"Leeward" (Coté Sous le Vent) won the Barandilla de Bronce at, CIMASUB 2020, the 44th International Cycle of Donostia Submarine Film - San Sebastian in Spain. This short video featuring marine life on Mauritius’ western coast is being appreciated by a large public because this is the fifth time now that it is receiving an award at an international film festival.
Mauritius’ leeward side ("Côté Sous le Vent" in French) is its western coast. With prevailing Northeastern winds in summer and Southeastern winds in winter the western coast of the island is the most protected. These waters are now declared as a Mission Blue Hope Spot due to the variety of marine life that inhabits these waters including pods of Long Nose Spinner Dolphins and Sperm Whales.
It took over a hundred dives (that's more than 6.000 minutes under water) to collect only a mere 40 minutes of broadcastable-quality images (that we will use to make future documentaries) of which we selected less than 4 minutes to create this showreel for you. It took another hundred hours of Nitrox mixing (Nitrox = air enriched with oxygen to reduce nitrogen intake in order to minimize the risk of decompression sickness) that allowed us to stay longer at a given depth to maximize our time in the incredible underwater world. We spent hours filming at an average depth of -25 meters (that’s approximately the equivalent of a 7,5 story high building) while keeping a close eye on each other and searching for interesting critters. Hours of observing marine life behaviour in order to anticipate and interact with all these beautiful animals allowed us to get the best images and the most out of our dives. Hours of preparing and assembling our cameras, testing the watertightness of our equipment and charging our video lights, hours of drone flights above the ocean where it is impossible to land in case of a battery failure, hours of research on the Internet and in reference books and hours behind our computers to select and edit the best images, correct the colours and adding sounds to make the footage as veracious as possible; hours well-spent to make this little movie. “Leeward” is the sequel of our award winning “A l’Ombre du Phare”. Samuel Johnson (English writer 1709-1784) wrote once that great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance. The whole project would not have been possible without the help and assistance of my wife, partner and dive buddy, Greet Meulepas. We hope you will enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.