Sunday Night Blue Whale story


Sunday Night is Australian Network Channel 7’s primetime current affairs program. Airing each week at 6.30pm on (you guessed it) Sunday night the show tackles a diverse range of content including investigative reports, celebrity interviews and more.

In March 2011 Scubazoo were contracted by Sunday Night to handle location management and underwater filming for Blue Heaven a story on Blue Whales in Sri Lanka. The eight day shoot was split over two locations, Trincomalee in the North-East of Sri Lanka and Mirissa, a popular whale watching location in the South-West.

The first part of the shoot was in Trincomalee and for four days the crew enjoyed almost perfect conditions with flat calm water and whale sightings every day. It was easy to see why it’s referred to as Sri Lanka’s ‘Garden of Eden’. Underwater things were not quite as perfect due to a thick layer of green water  in the first two metres of the water column. With the visibility in that layer as low as 2m in places there was very little opportunity to get underwater footage of the blue whales so Scubazoo underwater cameraman Roger Munns spent time shooting underwater footage at the nearby pigeon island. The last day in Trincomalee saw conditions clearing up and an unexpected influx of sperm whales. These smaller (relative to the blues) ocean giants were quite friendly and easy to approach.

Moving on down to Galle, for the final few days, the crew embarked a 16 berth liveaboard vessel which was to be the base of operations for the Mirissa leg of the shoot. With a high fly deck to spot the whales from, this boat proved invaluable and with two tenders in the water communicating via radio to the spotters the topside and underwater film crew were able to quickly manouvre into the best positions to get great footage. A friendly pair of blue whales allowed Roger to get close enough for a couple of great shots. Big thanks to Daniel Fernando, Chitral Jayitalke, Asha de Vos, Alex Bryant and Wade Campbell for helping to make everything happen.

Sunday Night producer Dale Paget had this to say:

‘I want to pass on our appreciation for Scubazoo’s help on our project about the incredible blue whales of Sri Lanka. We could not have made Blue Heaven without your guidance and expertise. Roger Munns’ underwater video, showing the full size and majesty of these giants, was a highlight of our program. Thank you and we look forward to working with you on future adventures in the wild.’

The show was broadcast on Australian Network 7, Sunday 10th April at 1830pm AEST.

For more information on filming blue whales in Sri Lanka or to license stock footage and photos of blue whales please contact us.

Take a peak at some of Scubazoo’s HD footage and photos of blue whales.

Watch Blue Heaven