“The Indonesian archipelago of Raja Ampat lies at the centre of the Coral Triangle, stretching from the Philippines to Timor to Papua New Guinea. Here, hundreds of jungle-covered islands meet some of the richest coral reefs in the world. The Planet Earth III team stayed at the Kri Eco Resort, a secluded and pioneering resort on the tiny island of Kri in Raja Ampat. A SCUBA diver’s dream, Kri’s reefs are filled with sharks, manta rays and an unimaginable number of fish. But Kri also provides access to a lesser-known habitat: blue water mangroves. While mangroves often grow on muddy beds, here their tangled roots give way directly to pristine coral reefs, providing a sanctuary for juvenile fish. One such fish, the archerfish, fascinated the Planet Earth III team because of their ability to dislodge insects from the mangrove’s leaves. Thanks to the crystal-clear waters, the team were able to film juvenile archerfish learning the technique of spitting water jets into the air from other more experienced fish. When their jets weren’t successful, the juveniles resorted to capturing insects by jumping over twice their body length into the mangrove canopy.”
What you will see: Coral reefs, sharks, manta rays, fish, blue water mangroves, archerfish
Tambopata Nature Reserve, The Amazon Rainforest of Peru
Alex Walters, Assistant Producer
“For the Forest episode of Planet Earth III we, of course, wanted to feature footage of the stunning pristine Amazon rainforest. For this, I travelled with a team of camera operators and local crew to Tambopata Nature Reserve in eastern Peru, where we stayed in Tambopata Research Station with Rainforest Expeditions. It took three days to get there from the UK, but the journey was worth it. The Tambopata Research Station is one of the most remote eco-lodges in South America. Here, you are completely immersed in nature; if you can’t immediately see it, you can hear it all around you. Around the lodge, there are many rainforest trails to explore, and you can take guided tours if you wish. It’s worth an early morning wake-up call one morning to go on a river tour to watch flocks of macaws fly overhead (such as the bright scarlet macaw and blue-and-yellow macaw). As you leave the lodge, you will take away some hard-to-beat memories and, if you’re a keen photographer, camera cards jammed full of wildlife photographs.”
What you will see: Parrots, bright scarlet macaw and blue-and-yellow macaw
Where to stay: Half the Tambopata Nature Reserve is luxurious, while the other half is a bustling wildlife research station (where we set up our base). The staff at the lodge are exceptional; you get the feeling that the forest wouldn’t take long to fully engulf the place, so the staff are constantly busy cleaning and tidying. The wildlife is always welcome, though – from the restaurant you will often see howler monkeys sitting in branches of the enormous emergent trees that tower above the lodge. The bedrooms are open on one side, looking out onto the rainforest, so you don’t even need to leave your bed to watch howler monkeys, spider monkeys, macaws and countless other animals.
Planet Earth III will begin on BBC One and iPlayer at 6.15pm on Sunday 22nd October