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Natural World

  • Season 37
  • Nature
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Episode 7: Humpback Whales: A Detective Story

Summary

In September 2015 in Monterey Bay California, a 30-ton humpback whale breached and landed on Tom Mustill and a friend as they paddled a sea kayak. Both survived the incident though the near-death experience left documentary-maker Tom wondering if the whale was deliberately trying to hurt them. Here, Tom returns to California to investigate that possibility, meeting others who have survived similar encounters and the experts who know the whales best. What Tom discovers raises far bigger questions, not just about what happened that day but also about man's relationship with whales.

Review

In 2015, Tom Mustill and his friend were paddling a sea kayak around Monterey Bay, California, alongside several others and three boats packed with whale watchers. Suddenly a 30-ton humpback whale breached the surface and landed right on top of their kayak. They were lucky to survive.

Someone had videoed the dramatic collision and Tom became obsessed with what happened. So, in order to discover whether the whale had deliberately attacked them, he talks to other whale obsessives – some of whom have had similarly frightening experiences. In fact, he hears extraordinary stories of humpbacks protecting a human diver from a shark and rescuing a calf from attacking killer whales, which makes him question whether humpbacks, far from being aggressive, are capable of empathising with other creatures.

He also discovers that humpbacks have markings as individual as a fingerprint, which means he might be able to identify his “prime suspect” and learn more about its life.

How to watch

Next showing

There are no live broadcasts scheduled for this show.

Details

Formats
Colour

Credits

Crew

rolename
DirectorTom Mustill
EditorSabrina Burnard
ProducerCherry Dorrett
Series producerHolly Spearing

All episodes

  • Episode 7

    Humpback Whales: A Detective Story

    Summary

    In September 2015 in Monterey Bay California, a 30-ton humpback whale breached and landed on Tom Mustill and a friend as they paddled a sea kayak. Both survived the incident though the near-death experience left documentary-maker Tom wondering if the whale was deliberately trying to hurt them. Here, Tom returns to California to investigate that possibility, meeting others who have survived similar encounters and the experts who know the whales best. What Tom discovers raises far bigger questions, not just about what happened that day but also about man's relationship with whales.

    Review

    In 2015, Tom Mustill and his friend were paddling a sea kayak around Monterey Bay, California, alongside several others and three boats packed with whale watchers. Suddenly a 30-ton humpback whale breached the surface and landed right on top of their kayak. They were lucky to survive.

    Someone had videoed the dramatic collision and Tom became obsessed with what happened. So, in order to discover whether the whale had deliberately attacked them, he talks to other whale obsessives – some of whom have had similarly frightening experiences. In fact, he hears extraordinary stories of humpbacks protecting a human diver from a shark and rescuing a calf from attacking killer whales, which makes him question whether humpbacks, far from being aggressive, are capable of empathising with other creatures.

    He also discovers that humpbacks have markings as individual as a fingerprint, which means he might be able to identify his “prime suspect” and learn more about its life.

    How to watch

    Next showing

    There are no live broadcasts scheduled for this show.

    Details

    Formats
    Colour

    Credits

    Crew

    rolename
    DirectorTom Mustill
    EditorSabrina Burnard
    ProducerCherry Dorrett
    Series producerHolly Spearing

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