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Jacques-Yves Cousteau ...
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26 September 1971 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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The most memorable episode...
25 September 2015 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I am in my early 50s, so I remember the wonderful Jacques Cousteau specials of the late 60s and through the 70s. They were wonderful shows and I always made sure to watch them when they aired. Well, yesterday I saw a PBS show about the sea otter...and it got me thinking of the old Cousteau show where I was first introduced to this magnificent animal. When I checked on Google, I found it right away--and apparently you can watch "The Unsinkable Sea Otter" online for free!

The show is about the sea otter which is found in small portions of the American west coast. Most of the first portion of the show is spent up in the Aleutians and you see the Cousteau divers in the water* with these otters. However, these Alaskan otters aren't so friendly and are wary around the divers. They place a couple in a netted area and observe them for a few days. Then, the film switches to the Monterey area when the California population lives. This time, the otters seemed standoffish at first but over time, they warmed up to the divers and the show was adorable.

This older documentary is interesting because in style it is very different from more modern nature films. The dialog by Jacques Cousteau is often very prosaic and non-scientific. This isn't bad...just unusual. What IS bad is seeing how much interaction they have with the animals in the wild--especially since the one otter they habituated towards people was later found dead from a gunshot wound--which might NOT have happened if it hadn't enjoyed being around people. These are not so much complaints--more observations about the style of film and observation, as things have definitely changed. However, the film also did a lot of good as it instilled in me as a child a love for these creatures and the population in California is stable and doing well. And, if you visit the Monterey area, you can go on harbor cruises and see them yourself--it's worth it. Overall, an exciting and adorable show--well worth your time.

*I am a scuba diver and was shocked to see that even in the Aleutians the divers were using wetsuits--not dry suits like divers would today. Perhaps they hadn't yet perfected them, I don't know. What I do know is that these divers were REALLY sacrificing as the water was ice cold and wetsuits take a while to warm up--and even then, I can't see them staying in the water very long.


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