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The North Atlantic is the weather kitchen of Europe. Hurricanes, which rage over the carabien sea and at the west coast of North America, pull over the North Atlantic direction Europe and bring expanded gales with much rain to the continent, accompanied by strong winds. On this ocean, storms are raging with the notorious monster waves who are affecting the navigation, the fishery and the offshore platforms. Year by year hundreds of fishermen and sailors let theyr lives on the sea.

KlappeFor the film the North Atlantic is one of my most important goals. Several crossings with freighters and sailing boats are planned during one year. The coasts of England, Ireland and Newfoundland are further places, where I want to document the untamed strength of the sea and how humans and animals are dealing with it.
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Hurricanes form over the warm water of the Carabien Sea and pull over central America and the west coast of the USA with their destructive power . In weakened form then they pull as gale depth over the North Atlantic.

Gale low «Oedipus», September 2005

Pazific Ocean

The Pacific is the largest water surface of our planet, it covers 35% of the globe. With a wavelength up to 500 meters, anywhere waves are not larger than in the Pacific. They move with a velocity of about 90km/h throug the seas.

The map shows the middle wave height on our planet during ten days in the year of 1992. While at the equator the waves exceed hardly 2 meters, in the North Atlantic (on the top right) and in North Pacific they have a height between 5 and 7 meters, in the Southern Pacific between the South America and Australia they reach up to 9 meters. These are average values, in storms those values are around the double factor.
In the Pacific many tropical storms are developing. The cutout shows three tropical storms in September 2005 over the eastern Pacific west of North America, it moves northwestward. On the satellite photo the strongest of them with the name «Jova» lies east of the Hawaii islands; close its eye winds of 220 km/h are measured.
KlappeFor the film, I would like to cross the Pacific Ocean several times by different ships cross North Pacific to document these extrem weather phenomena.

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Everyone knows the sea surf - waves at the sea surface, which first become higher in flat waters, then they break under development of more or less large din and with foaming water and finally run out at the beach. The physics of these waves are everything but simply and in the detail still not completely enlightened up. However we know the fact that the water molecules presented on the sea surface implement a circular movement and they force the neighbouring molecules to an identical movement - the wave transports thus no water, but only this movement condition and energy. Usualy water waves - like (nearly) all other waves - run apart with the time: The wave combs become lower and at the same time broader.

At certain beaches, like for example Jaws on Maui, waves seem to gather again and pile up themselves to enormous crushers with up to 30 meters height. In Hawaii there are a few beaches, which attract surfers from all world.
Klappe In the film I would like to speak with surfers, what constitutes the fascination of a wave and why it is worth to risk its life for the ride on a monster wave.
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Drehorte Baja California

Cabo san LucasOn the south point of the Mexican peninsula Baja California two large ocean currents meet. From the North Pacific a cold river brings extremely cold water to the west coast of North America, from the south an equatorial river brings warm water. The result is a bubbeling sea with a lot of life under the surface. The area in the lagoon San Ignacio at the south point of Baja are reproduction and raising areas of the grey whales. Every year during wintertime they pull from their summer- and food-locations on the Bering lake, Chukchi lake and western Beaufort lake to the Pacific coast of the Baja California. On this palce they bear their calves and reproduce themselves. In springtime they swim back again along the coast into their northern circulation areas. The length of the approx. 16,000 km comprehensive, annual migration of the california grey whales is unique with mammals.
Klappe In the film I would like to document the reproduction and the birth of the grey whales.
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Grey Whale
Drehorte Galapagos and Cocos Islands

