was the office

  • and they said to me,

  • "You. You have been selected

  • to participate, to contribute

  • in the 125th anniversary issue,

  • David: the photography issue

  • of the National Geographic magazine ."

  • They said, "You can go anywhere you want,

  • shoot anything you want."

  • And I said to myself, "Kimbe Bay," ding!

  • And so we had an assignment.

  • But here's a problem that all of you share right now

  • and that problem is 'Where the hell is Kimbe Bay?'

  • (audience laughter)

  • David: Well, Kimbe Bay is in the Coral Triangle.

  • And the Coral Triangle is where, on this planet,

  • the most bio-diverse, the most numbers

  • of fish, coral and of course, invertebrates live.

  • This was a perfect assignment.

  • What could possibly go wrong?

  • Hmm.

  • The whole story's had a cloud over it.

  • Boiling dark cloud.

  • The monsoon is still going on.

  • The wettest March and April since 1970.

  • The batteries are smoldering, stinking and burning.

  • Your camera's on fire.

  • It nearly burnt the place down.

  • Strobes flood.

  • A GoPro floods.

  • Gone.

  • We lose another light.

  • The electronics are scrambled.

  • Torrential rains.

  • And kaboom!

  • Another $3,000.

  • Charger blows up.

  • Like this place has it in for us.

  • Mosquitoes are buzzing around our heads.

  • You don't have to worry about the bends,

  • you have malaria.

  • And as of two days ago, a cyclone.

  • Guinea is eating us up and spit us out.

  • And this story was supposed to be a gift,

  • an easy, beautiful story.

  • Funny, all these years, all these stories,

  • every place we've gone to we're sort of

  • reluctant to leave.

  • But it's over now.

  • So say goodnight Buffalo Bob.

  • Goodnight Buffalo Bob.

  • Well, the one sunny day.

  • David: This is what this place looked like.

  • It's an absolute paradise.

  • Deep water with these wonderful sea mounds

  • rising from thousands of feet, almost to the surface,

  • and surrounded by volcanoes.

  • And here's this mysterious lake

  • called Dok Toek, the forbidden lake.

  • No foreigners, nobody but tribesmen

  • can go to this lake because it's full of spirits

  • and crocodiles.

  • The offshore reefs, like this incredible place

  • called Kimbe Bomi and they were far offshore,

  • two and a half hour boat rides every day.

  • Hundred and twenty-five feet down at the top of the reef.

  • They were like absolute gardens,

  • these deep, underwater volcanoes.

  • ♪ (melodic music) ♪

  • David: Bradford is the most spectacular dive here.

  • There's a sea mount called Bradford Shoals.

  • It rises up from the deep,

  • it is rounded, steep-shouldered

  • and has an immense school of chevron barracuda,

  • which swim around in great circles,

  • almost making funnel-shaped clouds.

  • Around they go, spooling upwards.

  • When fish move in a circular pattern,

  • they create the rarest thing in the sea

  • which is a geometric pattern,

  • a place that has no corners, no edges.

  • Geometry in a place of weightless chaos.

  • ♪ (melodic music continues) ♪

  • And then the barracudas would form these immense,

  • circular tornado-shaped towers,

  • David: going from basically the bottom of the reef

  • all the way to the surface,

  • sometimes 70, 80 feet high.

  • Look at this.

  • And here's Jennifer on the side

  • of one of these towers.

  • The first time we landed on this sea mount,

  • called Joelles, it was raining fish.

  • Jennifer Hayes: They were isolated, they were unfound,

  • they were untouched.

  • And they were de facto marine protected areas.

  • They just had no sense of humans

  • and one of the scariest things

  • and in-your-face conservation I have ever seen

  • was a group of fishermen in a single boat,

  • what they call a banana boat

  • and they had found Joelles reef

  • and they had anchored on it

  • and they had been on it all night fishing.

  • And the minute they saw our boat coming,

  • they cut their line and they sped off.

  • And it turns out when we went down,

  • all we found were hooks and fishing line,

  • and half or more of the fish were gone.

  • All of the pinjalo snappers.

  • Every pinjalo snapper was gone.

  • This is one night on one small piece

  • of real estate in the ocean that was wiped out.

