Episodes

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01Doorway To The Deep2014072120190624 (BBC7)
20190625 (BBC7)

In his book, 'Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves', American journalist James Nestor investigates the world of freediving, both competitive and scientific.

He learns how to stay underwater for extended periods; goes shark-tagging; has a close encounter with sperm whales; plunges to 2,500 feet in a DIY submarine; unveils startling facets of human physiology – most notably the extraordinary life-preserving reflexes known as the Master Switch of Life.

And we learn about the old and new life-forms that inhabit our deep oceans – a habitat with the greatest biodiversity on earth, yet most of it remains unknown.

Abridged and produced by Pippa Vaughan.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

James Nestor investigates the exhilarating and dangerous world of freediving.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

02Shark-tagging2014072220190625 (BBC7)
20190626 (BBC7)

James Nestor's book 'Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves' begins at the surface and then plunges ever deeper into the unknown – until we are at 35,797 feet below sea level: the lowest point on earth. "Freedivers" come to the ocean to redefine the limits of the human body, swimming up to 400 feet below the surface for minutes at a time in a single breath.

Scientific adventurers take us even deeper when they explore Grand Canyon-like chasms no one has ever reached (alive) before, where life-forms flourish in 300 degree water with absolutely no light. None of it should exist, and yet it does. But how?

Abridged and produced by Pippa Vaughan.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

James Nestor meets some of the world's scientific freedivers and goes shark-tagging.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

03Japan2014072320190626 (BBC7)
20190627 (BBC7)

James Nestor's 'Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves' explores the human relationship with the deep sea, following extreme athletes, adventurers and scientists who risk life and limb to dive deeper than anyone before. What they discover is weird and wondrous, and in many cases redefines our understanding of biology – ours, and the sea's.

Deep begins at the surface and then plunges ever deeper into the unknown – until we are at 35,797 feet below sea level: the lowest point on earth. "Freedivers" come to the ocean to redefine the limits of the human body, swimming up to 400 feet below the surface for minutes at a time in a single breath.

Nestor learns how to stay underwater for extended periods; goes shark-tagging; has a close encounter with sperm whales; plunges to 2,500 feet in a DIY submarine; and unveils startling facets of human physiology – most notably the extraordinary life-preserving reflexes known as the Master Switch of Life.

Abridged and produced by Pippa Vaughan.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4

Nestor dives with the Ama: women who have been freediving in Japan's seas for 2,000 years.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

04Caribbean2014072420190627 (BBC7)
20190628 (BBC7)

In 'Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves', journalist James Nestor becomes enthralled by the extreme sport of freediving – where humans plunge many hundreds of feet into the sea without oxygen or breathing equipment. Nestor overcomes his initial scepticism about this dangerous sport and meditates on our relationship to the ocean, which he describes as 'the last truly quiet place on Earth.'

We meet scientific adventurers who take us ever deeper when they explore Grand Canyon-like chasms no one has ever reached (alive) before, where life-forms flourish in 300-degree water with absolutely no light. None of it should exist, and yet it does. But how?

Abridged and produced by Pippa Vaughan.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

In the Caribbean, James Nestor plunges to the Midnight Zone \u2013 in a homemade submarine.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

05 LASTSri Lanka2014072520190628 (BBC7)
20190629 (BBC7)

James Nestor's book, "Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves" begins at the surface and then plunges ever deeper into the unknown – until we are at 35,797 feet below sea level: the lowest point on earth. "Freedivers" come to the ocean to redefine the limits of the human body, swimming up to 400 feet below the surface for minutes at a time in a single breath.

Nestor introduces us to freedivers who are drawn to the sea for a variety of reasons: some to break records, some to find peace, and some who are scientists, freediving 'because it's the most intimate way to connect with the ocean.'

Nestor unveils startling facets of human physiology – most notably the extraordinary life-preserving reflexes known as the Master Switch of Life.

And we learn about the old and new life-forms that inhabit our deep oceans – a habitat with the greatest biodiversity on earth, yet most of it remains unknown.

Abridged and produced by Pippa Vaughan.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

Nestor is in Sri Lanka, diving in the hope of encountering the world's largest predator.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres