Photos: Whales Breach During Ocean Vet Outing

One of Bernews photographers had the opportunity to tag along with the Ocean Vet team of Dr. Neil Burnie and Choy Aming, getting the chance to see a variety of ocean life in action as the cameras rolled for the production of the 12-part television series.


The team has been leaving Flatts inlet on a 30 foot custom Predator catamaran with seven people on board, with up to two support boats accompanying the team at all times.


The film crew has made more than 10 trips out to Challenger Banks to film the humpback whales in their natural environment as they migrate past Bermuda; the footage acquired during these trips will be used to complete various episodes in the upcoming 12-part Ocean Vet television series, based entirely in Bermuda’s waters.


This past Saturday [Apr 12] saw the team come upon a young calf, its mother, and an escort, and the film crew was able to capture aerial footage of the three swimming together.

Andrew Marshall, a local fisherman, had seen the three while heading into shore and had called the Ocean Vet team to let them know, giving them the heads up that they needed to catch the whales in action.


On Sunday [Apr 13], the winds picked up and initially the team thought they might have to call filming off, but suddenly a whole pod of whales appeared right next to the boats, with at least five whales putting on a huge display of breaching and bumping in what Dr. Burnie referred to as a “bull run.”


Filming for the Ocean Vet series is taking place on from March 21 to April 20, 2014 and again from June 7 to September 30, 2014. The series has been pre-sold to Cineflix Rights, a division of Cineflix Media Inc. and a leading, independent UK television content distributor to be broadcast worldwide in 2015.


Speaking previously, Series Producer and Director Andrew Smith said, ““Dr. Burnie will be transferring his veterinary skills to help 11 threatened marine species in Bermuda and, alongside a specialist team, he will gather data in a bid to ensure their future.

“The breathtaking and thrilling series delves into a stunning underwater world teeming with life, bringing the viewer closer than ever to sharks, whales, lion fish, grouper, turtles and more.”


Mr. Smith added, “Neil’s enthusiasm is truly infectious and his ‘hands-on’ invasive conservational approach to some of the most incredible and dangerous marine animals makes for captivating viewing.

“We thank the Bermudian organisations and individuals who have financially backed this project thus showing their commitment to Bermuda and showcasing the beauty the island has to offer.”



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