The Galapagos and Cocos Islands lie in the influence of of one the global most weather-determining sea currents. The «Humboldtcurrent» or «Peru stream» is a sea stream, which transports cold oxygen-rich water from the Antarctic at the west coast of South America, along to the north and which is jointly responsible for the weather phenomenon «El Niño». The river swivels somewhere south the equator to the west and moves along the Galapagos Islands. There he changes into the south-equatorial-stream. One consequence is the rich occurrence of nutrients in form of plankton and an enormous fish wealth, from which the animals of the Galapagos islands can profit such as marine igaunas, sea lions or penguins.
Klappe In the film I would like to film flora and fauna with under-water-cameras and how they manage to live with a raging surf.

white dip sharks

enormous fish wealth

hammerhead sharks
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Drehorte Easter Island

The Easter Island and five smaller pre-aged islands lie in the middle of the South Pacific, approximately 4350 kilometers east of Tahiti, 4200 kilometers west of Chile and 3200 kilometers southwest the Galapagos islands. For the first time the western world heard about the island, when it was discovered by the Dutch sailor admiral Jacob Roggeveen on 5. April 1722, the Easter-Sunday. The Easter Island is the only archipelago, which lies on the East Pacific shelf. This has the consequence that the characteristic coastal seam of many pacific islands is missing. The coast drops directly steeply into a sea depth of 3,000 meters. On the islands a steady and strong southeast trade wind is blowing, which are driving a strong surf against the lava cliffs. The islands lie in the middle of the cold «Humboldtcurrent» with its oxygen-rich water. The consequence is a tremendous diversity of species under water.
KlappeFor the film would like I unite months on the island to spend, in order the storms without brakes and the life in the water, among other things Pottwale, take up to be able.
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The Pottwhale is the largest one under the tooth whales; a bull can reach up to 18 meters long and weigh 50 tones. It is one of the best divers under the sea mammals: with dipping courses over one hour it can reach depths up to 1200 meters. There it looks for its main booty: to the giant Kalmar who's over 10 meter long.
Drehorte Tahiti / Teahupoo

The 1980 discovered wave of Teahupoo is the one surf wave of the 21. century. Driven by a strong heave from the west and starting from a wave height of three meters the whole power of the ocean concentrates in the wave comb, which swells in unique fast and steeply way, absorbing the whole water before itself like a monstreous vacuum cleaner to finaly smash its exploding energy to the hardly with water covered corral reef. At Teahupoo, surfers droppe into what is widely considered to be the most dangerous wave ever to ride.
Klappe For the film many filming days at the spot are planed, to take pictures of some of the best surfers in the world.
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Drehorte Cape Hoorn

The cape of the fright - another word for hell. More than 800 ships sank around Americas south point, thousands of sailors drowned in the icy, huge waves. Which the Mount Everest for the mountain climber is, cape Hoorn is for the sailor! To this short term the relationship of the sailors to this stormy and angerous cape can be represented. Today a Cape Hoorn orbiting still belongs to the most fastidious and most difficult passages of the navigation.
Cape Hoorn, the south point of the American continent, is the stormiest cape of the earth. Nevertheless since the 19th Century thousands of freighters have sailed around this notorious cape. Many ships failed thereby, stranded on rocky reef, lost their sails in exploding west storms or collided with icebergs. Despite his frights European and American shipowners estimated the route around cape Hoorn to Chile, Peru and to the west coast of North America as a lucrative trade route. Their fighters brought bulk, emigrant and coal approximately around the cape to Hoorn. With bulk material, guano, salpetre, grain, ore and wood, they began the home journey. Above all, the salpetre business accelerated the building of sailing boats around the turn of the century again, until 1914 the Panama channel was finished.
The cape was orbited for the first time by an expedition of the Netherlands sailors Willem Cornelisz Schouten and Jakob Le Maire on 29 January 1616. They had looked for a new passage to the Pacific, since Dutch ships were allowed to use the Magellan route only, if they belonged to the Netherlands east India company (the ships of Schoutens and Le Maires belonged to the competitive Netherlands Australian company). The cape was designated after Schoutens place of birth, the city Hoorn lain in north Holland.

Klappe For the film several passages are planned around the cape.
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Cape Hoorn marks the south point of South America and is border between the Atlantic and Pacific ocean.

