Although created from the fiery rage of volcanoes, Hawaii is a paradise on Earth. A living Eden for all creatures, including one of the most misunderstood in the entire world – the shark. Some 40 species call these waters home, and so does world-renowned wildlife cinematographer Paul Atkins.
This film takes us from the remote reefs of the Hawaiian archipelago to the world-famous beaches of Waikiki. The sharks here offer up extraordinary behaviour, some seen nowhere else on Earth.
Our journey begins on Big Island, where whitetip reef sharks have been observed “sleeping” in caves created by collapsed lava. Many biologists believe that these tubes offer protection for the Whitetips from larger predatory tiger sharks. The tight spaces are too small for the Tigers to follow the Whitetips. Although the sharks appear to be sleeping, they’re just holding out until any threat moves on.
Journeying on, we shift into deeper water where humpback whales are on their annual migration from Alaska. Here, off Maui’s coast, tiger sharks attack humpback whale calves. Rarely do sharks attack prey bigger than themselves. But recently, something has changed in the whale/tiger shark dynamic and the new-born whales are now considered fair game.
But the relationship between whales and sharks in Hawaii’s waters is not always confrontational. These two species can also come together to form extraordinary bonds seen nowhere else on Earth. Oceanic Whitetips and pilot whales have formed an incredible symbiotic relationship off Hawaii’s shores. In times of scarcity, Oceanic Whitetips will look to the pilot whales for survival. They’ll track pilot whale pods like jackals, feeding on scraps left by the whales. The sharks will even feed on the faecal output of the whales if needed.
On a tiny atoll called French Frigate Shoals, tiger sharks exhibit behaviour seen nowhere else in the world. French Frigate Shoals is one of the last bastions for the Hawaiian monk seals. Hundreds arrive in the spring to have their pups. The Galapagos sharks travel here to feed on them. The sharks have been observed racing up the waterline and beaching themselves to get to the seals.
Join us as we take a look at the sharks that call this extraordinary place home. Utilising new underwater drones, aerial drones, and remote sensor cameras as well as new 4K lenses, ‘Hawaii: Sharks of the Fire Goddess’ will cast a never-before-seen look at both an amazing place and amazing animal.