Zebra Sharks of Oman | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

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Today, Jonathan travels to Oman looking for
a rare and exotic shark. Welcome to Jonathan Bird’s Blue World. I have filmed sharks all over the world. Whale sharks in the Galapagos, Tiger sharks
in the Caribbean, White sharks in Mexico. Big sharks, little sharks, tropical sharks,
cold water sharks, bottom-dwelling sharks. I love sharks and shark behavior, and I’m
always looking for a new shark species to film. So, on our shark search, Cameraman Bill and
I are heading all the way to the middle east, to dive in the Sultanate of Oman. I’ve come all the way to Oman to film a
unique animal called the Zebra shark. Oman is a beautiful country with deserts and
mountains meeting the greenish-blue water of the Gulf of Oman, part of the western Indian
Ocean. The water here is tropical in temperature
but filled with plankton due to upwelling nutrients. As a result, the water is not as clear as
you might expect for such a tropical place, but absolutely filled with fish. Cameraman Bill and I arrive at the very fashionable
Civil Aviation Club just outside Oman’s capital of Muscat. We’ll be staying here for the week, right
on the ocean. And it’s really convenient because the dive
shop is located right on the property. As we discover at breakfast the first morning,
we are the only ones here, because it’s the middle of the summer. Here we are in our morning breakfast at the
Civil Aviation Club. We have the entire place to ourselves. We’re the only guests. Nobody shows up in July. Nobody. So, it’s 8 in the morning, in Oman, in July,
which is obviously the hot season. And ah, it’s over 100 degrees out and the
humidity is stifling. I head over to the dive shop and grab my gear
to load the boat. And it’s really easy because the boat is
on dry land! I’m experimenting with a new camera system—ultra
lightweight and travel-friendly. It kind of looks like an octopus though. Soon we’re on our way. It seems weird to be on the boat while they
put it in the water, but they have no dock here, so this is the best way. I don’t think the salt water is good for
the tractor. Once we are free of the boat trailer, the
captain fires up the engines and we’re on our way to the dive site. This area can be extremely windy, making the
sea conditions unsafe. So we are lucky that today it’s really calm. We make good time for the 20 kilometer run
out to the Daymaniyat Islands, one of the best places to dive in Oman. Daymaniyat is a small group of desert islands
surrounded by healthy reefs and protected by the Oman government as a nature reserve. I’m excited to get in the water and check
out what Oman has to offer. Well, it’s time to
go try to find a Zebra Shark! The water is hot near the surface, but it
quickly cools down as I sink below 30 feet. And it’s chock full of fish, like this big
school of Blackspot snapper. Due to upwelling there is plenty of cool,
nutrient-rich water here as I descend. This deeper layer is green with plankton,
and thick with fish. At times, the schools of fusilier block out
the sun! But’s the reefs that really catch my attention. While the underwater landscape is predominantly
hard coral, there are some magnificent colorful soft corals about. They have that classic tropical Indo-Pacific
look. And yet nearby there are bright blue gorgonians
that look like they were transplanted from temperate waters. There’s a species of crown-of-thorns sea
star I have never seen before. A big fat pincushion star. A pair of anemonefish frolicking in a magnificent
anemone that has fluorescing tentacles! Laced Moray eels seem to be living in every
hole in the reef. A nudibranch, basically a poisonous snail
without a shell, makes its way along the reef. A pair of tiny shrimp inhabit a branched anemone. A sea turtle is munching away on a soft layer
of coralimorphs that have encrusted the reef. She doesn’t seem to mind my camera one bit
as I move in for a close up. I might have stayed with this wonderfully
cooperative animal for the whole dive, except Bill calls me over to see something else. He has discovered a pair of cuttlefish. Cuttlefish are intelligent and curious. They often approach divers without fear for
a closer look. But this pair seems more like they are holding
their ground as we move in closer. It really seems like they might be up to something
that we just interrupted. With my camera barely more than a foot away,
the cuttlefish stay right in their spot over the reef. After a few minutes, they decide to trust
me and go back to what they were doing. And now I get it. The male is standing guard while the female
deposits her eggs in a safe place under some coral. This is a spectacular behavior I have never
before witnessed. The male keeps a close eye on me, but I guess
they have decided that Bill and I aren’t a threat. The egg-depositing continues in earnest, and
I feel truly honored that this pair of cuttlefish will allow us to get a glimpse into their
lives. We leave the cuttlefish to their efforts and
move on. As we swim out into a deeper, rubbly area,
we find our quarry: a Zebra shark resting on the bottom. But as we sneak in closer, the shark gets
spooked. We had an amazing dive, and we found a Zebra
shark, so we know they are around. Now we just need to find a cooperative one. The next morning we are up bright and early,
before it gets too hot. Back at the Daymaniyat Islands, we jump in
the water and head over to the area we saw the shark yesterday. Along the way I find some things to film. But then, I see a Zebra shark resting on the
bottom and approach slowly. As I get closer, I can see the distinct spots
that look like a Leopard pattern. In fact, in many places this is known as a
Leopard shark. If the Zebra shark looks a little familiar,
it’s probably because of the 5 ridges running the length of its body, which make it look
like a small Whale shark. Indeed they are related to each other. But instead of swimming in open water looking
for plankton, the Zebra shark rests on the bottom during the day and hunts for mollusks
and crustaceans at night. One thing I immediately notice about this
shark is that it appears to have only 4 gill slits. Given that all sharks have between 5 and 7
gill slits–with the vast majority having 5–something doesn’t seem right. So I sneak around the to the other side and
I can see the explanation. On Zebra sharks, the last two gill slits are
actually so close together that you can barely tell they aren’t a single gill slit. When a Zebra shark swims, you can see that
it has a really long, flexible tail. Most sharks don’t have a tail like this. My guess is that the long tail allows the
shark to swim backwards and wiggle out of the holes and crevices in the reef where it
hunts. Having finally found the Zebra shark, its
time head back to the boat, mission accomplished. That Zebra shark was amazing! What I couldn’t believe is how much it was
willing to tolerate me. I mean, I got right up close with my video
lights and I just settled down and I was filming and it didn’t even mind. It was just sitting there, totally chill—that’s
the most cooperative shark ever! After an exciting day filming Zebra sharks,
we head back to the Civil Aviation Club and enjoy a beautiful Omani sunset over the Indian
Ocean. And once again I realize how lucky I am to
be able to explore the far reaches of the Blue World.

