2009 05 12 The end of the season and a special thank you... Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

This is our third and final year filming for the Humpback Whale Film Project and it's the last time we'll be filming humpback whales underwater. The first year of the project I saw whales about once in every three outings. In 2009 we managed to spend some 22 days on the water in Bermuda from January to the first week of May and we observed whales on every outing except the last. We now have plenty of underwater and above water footage of humpback whales. Over these three years we also obtained 300+ individual fluke ids, with some 200 of these from this season alone. This is more than double the total whale fluke ids from Bermdua from 1968 to 2006. We also obtained some hours of exquisite whale song. Because Bermuda is unique in providing a window into the social lives of humpback whales during their mid-ocean crossings we have learned much about their migratory social behaviour.  All of this information is available for anyone to see on this website.

None of this would have happened without the support of a lot of people, both financially and in time and effort. There are a handful that deserve special mention. These are friends who have become whale lovers and whale lovers who have become friends.

I'd like to thank Michael Smith profusely for the incredible effort it takes to have his trawler Sea Slipper ready to take us out to Challenger. Not only does he have the boat fuelled and ready to go, he often picks us up at a dock and drops off us, and then heads home to clean up Sea Slipper. And if that weren't enough, he makes wicked sandwiches, has an exclusive wine cellar, which gets tapped into regularly, and he takes really good photos of whale flukes. The one thing I worry about more than anything when I get into the water fifteen miles offshore with whales, sharks and Portuguese Man o' Wars is- the boat. When I'm out with Michael (and the other boat captains) I feel very confident that I'm in safe, competent hands. To have someone like Michael phone up and ask me to go looking for whales on a very comfortable boat is... fantastic. Hit it Mike!

Behind every great man is a great woman. In my case, there are several.

My wife Annabel is tolerant beyond belief and encourages me to go out whaling as often as I can, even if it means leaving two munchkins at home with her all day (and evening). The thought of little Somers and Elsa waiting for me at home keeps me safe- I don't take risks. 

Camilla Stringer is the great woman behind sorting out all the whale flukes and providing the pernickety backstopping required when cataloguing all these flukes, taking 'daily data sheet notes' and generally getting stuck in whenever it's needed. She never says no and has usually figured it out before you have to ask. She also makes a delicious cup of tea and has an endless supply of chocolate for each time we spot a whale.

Another great woman behind the scenes is our resident webmistress Carol Dixon who has helped to keep www.whalesbermuda.com in order, bails me out whenever I screw it up badly, and quietly tidies things when I'm not looking. The fact that we are coming up for 100,000 hits in just over a year is a tribute to her spider-like web-making abilities. She keeps volunteering to come out on the boat despite being seasick, which she does quietly in a bucket and then gets on with the job again.

Fun as all of this is, it just wouldn't be possible without donors. Deserving of special mention are the Bank of Bermuda Foundation, Mrs. Deborah Butterfield and family, and Bob Steinhoff and family for their financial support through each year of this project.

There are many more who have helped along the way and their names are listed on the sponsors/contributors page which you can access by clicking the link under the Bank of Bermuda Foundation logo on the home page.

We still need to raise the remaining funds to complete this project. Potential donors can contact us through This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call me on my cell phone 777-7688.