There are some experiences in life so astounding and unique that they are just impossible to capture accurately in words or images. Explaining the undersea world to my surface dwelling acquaintances is difficult enough, but this was something different, a highlight in over 28 years of diving and incredible marine animal interactions!
In 2011 cetacean scientists started observing groups of humpback whales gathering in huge numbers off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, to feed far from their summer feeding grounds in the Antarctic. These feeding aggregations, dubbed “Supergroups”, consist of up to 200 individual whales in tightly packed groups feeding on krill. Around this same time I was lucky enough to shoot the first aerial images of this phenomenon and subsequently both Steve Benjamin and I were invited by Claudio Velasquez Rojas to join him as part of the Homebrew Films crew over several trips in 2016/2017 to document the behaviour from both above and below the surface.
This short video, the second instalment in my “Between Worlds” series, produced in collaboration with the super talented Taun Healy from Blue Owl Media, is an attempt to portray the reality that Steve, Claudio & I experienced. To best enjoy the footage make sure the sound is on, the screen is set to full size and quality is on HD…
Please note that all whale species are protected in South African waters and may not be approached closer than 300m without a permit. All footage was obtained under a filming permit from DAFF/DEA.
(Video 1 of 2) Between Worlds – Walker Bay, Hermanus
The first instalment in the new “Between Worlds” series, shot in Walker Bay, Hermanus some 150km east of Cape Town, on an expedition to document the mating behaviour of the southern right whales at their winter breeding grounds.
An added bonus was the presence of more than a few great white sharks and large baitfish shoals, necessitating the use of the drone as an observation platform for safety purposes as well as documenting wildlife behaviour.
All whales are protected by law in South Africa and this footage was obtained under permit from the Department of Environmental Affairs.