Journey to the South Pacific (2013) Movie Script

(harmonious vocalizing)
(melancholy vocalizing)
-[Narrator] West Papua.
Nowhere else does the sea
pulse with so much life.
(melancholy singing)
(lively music)
(ship's horn blowing)
(speaking in foreign language)
(lively music)
(singing in foreign language)
(children chattering)
(singing in foreign language)
(children chattering)
-[Narrator] In West Papua,
a unique boat
visits many islands,
bringing something
wonderful to each.
(singing in foreign language)
The Kalabia is a
floating school,
where children of the
islands learn about the reefs
they all depend on.
(gentle music)
A 13-year-old boy,
Jawi, has been chosen
to spend the summer
on this boat.
-[Jawi] Tomorrow we'll
start classes on the Kalabia.
But today we sing.
-[Menas] Jawi, welcome back.
-[Jawi] My uncle Menas is
a teacher on the Kalabia.
-[Menas] Everywhere we go,
the children get so excited.
We use songs and games to teach
students about the oceans.
-[Jawi] My dad brings
the old days back to life.
He makes it fun.
When he runs out of
paint he uses toothpaste.
-[Yesaya] Jawi's father
died when he was two,
so we took him in.
He's a foster child, but
I love him like my own.
I teach him about our heritage.
(lively music)
The past seems strange
to kids like me.
But my dad says there's
wisdom in the old ways.
-[Yesaya] In our village
we all depend on each other.
We belong together.
Just like these villagers.
(gentle music)
-[Narrator] Jawi's uncle Menas
takes the Kalabia students
on field trips.
He tries to teach these
children of the reef
something new about
their own back yard.
(lively music)
There's a great diversity
of healthy corals here.
But Menas shows the
class that the big fish
they depend on for
food are almost gone.
-[Menas] Corals eat
tiny plants and animals
called plankton.
They're like an
upside-down octopus,
grabbing food as it passes by.
-[Jawi] I love this game.
It shows my friends
how corals eat.
They reach out like coral
polyps and get peanuts.
Plankton peanuts.
(lively music)
Tomorrow I'll be leaving
on a long journey.
But I want one last day
with my two best friends.
(gentle music)
We plan our day around
the tides and currents
because we can only get
through here at low tide,
like right now.
Sometimes this cave
fills up with water.
I don't say this to anyone,
but maybe I'm just a little
bit afraid to leave home.
I'm the oldest, and
kind of the leader.
The youngest is Jacob.
He's not afraid of anything.
And Gibson?
Everything we do
makes him laugh.
Clams and snails live
here in the mangroves.
That's what we're after.
(lively music)
We roast the clams and
snails inside a bamboo stick.
It's good.
(speaking foreign language)
(gentle music)
-[Yesaya] Fishing
keeps us alive,
but the big fish are
disappearing fast.
Outsiders are sneaking in
and poaching our reefs.
And development is coming.
So Jawi needs to find new
ways to protect our reefs.
-[Jawi] I've never been
away from home before.
Two months is a long time.
(lively music)
-[Narrator] The
Kalabia will take Jawi
to nine islands in West Papua.
This island chain
forms a narrow funnel
between the Indian
and Pacific Oceans.
Tidal currents sweep
back and forth,
bearing a rich source of food.
-[Menas] In the old days,
a boy went on a long voyage
to become a man.
I hope this trip will teach
Jawi to think for himself.
Poachers once used the
Kalabia to fish illegally.
It was impounded and repainted,
and now helps young islanders
understand how to
care for their reefs.
-[Jawi] My dad says,
dive every reef,
because each one is different.
A seahorse.
My first.
-[Menas] The last
time I dove this reef
there were more fish.
In all the oceans the number
of big fish has dropped 90%.
And it's almost as
bad for sea turtles.
So we were lucky to see one.
(gentle music)
-[Narrator] Like any village,
a coral reef has its
fair share of characters.
This hawksbill turtle
is just passing through
on her way to the
island of Kalimantan,
a thousand miles away.
All her life she
remains a nomad.
A hungry nomad,
who avoids crowds.
Certain other characters,
like the lined sweetlips,
prefer company.
(gentle music)
Hawksbill turtles have no teeth,
just a horny beak.
But they will eat
almost anything.
They never stop.
-[Menas] Sea turtles
are disappearing,
but I told Jawi there are
things we can do to save them.
-[Narrator] The
scientist on board,
Ferdiel Ballamu, is an
expert on sea turtles.
Even though turtles
bury their eggs in sand,
wild animals dig
them up and eat them.
-[Ferdiel] Sometimes,
the only way
to protect the turtle eggs
is to move them to a safe place.
(lively music)
-[Narrator] The
next island, Arborek,
is vulnerable to
storms and high tides.
Its highest point is only
six feet above sea level.
(lively music)
The people here
love their island,
and don't want to
live anywhere else.
Mangroves protect
beaches from storms.
That's why the Islanders
plant saplings.
But even mangroves
cannot protect Arborek
against rising sea levels.
-[Jawi] The mangrove
roots clean the waters.
Young fish hide here
so they can grow.
The more mangroves,
the more fish.
(gentle music)
-[Narrator] The currents
that nourish the mangroves
also attract
extraordinary creatures
from many miles around.
Manta rays hang in the
currents like gliders
so the cleaner fish
can groom them.
The rays get rid of
parasites on their skin
and the fish get a tasty snack.
This ray has a big chunk
missing, from a shark bite.
She lets her groomers
clean the wound.
One helper even nibbles
on the manta's eyeball.
In West Papua the rhythm of life
is driven by the currents.
In tight spots
between the islands
the sea flows
fast, like a river.
