While searching the reef to locate shipwreck sites for the making of our Bermuda shipwreck series we came across this collection of whale bones gathered amongst the coral.
We felt it provided an interesting contrast to the human structures lost on Bermuda's reef and also one that will potentially be relatively short lived; the organic material degrading and in this dynamic western reef area being eventually swept off the reef.
What was striking was that the collection was perfectly laid out as if on display in a museum hall - all the vertebrae lined up with each other. It tells a completely different story of loss from that of shipwreck but similar in that like a shipwreck the reef community surely salvaged what they could from the carcass and turned it into something else of use.
We have come to identify with these large and charismatic mammals, their grace and self controlled power and see them as ambassadors of our oceans. The bones have an odd visual elegance where they seem to settle almost harmoniously within the reef unlike most of our shipwrecks which were cataclysmic events for both people and the reef they landed on.
It is as if even in death we have something to learn from these creatures about how we should all aim to interact with our environment.
By Philippe Max Rouja PhD
Film made in a partnership between the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, producer and cinematographer Adam Geiger and The Department of Conservation Services.