humpback whale by Jeannine Levie Sailing in the Whales Wake.Join us for a pre-release screening of the documentary film “Sailing in the Whale’s Wake” by Jeannine and Jean Pierre Levie.  The film documents their yacht journey in the wake of Humpback Whales as the whales move from their places of birth to their feeding grounds.

When: Tuesday 6 March 18:30 for 19:00.

Where: The Glen Lodge Glencairn (used to be the Southern Right Hotel)

Donation of R15 to cover costs and gift to the film makers.

RSVP – to Kim at 076 454 8467 or email Kim here 

Please arrive on time so that we can start the film at 19:00 and so that you have time to buy yourself something to drink or eat should you wish to.

Background to “Sailing in the Whale’s Wake”

How many of us dream of pulling up the anchors and loosening the ties of conventional life in our Cities?  Jane and Jean Pierre Levie of the yacht Isatis currently anchored in Simon’s Town did just that many years ago.  They stowed that part of their conventional lives that had relevance for life on board a yacht and set off with their 3 children to experience the Southern Seas for themselves.  Listening to their enthusiasm for the marine life and landscapes of the remaining remote and silent places left on our Blue Planet, it seems that few places can hold them indefinitely.  Originally from Belgium, they are now French New Caledonians.  New Caledonia is, if you don’t know, as I did not, a French territory in the South Pacific north of New Zealand and east of Australia.  It is here, while involved in yacht chartering, that their love of Humpback Whales was kindled.  

Each year from July to September they watched the Humpback Whales arrive to give birth or to mate.  Their wonder about the lives of the Humpbacks and Jean Yacht Isatis Lemaire by Jeannine Levie gPierre’s knowledge of film and photography sent them on a journey of a lifetime – to follow and film the Humpback Whales from their summer feeding grounds in the Antarctic to their winter breeding grounds in New Caledonia.  Scientists advising them in the early days of their filming told them that the New Caledonian Humpbacks are a fairly insular but healthy population of about 400 individuals which make the journey from the Antarctic each year.

Jane and Jean Pierre dreamed of following the migration of `their ‘ whales down south, but the harsh reality of sailing the turbulent seas south of Australia in a 15m yacht far from protective shores would be too risky.  After two seasons of filming the whales in New Caledonia, they sailed across the furious fifties to Ushaia at the southern tip of Chili and then through the Drake Passage to the summer feeding grounds of the Humpbacks off the Antarctic Peninsula.  The krill arrived late that year and getting footage of classical Humpback feeding only came at the very end of their stay.  While waiting for the whales they were captivated by the survival tactics of seals and penguins set against dramatic ice landscapes. 

Jeannine & Jean Pierre Levie producers of Sailing in the Whale's Wake.Jean Pierre’s father was a film producer and as a student he helped out in the family business, but then left to pursue other interests. His sister who carried on with the family business is helping them to present and market their film to worldwide television networks.  Jean Pierre is fully aware that his and Jane’s film is different to the highly professional wildlife documentaries filmed at huge cost with state of the art technology.  Theirs is a personal story of a challenging journey following the whales across vast oceans to film the cycle of life of the Humpbacks.  They joked at how the quality of footage of their first dive with the whales was not good because they were `stressed’ by the whale’s familiarity. Instead of swimming away from the divers the whales came in close, expressing unexpected interest in them.

The Glen Lodge, Glencairn g 300

The first screening of the English version of their film was hosted at the Simon’s Town Yacht Club a few weeks ago.  Beatie Nelson who watched the film was enthralled.  “Jane and Jean Pierre’s love for the Humpback Whales stands out and coupled with the story of their journey gives viewers something really special to think about.”

Thank you Jeannine and Jean Pierre for screening your film for local whale enthusiasts.

 KimK

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Thank you to Terry of AfriOcean Conservation Alliance for the screening technology & support and to Grete of The Glen Lodge for the use of your venue.

Related article:

http://scenicsouth.co.za//2012/03/sa-agulhas-home-from-final-voyage-to-antarctica-march-2012/