 

76 Responses

  1. RacinGIRL911

    May 26, 2018 10:09 pm

    This video was ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDING!! Truly amazing! I just can’t say how impressed I was with everything about this incredible video! I know I sound like I’m gushing, but I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of everything in this video! It was also extraordinarily film and narrated! This video is a 10 out of 10! Thank you so very much for sharing an amazing part of this world that I wouldn’t have ever seen otherwise!

    Reply
  2. Black Sauce

    June 8, 2018 12:44 pm

    I wish im an animal in the sea so I will dont have hard work cause Im tired when I have to learn in school cause cause If I dont pass at grade 6 And Im always scare If I dont pass the school 😭

    Reply
  3. Desirae Marlar

    June 9, 2018 4:24 am

    maybe I have just seen all of his old videos but he looks like he lost a lot of weight. Kudos

    Reply
  4. Ianne Crawford

    June 12, 2018 8:21 pm

    This is more of leopard shard than a zebra I mean… the pattern is clearly that of a feline lol… whoever named this a zebra shark needs a photo side by side with zebra pattern and leopard or a jaguar whatsoever… hihi

    Reply
  5. Pete Bloczynski

    June 15, 2018 3:02 am

    Your shark videos have revived my love of sharks and I am so so happy you guys make these and always make a point to let viewers know that although they're still wild animals, sharks are not as aggressive as the world seems to think. Sharks are probably my favourite marine animals so I've seen every single shark video you guys have up.

    Reply
  6. EmeraldGaming HD

    July 4, 2018 10:29 am

    I have been watching you since last year and I’m still not bored!! Remember to subscribe and hit that bell!!!!!

    Reply
  7. Charles Franklin

    July 6, 2018 7:51 pm

    Mr. Bird I enjoy Your Program's Sir. Please Keep Sharing Your Knowledge with Us. These Programs are so Informative. Thanks Again Sir.

    Reply
  8. MW

    July 14, 2018 7:32 am

    Nice video…but why do you have the dive computer on your left arm? Its not safe when you will use the inflator to asscend etc.