And at full moon,
that's when the
currents run strongest.
These strong currents turn the
seawater into plankton soup.
A real feast for the mantas.
Here, at the convergence
of two great oceans,
schools of anchovies grow in
size when it's time to spawn.
Attracting hungry predators.
(gentle music)
(lively music)
Scientists are mapping the many
deep canyons of West Papua,
where upwelling currents carry
vast quantities of plankton.
All these nutrients
sustain an amazing
diversity of sea life.
Over 500 different
kinds of corals
and nearly 2,000
species of fish.
More than anywhere
else on earth.
(gentle music)
-[Jawi] I'm seeing some
animals I've never seen before.
Like an orangutan crab.
It makes me laugh.
The seahorse is tiny.
There's a second seahorse,
which I almost didn't spot.
Not all sharks are dangerous.
The wobbegong shark
just wants to hide.
This one's pregnant, and
she is as gentle as a puppy.
-[Narrator] The Kalabia
sets course for Wermon,
a nesting ground
for sea turtles.
-[Menas] I showed
Jawi one turtle,
but now he'll see some big ones.
20 times bigger.
-[Narrator] Because of his
success saving sea turtles,
Ferdiel has been invited to
Wermon to share his know-how.
-[Ferdiel] The turtles
that nest here are huge.
So it takes a large
scale to weigh them.
And it takes a large
man to test the scale.
(gentle music)
-[Narrator] Scientists
call this beach
the last stand of the
Pacific leatherback turtle.
This mother swam all the
way from North America,
6,000 miles, to the
beach where she was born.
She will not nest anywhere else.
-[Ferdiel] Red lights
don't disturb her.
She can't see red.
In the past four years
she has really grown,
and now weighs 500 pounds.
The mother digs a
hole two feet deep,
and lays about a hundred eggs.
The newborns can walk
as soon as they hatch.
(gentle music)
They somehow imprint
on this exact beach,
like setting their internal GPS.
Then they begin a
dangerous journey.
Only one in 10
makes it to the sea.
-[Jawi] Birds and lizards
eat almost every baby turtle.
But sometimes you get lucky.
-[Ferdiel] Despite
their struggles,
sea turtles still have a chance.
New fishing equipment,
like the circle hook,
is saving them by the thousands.
-[Narrator] The Kalabia
moves to the island of Misool.
Years ago, when Andy
and Merit Miners
came here for the first time,
they saw big reefs all around.
But where were the fish?
The villagers were overfishing,
and the outsiders were getting
their catch the easy way.
With dynamite.
To bring the big fish back,
Andy and Merit made the
fisherman an offer of help.
Get the outsiders
to stop dynamiting.
Limit your fishing.
And establish a permanent
marine protected area.
(gentle music)
If you work with us,
your reefs will thrive.
And so will your families.
The villagers
agreed, and steadily,
over the next five years,
the big fish came back.
(lively music)
-[Jawi] Here there
are plenty of big fish.
I saw that this no-take
zone was working so well
because they patrol it.
-[Narrator] Here, the fishermen
who once broke the rules
now enforce them
in patrol boats.
They put a stop to
illegal fishing.
And on the very spot
that the poachers
once pitched their camp,
Andy and Merit
build their dream.
A resort to sustain both
the reefs and the islanders.
The villagers now
make a better living
working with tourists
who come here
to dive these revitalized reefs.
(gentle music)
-[Jawi] I saw how a marine
protected area works,
and how to guard it.
I understood why the big
fish were disappearing
from our reef at home.
And I finally knew what
we could do about it.
My dad says there's
wisdom in the old ways.
And a wise fisherman
always leaves some
fish for another day.
That's the old way.
(lively music)
The stone fish.
You don't want to
touch one of those.
His venom can kill you.
(stone fish grunting)
I learned this: protect the
reef and it'll sing to you.
(woman singing)
(giant clam grunting)
(fish booming)
(water bubbling)
(fish popping)
(mollusc crooning)
(eels harmonizing)
(fish beeping)
-[Narrator] This colorful
chorus has shown Jawi
how a well-managed
reef can thrive.
(gentle music)
-[Jawi] Just before
we left Misool,
I got a letter from home.
-[Yesaya] Learn all you
can, never hold back.
We all miss you.
Love, your father.
-[Narrator] The final stop
will be Cenderawasih Bay,
where the whale sharks gather.
In all the oceans, these
are the biggest sharks.
Well over 40 feet long.
There are even
reports of 60-footers.
-[Jawi] Here I'll
have the chance
to dive with whale sharks.
I've never seen one.
I think they must be scary.
The harder I try not to
think about whale sharks,
the more I think
about whale sharks.
Uncle Menas says whale
sharks won't hurt me.
I don't know.
-[Narrator] The commercial
fishermen feed the whale sharks
some of their catch to
keep them hanging around.
They're considered good luck.
-[Jawi] I wonder if they
could swallow me by mistake.
(suspenseful music)
(lively music)
(gentle music)
Now I wonder why I was ever
afraid of whale sharks.
-[Narrator] Jawi's
journey is nearly over.
But the Kalabia's
work continues.
Inspiring a
generation of children
to care for the ocean.
(gentle music)
In just two months Jawi has seen
how a revitalized
reef sustains itself.
And he has learned that the
more you understand a reef
the better you can protect it.
-[Yesaya] We have concerns,
but scientists tell us
there's no other place like
this anywhere on earth.
I'm thankful that the
future of our islands
belongs to the
children of the reef.
-[Jawi] pretty soon
it will be up to me,
and Gibson, and Jacob.
And that's why my dad
sent me on this journey.
(lively music)
(speaking foreign language)
(lively music)