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The Ocean Lover’s Guide to At-Home Exploration (Part 1: What to Watch)

By Amanda Townsel

The Oceanic Society team has been doing our part by staying home. If you're like us, you are probably experiencing some serious cabin fever right now. While we await the chance to travel again, we are satisfying our urge to explore by gobbling up all of the "virtual ocean exploration" that we can. Thankfully, there is a lot out there!

To help our fellow ocean lovers survive—and hopefully even enjoy—this period of staying at home, we are rounding up some of our favorite free and low-cost at-home ocean-focused activities to help bring the outside inside. In Part 1 of this series, we've compiled a list of some of the amazing ocean content we're watching these days that is either free or low-cost to stream online. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments! And stay tuned for Part 2...

What We're Watching: Streaming Content for Ocean Lovers

  • TEDTalks | Ocean Wonders (Free): “Dive into the unexplored universe beneath the waves: the beautiful, fragile (and sometimes terrifying) world of the ocean.”
  • TEDEd | Earth School (Free): A month of daily adventures that help learners of all ages to understand and celebrate our natural world, while learning about how dependent we are on our planet. Begins on Earth Day (April 22) and runs through World Environment Day (June 5).
  • The Odyssey (L'odyssée) (Free): This biopic tells the story of the incredible ocean explorer, inventor, and pioneer, Jacques Cousteau. Available for free streaming on YouTube. You can also find many of the original episodes of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau on YouTube.
  • Live Feeds (Free): There are an incredible amount of live feeds available. Perfect for putting on in the background, or taking a break from the news, here are a few of the ones we have been enjoying:

  • Want to really dive in? Try these immersive options. (Free)
    • Google Earth | The World’s Ocean - “Discover the wonders found under the sea with Street View imagery”
    • Google Earth | National Parks - Exploration sans travel. These immersive, educational 360 degree video experiences allow you to explore some of America's National Parks from the comfort of home.
    • National Geographic ‘s 360° Videos - Explore a variety of locations and natural phenomena including coral reefs, sea turtle nesting beaches, and more, with informative narration by scientists and explorers.
  • Roam From Home (Free): Join Oceanic Society naturalists on some of our expeditions, virtually! Our first virtual expedition - whale watching out of Half Moon Bay, CA - is live online!
  • Netflix (Paid) and Netflix Party (Free): There are many excellent ocean-related films and shows available for streaming on Netflix. Netflix Party is a free add-on service that offers “a new way to watch Netflix with your friends online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows.” Here are some of our favorite streaming options on Netflix.
    • Mission Blue: This documentary follows oceanographer and Oceanic Society board member Dr. Sylvia Earle's campaign to save the world's oceans from threats such as overfishing and toxic waste.
    • Chasing Coral: "A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why [coral reefs are vanishing] and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world."
    • Oceans (Disney Nature): Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, this documentary examines the vital role water plays in human existence and the cause-and-effect interplay between oceans and the environment.
    • Our Planet, Episode 4: Coastal Seas & Episode 6: The High Seas: This epic Netflix documentary series narrated by David Attenborough features two 50 minute episodes fully devoted to ocean life.
    • Dolphin Tale 2: Sequel to Dolphin Tale, based on the true story of Winter the dolphin.
    • Tales by Light: “Photographers and filmmakers travel the world capturing indelible images of people, places, creatures and cultures from new, previously unseen angles.”

  • Movies & Shows (Paid)
    • Blue Planet : “Each 50-minute programme peers into this watery world, with spectacular footage exploring shores and shallows teeming with life and uncovering unseen depths.”
    • Blue Planet II: “A follow-up to the 2001 award-winning show "The Blue Planet," this natural history series sees Sir David Attenborough return as narrator and host.”
    • The Big Blue: “The rivalry between Enzo and Jacques, two childhood friends and now world-renowned free divers, becomes a beautiful and perilous journey into oneself and the unknown.”
    • Sharkwater: “An investigation of sharks' importance to ecosystems and humankind's mass destruction of shark species worldwide.”

Disclaimer: Oceanic Society is not affiliated with any of these companies or organizations. Content has been previewed by Oceanic Society but we cannot make guarantees about the content, information, or products listed.


Amanda Townsel is an Oceanic Society communications strategist, copywriter, and community coordinator. Amanda earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of San Diego and a Master’s in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She is an avid traveler with a professional career that includes diving, marine ecotourism research, and strategic communications for conservation organizations.


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