    Reply
  9. andy mishoo

    July 18, 2018 2:57 pm

    have you ever been to EGypt there are many spots for diving ( Dahab , Sharm EL Sheikh , Marsa Allam , Hurgada , Safaga etcc)

    & i really recommend Dahab as it has magnificent spots like Blue hole the most dangerous diving site in Egypt

    Reply
  10. Falcontron

    July 26, 2018 4:50 am

    Uh.. Is it just me, or in the intro, when Jonathans walking down the beach, is it just me or is that a greenscreen lmao and the beach edited in

    Reply
  11. skorpion

    July 31, 2018 12:45 pm

    i cannot believe that i still haven't been able to go snorkeling. i haven't been able to live my life…😣😂

    Reply
  12. Dabbingson Last Name

    August 13, 2018 6:54 pm

    Stop calling clownfish anemonefish. Yes they live in anemones but so do Bangai cardinals and you don't call them anemonefish.

    Reply
  13. Sebastian Brand

    August 27, 2018 8:42 pm

    Sadly cuttlefish die after dropping their eggs. I also witnessed it at Komodo island last year. Same behaviour. Probably the most magnificient thing i've seen so far.
    Loving your videos Jonathan, keep the good work up!

    Reply
  14. ThatGirl Angel

    September 1, 2018 3:21 pm

    I love sharks they are beautiful creatures if i could dive with sharks i would please stop killing sharks

    Reply
  15. ThatGirl Angel

    September 1, 2018 7:00 pm

    Thx u so much for likeing my comment please do more shark videos and please give a shoutout sharks are awesome they so pretty and beautiful sharks are nice to people they loved to be pet on there nose there beautyful creatures please stop killing sharks

    Reply
  16. Terry TT

    October 17, 2018 10:28 am

    So glad you've gone to Oman, a place of true beauty, both on land, sea and from the air. I had nigh on 5 years working/living there and scuba diving of course, until serious injury curtailed my stay. You should try Southern Oman and look for the Dhofar Clown Fish, only seen in this small piece of ocean. If you were to explore other areas, such as Tiwi, Sur, Fahl Island, Bhandir Khiran to name just a few you'd find very clear waters and lots of sharks. Tiwi was my final dive, on 26 Aug 93! It was a "Soup of Sharks" and the diversity of life was amazing. Oman has the lot. From the Great white, Tiger, Bull, Nurse and all the usual reef sharks, Hammerheads, yes the Zebra shark, Oceanic sharks and finally the Whale Sharks. Plus a few I've not mentioned! Plus other inhabitants to treat with respect, such as Sea Snakes, Moray eels, Stone fish, Box Jelly fish, Baraccuda and plenty more. If you're not sure about the "attitude" of certain species then my advice to those who're not sure is simply, look and admire, but don't touch, but keep well away from the Box Jelly fish as to be stung can and has been fatal! I hope you managed to visit other areas of Oman to dive as you'll be amazed! I was and really miss Diving. Take care.

    Reply
  17. Fan XD Square Enix

    December 1, 2018 3:06 am

    Me watching: “I don’t care about your stay in Oman, let me see the sharks and learn the facts already”

    I’m too excited

    Reply
  18. I am Tiffany

    January 20, 2019 1:23 am

    Too bad i'll never know how to dive 😭 you're really lucky to be able to see the riches of the blue world.

    Reply
  19. Jake Kellogg

    January 29, 2019 1:53 am

    Can never get used to seeing Jonathan with a beard, it must've been cause this was published when it was still winter in New England, guess he wanted the beard to help keep his face warm!

    Reply
  20. Bemused Bandersnatch

    February 18, 2019 2:50 am

    Lol, it's like the aquatic equivalent of a snow leopard: shy, gorgeously spotted, and with a really long tail.

    Reply
  21. Ariel Romero

    March 31, 2019 3:38 am

    Great eel giraffe patern, good turtle, nice cuttlefish toobad theil die, they chose a good spot because urchins scare other things away and the shark is intresting

    Reply
  22. Theresa Pepanio

    July 26, 2019 8:48 am

    As always awesome video by: Mr Beard Bird💕😘
    Thanks Bill for always on Jonathan's side to cover the beauty of blue world! Keep it up and God bless 😘

    Reply
  23. Hadassah Cah

    August 1, 2019 3:50 am

    Yes sir! You're so blessed to be able to see those beautiful creatures up close. Waaah, how I wish…….. me… too…😭😅

    Reply
  24. Allfinns24

    November 7, 2019 7:30 am

    Leopard sharks are also one of the few animals that can do something called parthenogenesis!
    females can create viable eggs without the fertilisation of a male shark, which are essentially clones. I think that's really neat!! XD

    Reply

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