The Whale Mystery


2009, France
Original language
Running time
sea biology
Directed by
Luc-Henri Fage
Written by
Luc-Henri Fage
Produced by
Gédéon programmes, Centre Terre, France 3, Planète Thalassa
Member page
Gédéon programmes

The island of Madre de Dios is one of the largest of the 5,000 islands in Chilean Patagonia. Lashed by Pacific storms in the howling fifties, the island is uninhabited, uninhabitable and almost unexplored. It is an exceptional and wild environment only made more unusual by the marble glaciers: the limestone sculpted by 8m of precipations a year.

In 2006, a group of scientific cavers discovered the skeleton of a giant whale in the vast entrance of a cave on the shores of the Pacific. The current sea-level is 8 meters lower than the cave... How did the whale get there ? What geologic or climatic mystery could explain its presence? When did it get there? Is its unexpected presence juste a simple accident or did it choose this stone cathedral to come and die thousands of years ago?

In 2008, a new franco-chilean expedition returned in the field led by Richard Maire. Cavers, divers, geographers, geologists, biologists, archaeologists had to explore the most intimate corners of the island to reconstruct the geological and climatic events that had taken place since the melting of the glaciers 12,000 years ago. They also enquired about the Nomads of the Sea, the Alakaluf...