Ships in stormy seas fascinated artists and romantics since ever.
Drehorte Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands (Falkland Iceland, splinter. Islas Malvinas = Malwinen) are a group with approximately 200 islands in the southern Atlantic. They belong geographically to South America and are appropriate for 600-800 km east of south Argentina and/or Tierra del Fuego with 52° south and 59° west. They are British overseas territories, however they are stressed by Argentina since 1833. The climate is coldly, windy and with heavy rainfalls. The annual average temperature is only 5°C. Accordingly the sea surrounding the islinds is very stromy. They accommodate 63 domestic kind of birds, among them Albatross, Versicolorducks, vulture falcons and the endemic Falklandpieper. At the coasts enormous penguin colonies which cover several millions individualsbreed. In addition at the coasts are big colonies of sea-lions and sea-elephants.
My special attention applies for the Albatross. They are a group from large to very large sea-birds with very long and narrow wings. The bill is strong and pointed. Albatrosses can reach and exceed wingspans of over 340 cm and thereby they beat every other living kind of bird. Albatrosses are admited for very good fliers and they apparently play by fun with the wind, however they habe large problems with takeoff and landing. Only after a long takeoff run, which is very unusual for birds, the animal takes off, and due to to high speed, for landing the birds can fall head over heels. Albatrosses move enormous distances for months over the sea, whereby they avail themselves of the energy-saving dynamic glider flight. They can float therefore closely for hours over the waves, without having to strike with the wings. They are able to fly up to 950 in a day.
Klappe For the film several stays on the islands are planned, in order to document the life of the animals in this rough climate.
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Drehorte South Georgia and South Pacific

Sturm South Georgia
2000 km east of Cape Hoorn from the infinite, storm-whipped south and powerfull Pacific, with glaciers covered mountains are ascending. South Georgia is about 170 km long and up to 40 km broad, its highest mountain Mt. Paget has an altitude of 2934 meters. More than half of the island is covered by powerful glaciers. It is the highest and second largest island of the Antarctic. James Cook discovered this island 1775 on its second world orbiting.
South Georgia is considered as one of the most important breeding areas of the king penguin. It is estimated that about 100,000 animals of this kind live here. Further South Georgia represents an important habitat for sea-elephants and sea-lions. During the rutting seasn up to 350.000 sea-elephants meet at the coasts of the island.

South Georgia has no native population, but nevertheless the south Atlantic island isn't completely uninhabited, because a few coworker of the "British Antarctic Survey" permanently live here - a national research program, which maintains two constant camps on Bird Island and in Grytviken for Meteoroligists, Botanics, Zoologists, Geophysitians, Oceanologists and many other scientists for over 25 years.

Here also Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton lies buried. He was a British polar researcher of Irish descent, which became famous particularly by the 1914 to 1916 accomplished Antarctic expedition. The expedition failed, when its expedition ship, the famous «Endurance» was crushed in the pack ice; owing to Shackletons achievement however he succeeded to save all men of this expedition. Shackleton ranks until today among the most important researchers and discoverers of the heroic age of the polar research.

For the film Klappe two passages on an expedition ship are intended departing from Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the earth, following to South Georgia, where I would like to film king penguins in the strong surf. A possible route leads first into the Antarctic Sea to the Paradise Bay, then across Elephant Island and the South Orkney Island after South Georgia. The way back leads north the Drake passage by the stormiest ocean of the earth, 2000 kilometers by gales and twelve-meter waves, accompanied by storm birds and Albatrosses.
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Drehorte Cap of good hope and Tsitsikamma

Cap of good hopeThe cape of good hope, a high steep cliff with pre-aged rock beach, lies like Cape Point at the south end of the cape peninsula in the proximity of cape city in South Africa (province west cape). It is the southwesternmost, not the southernmost point of Africa (that is the cape Agulhas), and it's the one, where the coast of Africa swivels to the east and which indicates the passage into the Indian ocean.

