Indian Ocean With Simon Reeve

8:00pm Sunday 3 June on BBC TWO

The last leg of Simon’s journey begins on the northern tip of Sumatra, near the epicentre of the 2004 Tsunami. Since that terrible event the province of Aceh has undergone great changes.

Now ruled by an Islamist local government, a form of Sharia law is in force. Public canings are now commonplace and Simon joins the local Vice and Virtue Squad who patrol the streets and beaches to eradicate immoral behaviour.

In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta Simon investigates the shocking trade in exotic pets and encounters the group attempting to save one of the country’s most bizarre species, the slow loris.

Australia is the last of the 16 countries of this Indian Ocean journey, and site of one of the world’s greatest and most unspoilt wildernesses, the Kimberley. On a Barramundi fish farm Simon meets a real life crocodile hunter, who captures giant saltwater crocodiles which pose a danger to humans and transports them to a nature reserve.

He goes fishing with the aboriginal people who are campaigning to stop the construction of a giant gas plant, before heading south. The journey ends at Cape Leeuwin at the south west tip of Australia, where Simon draws conclusions from his extraordinary journey and asks what we can do to preserve the extraordinary diversity of our oceans from the encroachment of mankind.

Ep 6/6

8:00pm Sunday 27 May on BBC TWO

Simon visits the island of Sri Lanka, for centuries a target for invaders and colonisers. In the north of the island he visits the scene of vicious battles between fighters from the Tamil minority and the Sri Lankan army, which the population is still recovering from.

But there is an opportunity to rebuild a shattered land. Heading north from Sri Lanka, Simon investigates one of the Indian Ocean’s fastest growing industries – providing prawns for the West.

Off the coast of India Simon travels on a prawn trawler, one of thousands which drag their nets along the Indian Ocean floor, causing untold damage. Further north in Bangladesh huge prawn farms flood the fertile land with salt water, destroying the soil for years – all to provide cheap prawns in our supermarkets.

This leg ends with one of the most spectacular sights of the whole Indian Ocean: the ship-breaking beaches of Chittagong. Here, dozens of tankers and container ships are beached before being broken up for scrap by vast armies of low paid Bangladeshi workers, living in terrible conditions.

Ep 5/6

8:00pm Sunday 29 April on BBC TWO

The second leg of Simon Reeve’s epic Indian Ocean journey takes him to some of the most exotic tropical locations on earth.

Simon goes spear fishing off the coast of Madagascar with the Vezo people, whose livelihood is under threat from its own rapid population growth. There he meets a British conservation group which has taken the radical step of educating the locals about birth control.

The poverty of Madagascar is in stark contrast with the wealth of tourist paradise Mauritius. Although a group Chagos islanders – expelled from their homes by the British Government when the island of Diego Garcia was leased to the US for a military base – tell a different story.

On the last stop of this leg Simon arrives in the Seychelles. He meets an Englishman who has turned his private island into the world’s smallest national park, populated largely by giant tortoises who start their life in his bedroom.

Finally he joins Dutch special forces, training to board pirate ships on the high seas.

Confirmed for Sunday 29 April on BBC One at 8.00-9.00pm

Ep 2/6

8:00pm Sunday 22 April on BBC TWO

In his greatest adventure yet Simon Reeve travels the Indian Ocean, uncovering stories from some of the world’s most remote, dangerous and beautiful locations.

He starts his journey on the rugged tip of South Africa, joining conservationists struggling to save the little-known and highly endangered African Penguin.

Further up the coast he meets the South African authorities using high speed boats to hunt down poachers targeting a sea creature called Abalone, a delicacy for which Chinese gourmets will pay big money. This illegal trade is dominated by drug-dealing gangsters, whom Simon encounters in a poverty-stricken township in Cape Town.

But it is the Indian Ocean’s greatest predator that dominates this leg of the journey. In his first ocean dive, Simon swims with huge and fearsome-looking ragged tooth sharks. Following a ride on a container ship travelling to the glorious coast of Mozambique, he accompanies local fisherman as they land a huge bull shark in their tiny boat, which is later butchered on the beach for its fins. It is part of a global tragedy that is seeing millions of sharks killed each year.

Finally, Simon makes an emotional journey to the tropical island of Zanzibar, steeped in the long history of the slave trade.

Confirmed for Sunday 22 April on BBC Two at 8.00-9.00pm

Ep 1/6

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