Vanya (17) freedives with sharks and seals in Norway, filmed by her father, Runar (51). She describes freediving as the most natural thing in the world. A montage from holiday beaches, SPA hotels, water-world shows and shoreline real-estates remind us how fascinated we are with water and the ocean. Growing up, Vanya often joined her father on underwater film-shoots. Her father admits that bringing the kids on expeditions can be both rewarding and worrysome. He still feels guilt from when Vanya as a fourteen year-old saw no hope for our future, confirmed in scenes shot at that time. Examples and facts show gloomy results. Runar: How do you talk to your children about this? How do we at all relate to the fact that the future looks bleak?
A few years back they fulfilled Vanya’s childhood dream of swimming with wild dolphins, and came upon new science pointing in the direction that we evolved into humans when our ancestors began eating seafood and became shallow water divers. Vanya’s hope returns because she now believes that if we understand that the ocean is our mother, everyone will start to take better care of her. Runar is sceptical, but keeps it to himself, and is willing to go through fire and water to make sure Vanya keeps her newly found hope.
They seek out the world’s leading scientists currently researching “The Waterside Ape Hypothesis”, finding fascinating evidence in our genes and physiology, archaelology, bio-chemistry, and in striking similarities between us and marine mammals. Most of the differences between us and land-based primates are similarities we share with sea mammals. Vanya is delighted at the thought of our textbooks being rewritten. But along the way they also make horrible discoveries; Enormous areas with dead coral reefs, animals suffering from plastic contamination and blood-stenched fish markets with large cadavers as far as the eye can see. Runar wants to shield his daughter from these experiences, and tension grows when Vanya senses this.
The underwater photographer, Capkin (50), who’s helped them film along the way, comes to the rescue by bringing them to successful marine conservation projects. Vanya ends up with more faith in the future than ever before, and even Runar gets some hope now that they have seen opportunities and possibilities as long as we recognize our ancient ties to the sea and take action.