In 2006, the BBC raised the bar for nature documentaries with the release of the first season of Planet Earth, the captivating series featuring some truly stunning footage of wildlife around the globe supplemented by the expert narration of David Attenborough.
Planet Earth spawned some spinoffs in the form of The Blue Planet and Frozen Planet, which wouldn’t have been possible without the painstaking work of the film crews that endured some absolutely brutal conditions and some close encounters with their subjects while capturing the thousands of hours of footage that were edited down to create the final cut.
In 2015, Netflix poached the creators of Planet Earth (and Attenborough) for a new project dubbed Our Planet, which debuted on the platform in 2019.
Earlier this month, we were treated to four new episodes when Our Planet II dropped to give us yet another banger from the creative team that’s repeatedly proven it’s mastered the art of nature documentaries.
However, based on what director Toby Nowland had to say about what transpired over the course of the filming process during a conversation with Radio Times, the crews who traveled around the globe for the project ran into a few setbacks while putting it together.
That includes a pretty terrifying encounter with some tiger sharks off the coast of Hawaii that apparently viewed the inflatable boats the filmmakers were riding as a potential meal, as Nowland says the vessels were subjected to multiple attacks over the course of what sounds like an incredibly tumultuous day of filming:
“This ’V’ of water came streaming towards us and this tiger shark leapt at the boat and bit huge holes in it. The whole boat exploded.
We were trying to get it away and it wasn’t having any of it. It was horrific. That was the second shark that day to attack us.”
Producer Huw Cordey also added his own perspective while discussing the incident with Forbes, saying:
“The original idea was to do an underwater shoot with the tiger sharks waiting in the shallows at Laysan.
But the first day the tiger sharks were around, the crew got into these inflatable boats—and two sharks attacked them. It was like something out of Jaws.”
Cordey added the crew was successfully able to make the 100-meter trek back to dry land to ensure their safety, but that’s certainly a very eventful day at one of the most unique offices in existence.