ASSOCIATION: The told story of humpback whales


For the third edition of the Whale Festival, scaled back due to lack of subsidies, the Métimer association organized the screening of a sumptuous film at the Théâtre de la Chapelle on February 25.

Despite the absence of the Whale Village where the information and entertainment stands were set up in the heart of Orient Bay, Béatrice Wojcik, president of the Sea Trades association, wanted to mark the occasion by this start of the humpback whale season in the waters of Saint-Martin: “We wanted to do something… due to lack of budget, we chose to show a short film on the history of the whale”. Small film but big moment. Entitled “The Guardians of the Planet”, the French documentary film directed by Jean-Albert Lièvre was released in February 2023, inspired by the poem Whale Nation by Heathcote Williams. For 82 minutes, this immersive and poetic documentary carried by the voice of Jean Dujardin seduced audiences of all generations, charmed by the song of the whales present on our planet for more than 50 million years. It took five years of work and a lot of patience for the director of the show Ushuaïa to produce these spectacular images filmed during the health crisis off the coast of Mexico and Greenland. The film opens with a shot showing a humpback whale stranded on a beach. While a young boy discovers the marine mammal in distress, a rescue mission is organized, interspersed with the extraordinary story of these cetaceans which dominate the ocean while respecting the ecosystem... unlike humans. Capable of storing up to 33 tonnes of carbon dioxide, whales play an essential role in the preservation of our planet and the good health of phytoplankton, the main source of oxygen. The documentary virtuously traces the history of whales: first recorded song, reproduction, food, behavior, adaptation, biology, threats, everything is told in a captivating narration. Around the projection, two interventions including Amandine, head of the Saint-Martin branch of 'My school My whale' whose mission is to raise awareness among young people and the general public about marine mammals and environmental protection. The period for observing humpback whales, a single hump on the top of the dorsal fin, in Saint-Martin is from January to June (peak of the season: March/April). They leave cold waters to return to warm waters where they were born in order to reproduce. Manu, from Wind Adventures and an approved whale watcher, recalled the observation techniques conducive to the tranquility of marine mammals of which it is forbidden to approach less than 300m: “This distance is more than sufficient to observe the whales, we do not 'let's approach 100m than 20min according to the regulations of the AGOA sanctuary'. With this respectful practice (catamaran, zero noise pollution, no swimming), 60 sightings of humpback whales were recorded last year for 180 whales on the Anguilla Bank. _VX



Whale Festival: drawing competition results

Like every year, the Whale Festival organized by Métimer offers a drawing competition, the three winners of which win a sea trip with a companion to observe humpback whales in the presence of an approved whale watcher. Many children participated in this new edition, a difficult choice for the jury given the magnificent drawings in the running. The winner, Armand, will see his work illustrate the poster for the fourth Whale Festival in 2025.

First price : Armand, 6 years old with his drawing entitled “Whale jumping into the setting sun”

Second prize: Kewen, 8 years old

Third Prize: Liam, 5 years old

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