A shot from the documentary THE LONELIEST WHALE: THE Research FOR 52. Courtesy of Bleecker Avenue

A whale, evidently the only just one of its variety, wandering the Pacific and persistently contacting with no answer, is the subject matter of Joshua Zeman’s documentary THE LONELIEST WHALE: THE Search FOR 52, or a lot more specifically, a lookup for the whale no 1 had ever found. That lookup of the seas aboard a ship named Real truth is the framing devise, but director Zeman also examines at the human reaction to the whale’s plight, anthropomorphized reaction reflecting at a time when individuals ended up speaking about social media and loneliness, as nicely as a brief exploration of humankind’s history with whales. Aboard a ship named Real truth It provides up to a mix of sea-likely journey,

In 2004, the New Times posted an post about a whale that struck a chord with many people. “For many a long time, a whale experienced been cruising the Pacific from central California to the Aleutians, calling out with a voice contrary to any other whale’s, and finding no reaction,” Andrew Revkin wrote in his New York Periods posting. The story was primarily based on a scientific exploration article, “Twelve Several years of Monitoring 52-Hz Whale Calls From a Exclusive Source in the North Pacific,” in which Dr. William Watkins and other experts thorough their 12-12 months analyze of the whale as it roamed the Pacific Ocean. The seem was first picked up in 1989 by a naval surveillance seem array, a one of a kind repeating 52 Hertz sound like no other, just earlier mentioned a tuba’s cheapest notice but nicely above the assortment of other whale phone calls. Whales are highly social animals who communicate mainly by means of audio, and this appeared to be a solitary whale, not able to connect with other whales, maybe the initially of its species – or the final.

By the time filmmaker Josh Zeman listened to about the 52 Hertz Whale from scientist Dr. Vint Virga, there ended up memes, poems, paintings, songs, sculptures, even a enjoy about the loneliest whale. Clearly it had tapped into a deep very well of feeling in the era of social media’s bodily isolation and virtual relationship. The heartbreaking story experienced rapidly spread as a result of social media, the unhappy tale of the loneliest whale and his persistent unanswered phone calls resonating with so many.

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Zeman was hooked, and started to speculate, naively, if he could come across the 52 Hertz Whale, known to researchers as Watkin’s Whale or just 52. The documentary THE LONELIEST WHALE: THE Look for FOR 52 follows Zeman’s look for. featuring is a blend of secret tale and large seas adventure, with a wonderful science slant, as the director enlists the enable of a workforce of researchers to uncover 52. When the experts hunt for the 52 Whale, the documentary serves up facts on whale biology, whale music and whale actions, the heritage of underwater seem detection, a musicologist’s seem at whale music, a little bit of meditation on the psycho-social that means of the world broad response to this haunting tale of the lonely whale, and mankind’s lengthy bloody record of whale hunting.

Tracking of the 52 Whale stopped in 2004 with the demise of researcher Monthly bill Watkins, and no 1 knew where by the whale was now. Whales are extended lived but much more than a 10 years had handed, so no a single even understood if the whale was even now alive. Zeman method many researchers about browsing for 52, and obtained the very same reaction: “a needle in a haystack.” Whales may well be huge but the ocean is wide, and acquiring a one whale was an extremely hard undertaking.. Some experts laughed when Zeman advised them what he required to do, and when he stated, “no, I’m critical,” laughed some a lot more. Nonetheless, the plan intrigued some of the researchers, folks who love a excellent puzzle and a challenge.

So Zeman turned the problem the other way. He requested many whale researchers to research their information for the seem of 52 – and receives a strike. The 52 Hertz seem had been recorded just a couple years again and, conveniently, off the coast of California. The hunt was on, and it turned into a quest for Zeman, which he explained as “Ahab-ian,” referencing obsessed captain of “Moby Dick” but without his bloody intent.

The documentary is packed with wonderful underwater images, thrilling footage of the search at rolling sea, and is filled with the infectious enthusiasm of the experts Zeman recruited for the quest.

The search teamed Dr. John Hildebrand, a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who specializes in whale appears, with John Calambokidis, a research biologist and co-founder of Cascadia Investigation Collective in Olympia, Washington, who is an skilled in the area get the job done to determine whales. “In terms of a man or woman who actually gets out in the subject and does perform with substantial whales, he’s the dude, ” Hildebrand reported in the documentary. This scientific whale desire staff and director Zeman embarked on a research for 52, setting up with the past acknowledged location of the California coastline, with Hildebrand’s staff in tracking whales by audio and Calambokidis and his staff chasing them by boat, getting pores and skin samples and tagging them with monitoring devices, so they would know when that unique whale would move by that distinct hydrophone singing.

Obviously, there is a lot of experience in a seagoing quest, for a whale that a lot of have heard but that no 1 has each witnessed. The hunt has the come to feel of journey tale, and the experts are all-in on the quest, heightening the documentary’s strength. There is lots of excitement, beautiful superior seas pictures, whale sightings and near encounters. Quest is full of rigidity and enjoyment but it does not stick to the envisioned route. While there are startling discoveries but does not direct to a straightforward resolution.

Zeman mixes the sea-going look for footage with broad-ranging history components, such as interviews and archival stills and footage. When not on the sea, the documentary provides a host of experts on whales ans whale song. When the Navy crafted its Seem Surveillance Process ( SOSUS ) in the Cold War early 1950s, they were being listening for Russian submarines. “No one particular understood there was whale sound underwater,” Dr David Rothenberg, musician, professor and writer of “Thousand-Mile Track: Whale Tunes in a Sea of Seem.” Although sailors very long were aware of some whale sounds previously mentioned the surface area, no 1 realized the sounds traveled so significantly underwater. When a record of the haunting calls of humpback whales was introduced in 1970, it sparked the “save the whales” motion to end whale searching, and a fascination with whales and their tracks.

THE LONELIEST WHALE: THE Lookup FOR 52 quest for 52 does not end as neatly as one particular could would like but what it does uncover is intriguing and raises new questions, in a coda at the film’s conclusion. This is an pleasurable and effectively-designed documentary with a excellent underwater images and gratifying scientific ocean adventure, and tends to make a good pairing with a further science-based mostly whale documentary FATHOM produced previously this summer time. Admirers of whales, the ocean, or science will delight in the adventure, for this is a whale of an outing.

Score: 3 1/2 out of 4 stars

By Harmony