Waters around the cape region are rich on fish. Among other things here lives the large white shark. Dyer Island is one of the world-wide best observation places for the great white shark.

Since ever sharks have the image of human-devoring monsters and therefore they are hunted merciless, so that they are acutely threatened in their existence. It is uncertain if the world-wide populations of the large white will ever recover. In an unparalleled rush the white shark was hunted so dramatically, that today some scientists have the opinion, it already became extinct biologically. Hai

Sharks are surely wild animals and of corse a white shark can be dangerous to humans, but they are no cannibals or killing machines. The ruler of the sea survived the last 400 million years. Humans almost exterminated it in few decades. The large white shark will survive only if it is global protected.

Klappe For the film I would like to spend a winter in Tsitsikamma and with Dyer Island, in order to film storms and sharks.
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The Tsitsikamma national park lies directly on the Southern Indian Ocean. Between the coast of South Africa and the Antarctic there is nothing except water. Thus the storms sweep over these coasts in the southern winter without any brakes .
Drehorte Kerguels and the Antarctic Icesea

Down there it gets realy violent! Down there, that is the Southern Ocean, the Antarctic Ocean with the «Roaring Fourties» and the «Screaming Fifties», the famous-notorious west wind belt with its huge waves and pityless hoists. 6000 nautical miles separate South Africa from Australia.

The large, but uninhabited islandgroup of the Kerguels belongs to the remote and jagged places of the world. In addition, to the most beautiful. A nonstop wind, which can reach gale or hurricane strength within shortest time, blows over the archipel. Where ever a strong wind blows over the ocean, there are huge waves.

Kerguelen Pinguine

Klappe For the film a passage with a sailing boat is planned from South Africa to Australia. I would like to visit the Kerguels with a supply ship, in order to document the flora, fauna and the stormy polar sea for some months .
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Drehorte Tasmansea

Tasmania is the largest island of Australia. The bass road, which separates the island from the Australian mainland, is flaked by King Iceland in the northwest and the point of Flinders Iceland in the northeast. Southeast Australia pre-aged island Tasmania is appropriate for geographical length thus in the middle between 40° - 44° (south) geographical width and 144° - 149° (east), in the notorious west wind belt of the Antarctic. The tasmanic climate is oceanic. The winters thereby fail relatively mild. On the other hand the island is one of the few land masses in the range of the «Thundering Forties» (Roaring Forties). Therefore the climate is usually windy to stormy, rainy and inconsistant.
A cargo ship fights itself by the bubbling sea of Tasmania. These waves have a height of 15 meters.

During a storm, huge waves, pushed by a gale-like wind, smash against the coasts of Tasmania.

Klappe For the film stays at the South Australian coast and in Tasmania are planned, on the constant search for strong storms and monster waves.

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Drehorte Northwest-Pacific

This part of the Pacific is limited in the west by Japan and China. In the Pacific most Tsunamis (wavelengths of 10-100 km) develop. The Japanese expression «tsu nami» originally meant «long wave in the port». In the meantime it generally stands for solitonic waves (waves, which do not run apart). After their many thousand kilometers long way with 600-900 km/h over the ocean at the coast they get a hight up to 30 meters. Particularly on strong populated and ports they are able to damage everything in a catastrophic way. Although this phenomenon arises not only at the Japanese coast, but everywhere - mostly around the Pacific - the Japanese term «Tsunami» was adapted internationally.
In the picture the devastating Tsunami from 26th December 2004 with over 220'000 dead human beeings.

Klappe In the film I would like to show, how humans in Japan protect themselves against the danger, how they deal with disasters.
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In the Pacific there is a comprehensive early warning system for Tsunamis. After the devastating Tsunami in December 2004 in the Indian ocean a similar system is to be developed there.
© 2005 Pat Rohner