David Doubilet: We’ve looked in a lot of different places underwater in this voyage of discovery. And remember, every time you fall backwards off the boat, it is a voyage of discovery. What we’ve seen are some incredible things. For instance, we went underwater, not in the ocean but in the Okavango Delta, one of the more incredible assignments we’ve ever had, because we were dealing with a rather large multicellular animal called a Nile crocodile, very large, and hippopotamus, and a host of other things in a world that was ultimately very strange.
We went under the mats of papyrus, which line their river bank in the upper reaches of the Okavango Delta. We dove in lily forests of pink and green and clouds of mosquito fish. We swam through tigerfish. We looked at diving spiders. We went at night to find something called a Zambezi squeaker, a very, very beautiful catfish. We looked at a system that fed all of the river. And they have a saying there that “the Okavango River is life, but beneath it is death.” And very few people have ever gone underneath there.
For a moment, as the floods come, it becomes very clear water. You just have a month in the northern part, and then you follow the clear water down to the ultimate end in the delta. Here is a river system that flows from Angola and then through Namibia, northern Namibia, and into Botswana, and spends itself in the sands of the Kalahari, producing this enormous delta, which in essence is the world’s largest oasis. It concentrates life, everything from these Zambezi squeaker catfish to hippopotamus to crocodiles to elephants to giraffes to lions to everything that lives in this world.