Podcast Corner: Dive in with whales and sea tales for Ocean Week

To celebrate Ocean Week, here are some podcasts about the sea to fill your ears with. Put on your shorts and let's hop in
Podcast Corner: Dive in with whales and sea tales for Ocean Week

One of National Geographic’s podcasts looks at the spread of a whale song. Photo: Pexels

To celebrate Ocean Week, here are some podcasts about the sea to fill your ears with. Put on your shorts and let's hop in.

Coastal Stories 

Charlie Connelly, author of the bestselling Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast and this summer's The Channel: The Remarkable Men and Women Who Made It the Most Fascinating Waterway in the World, has been helming the charming Coastal Stories podcast since December. 

It wrapped its first season, comprising 20 episodes, in May, with a new season coming soon. 

In episodes ranging from nine to 18 minutes and with the soothing sound of lapping waves in the background, Connelly captivates with maritime tales from the past decades and centuries. 

It's simple but effective storytelling. He hooks you with intros like that on 'The Magnificent Voyage of Eric Smith': "He cut an unlikely figure for the saviour of mankind. 

Less than 5ft tall and missing an eye, his left leg was several inches shorter than his right..."

Overheard at National Geographic

As you might expect, there's all manner of fascinating nature tales on this podcast from National Geographic, though its first and most recent episodes are what we'll concern ourselves with for Ocean Week. 

The former, 'Humpback Hit Factory', tells of a humpback whale song that's sweeping the South Pacific. 

Its whale song 101, comprising moans, groans, whoops, and phrases that compare to human pop hits, is what such audio documentaries were made for.  

The last episode of Overheard, 'The Canary of the Sea', also focuses on communications among whales, but with a more sombre note as they struggle to stay in touch with their companions due to the noise of shipping in the oceans. 

But the Covid-19 pandemic forced humans to press pause and, says the narrator, whales could finally enjoy some peace and quiet.  

Threshold

A recent Peabody award winner for its season on The Refuge, on the future of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Threshold is investigative journalism at its finest. 

The previous season, Cold Comfort, concerned global warming and the town of Shishmaref, Alaska, where no one's asking if climate change is real. One expert tells, at the end of episode one, of how he was reassigned under the Trump administration "as part of a purge". 

He says it's about hostility to science at the highest level of government. "What happens up there [in Alaskan communities] in the face of climate change is an important bellwether for what's going to happen in the rest of the coastal areas of the United States." 

A worrying note as we stare out to sea. 

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