  • And the next day when we were

  • in the Kimbe Bay market there were the pinjalos.

  • And it shows you how fragile,

  • first off it shows us how marine protected areas

  • work and function and then it shows us

  • how vulnerable these places are.

  • David: There's small things on this reef.

  • I have to tell you, anemones and clownfish,

  • it's one of the most beautiful friendships in the sea.

  • The anemones protect the clownfish's eggs,

  • protect the clownfish at night

  • with its stinging tentacles.

  • The clownfish protects the anemones

  • from being nibbled to death by butterfly fish.

  • But Joelles has this wonderful collection

  • of anemones and toward the evening

  • they ball up like this

  • and the clownfish begin to burrow in their stomachs.

  • I also managed to photograph spawning.

  • Here are the big female clownfish.

  • And the female is the dominant partner

  • in this relationship.

  • If the female dies, the largest male

  • turns into a female and begins to produce eggs.

  • They're producing eggs right now.

  • And that purple curtain in the background

  • is the side of the anemone.

  • We dove with sharks.

  • (ocean waves)

  • ♪ (ambient chime music) ♪

  • ♪ (ambient chime music continues) ♪

  • We were amazed and shocked

  • and pleased to see sharks in Kimbe Bay.

  • They would meet you when you rolled off the boat

  • and you were like, "This is the way

  • it is supposed to be."

  • So it was just another indicator,

  • another symbol that these reefs had survived

  • where other reefs throughout the Coral Triangle

  • had not done as well.

  • David: We dove on a place called Father's Reef

  • and we met a hawksbill turtle.

  • And she met us on every dive.

  • We could swim with her as she made her rounds

  • past schools of barracudas and schools of bat-fish.

  • I love this picture because it looks

  • like the turtle is flying.

  • And then she'd do this amazing thing:

  • instead of going to the surface

  • and going back down to another piece of bottom,

  • she would come and she would rest on our tanks.

  • And she would do this, she would take her flippers

  • and put her flippers around the tank

  • and rest there.

  • Jennifer: It was wonderful, she really was magic.

  • She met us on every dive

  • and she would follow you and when she was tired

  • she would rest on you.

  • And it was a magic moment.

  • But it was also a terrifying moment

  • in terms of that makes this particular animal

  • very vulnerable.

  • The local fishermen there, they fish the reefs

  • that they can find and they harvest anything

  • they can find on the reefs,

  • from reef fish to turtles.

  • And we would be diving, a local banana boat

  • comes up and with a group of people,

  • the young man swims down the turtle.

  • "How much, how much, how much?

  • You buy, you buy, you buy.

  • Would you like to buy?"

  • Your gut inclination is for a handful of dollars

  • is to buy that turtle,

  • take it to the next coral sea mount

  • and let it go.

  • But you can't do that

  • because you're setting up a trade, an economy.

  • They'll go catch another turtle

  • and they'll come back to you again.

  • Or they'll go catch the same turtle

  • and bring it back to you.

  • We were in a tiny empire.

  • A perfect, tiny coral empire.

  • And we needed, we needed to have an image

  • of coral.

  • A panorama.

  • A shot that said, "This is this coral world."

  • Built of tiny polyps, beautiful in existence,

  • city in the sea.

  • This picture isn't the one we wanted.

  • David: And we kept looking and we kept searching.

  • David: A place called an Ann-Sofie.

  • It's a group of islands at the tip

  • of the Williamez Peninsula.

  • And there's one little island,

  • it's not even an island,

  • it's an island with a bunch of trees on it

  • and sort of a lone palm tree.

  • And it has in one corner of it,

  • a field in very, very shallow water.

  • David: In less than a foot there is a field

  • of beautiful purple-laced coral intermingled

  • with a cropper coral and stagnant coral.

  • David: It's absolutely beautiful.

  • And we worked there and photographed

  • David: a picture half and half out of the water.

  • One of the things I particularly liked to do.

  • And as we were working a father and son came up

  • in a dugout, they were fishing there.

  • We give them lunch later on.

  • (indistinct chatter)

  • Jennifer: We'll see Anton and his papa again.

  • ♪ (gentle guitar music) ♪