Coming up next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, the world’s fastest fish give Jonathan a run for his money! Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and
welcome to my world! ( ♪ music ) Have you ever wondered why a sailfish has a sail and a
pointy bill? Well I have! And to find out, I have
traveled down to Cancun, Mexico to see if I can get up close to
a sailfish in the wild. My day begins at the crack of
dawn. Nice Early start, 6 AM! Time to go find some sailfish! I load the car with all my gear
and then we’re off to the
marina. My guide is Jorge Loria from
Phantom Divers who put this trip together for
me. It’s a little tense this
morning because the weather is not good
for working offshore. Jonathan: PRETTY WINDY! The wind is blowing at nearly
20 knots, which means that if
we had any sense, we would stay
home– but this is the calmest day we
are going to get all week. It’s go now or not at all. The
heavy surf speaks for itself. We’re in for
a rough day. We arrive at Solo Buceo, the
dive shop in Cancun that is running the
expedition. Their boat is designed for
running way offshore. I carry my gear in from the car. Fortunately, I’ll be traveling
light today. Interaction with
sailfish is best done without scuba gear, so I’ll
just be using a mask, fins and
snorkel. The protection of the marina
belies the ocean conditions. A look at the trees shows the
wind, and just outside the
harbor, the waves break. Yikes! With all our gear loaded, we
push off the dock and head out
to sea. Alberto, the mastermind of this
expedition is on the phone, checking to
see if any fishermen have seen
the sailfish this morning. Our captain pushes up the
throttles for a long run out to
sea. It will be at least two hours
to get anywhere near sailfish
territory. Jorge: “OK guys, we’re going to
navigate a couple hours “north of Contoy and we’re
going to be looking for the “birds eating the sardines, and
therefore the sailfish “are there so it’s going to be
a two and a half hour ride. “Everybody’s got mask and fins?” Our plan is to look for birds. (Jonathan): “Believe it or not,
to find sailfish, we need to
find some birds flying around.
That’s because “sailfish love to eat sardines,
little silvery fish about this
big. “But to find the sardines, we
find some birds that are also
hunting “the sardines.” Everyone on the boat keeps an
eye open as we drive around the
open sea, hoping for a glimpse of birds on the horizon. And
after a few hours, we find the birds.
Unfortunately, some fishermen
saw them too. (Jonathan): “Well, we’re like
20 miles out and we found “birds flying all over the
place, feeding on a bait ball, “and I think there are some
sailfish. And we’re going to
jump in and see if we can find
them!” We pull up to the fish under
the birds and it’s time for us to jump in! (Alberto):
“GO GO GO!” Jorge got in first and he has
his hand up to tell us where the sailfish
are. My first glimpse under the
water reveals just blue and some bubbles. But then a
sailfish comes racing out of the distance! The sardines are packed into a
tight school, sometimes called a bait ball.
They are trying to protect
themselves against the sailfish by staying close
to each other. But the sailfish are chasing
them and attacking from all
sides. They pin the sardines against
the surface so they can’t get
away! The sardines often swim close
to me for protection. I’m starting to
get worried about those sharp
bills on the front of the sailfish! These beautiful fish are among the fastest animals in the sea.
They can swim 60 miles per hour! That’s as fast as a car on the
highway! A sailfish uses its bill like a
sword to slash through the
baitball and stun a sardine. Then it can
gobble the fish down. They’re getting awfully close! ( ♪ music ) Sometimes the sailfish even
skewer sardines on the end of
their bills. Whoa! Did you see that? Watch
it again in slow motion! Here comes a sailfish from the
left and it nails a sardine right in front of the camera!
Even in slow motion it’s fast. Watch it even slower. Boom! Right there! Talk about good aim! The action is incredibly
fast-paced and tiring. I have to keep up with the
action, which keeps moving. My legs are getting tired.
Eventually, I can’t keep up
with the baitball and the action drifts too far away. The boat comes and picks me up. I’ll get a quick rest, then
they will drop me back in close
to the fish. A few minutes later, I’m ready
to go again. Jonathan: “Ready?” Alberto:
“OK! Go go!” I get my bearings and then I’m back into the
sailfish. You can see in this shot that when a sailfish swims, it
folds its dorsal fin down to
reduce drag. But then, BOOM it pops the dorsal fin up like
a sail. Did you see that? Watch it again in slow motion. There! We can only guess why
the sailfish has such a large sail-like dorsal fin, but it
appears they use the sail to frighten
the sardines by surprising
them, or possibly to look larger when they are
herding the fish. The sailfish work together to keep the
sardines from escaping below
and one by one, they pick off each and every
sardine, until the entire baitball is gone. ( ♪ music ) Jonathan: “Oh man, “that is exhausting! Swimming
around “with all these fish that are
the fastest fish in the ocean. “They have a lance on their
nose, I thought I was going to
get skewered. “They swim right at the camera
and zoom at the last minute but
man “what an exhilarating
experience! Whew, “I’m so tired!” It takes a couple hours to get
back to the dock and even
though we’ve had a long rough day at sea, the experience was
worth it. Sailfish are magnificent
animals and something I had
never seen before. Being right in the middle of a
school of sailfish attacking
sardines is definitely nature at its
wildest. ( ♪ music )

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