Film ID:
NEFA 20890



Visitor Tabs


The first of two amateur films made by Guy Nettleship of his first voyage to sea as apprentice engineer aboard the factory whaling ship SS Southern Venturer. The film begins with the arrival of the Southern Venturer at South Shields for repairs and resupply. The film then shows both professional and leisure activities taking place onboard ship as it travels south towards the whaling grounds in the South Atlantic via the Norwegian coast, the Bay of Biscay and the tropics. Once at the whaling grounds the film features a number of whales being flensed [removal of the blubber] onboard the Southern Venturer as well as views of several catcher ships bringing in their kills.

The film opens on a general view of a beach, probably at South Shields.  The film cuts to a view looking out into the North Sea near to Groyne Pier at South Shields and shows smoke from a steam ship in the distance approaching the River Tyne. There is a general view from the pier at South Shields showing a small fishing boat moored alongside. A pilot boat comes down the Tyne and moors alongside the pier. A red and white flag flies from the mast as a number of men stand on its deck. Through a succession of quick shots the factory whaling ship SS Southern Venturer enters the River Tyne and is escorted to dry dock by four tug boats.

The film cuts to show the Southern Venturer in dry dock beside a large dock crane. The camera pans right to left to show the door at the stern of the ship is open. The film cuts into the dry dock itself where a man uses a roller on a long stick to paint a section of the hull near to one of the two propellers. There is a general view showing the full length of the bow of the ship; two large chains hang down from each side.  

The Southern Venturer is moored alongside a South Shields quayside. There are three large dock cranes built onto the quayside. There is a view of the stern of the ship showing the rear door of the vessel open. The film cuts to a view of the boat from the water with smoke pouring from its two large funnels. Back on the quayside there is a view of the bow of the ship beside the three large dockside cranes.    

From on-board ship the Southern Venturer a small crowd of people can be seen standing on the quayside. The camera pans up to show a young man standing on the deck looking down on the people.

The film cuts to the Southern Venturer travelling along the Norwegian cost past a long rocky island. Looking down onto the water a smaller boat is seen travelling closely to the stern of the ship. In the distance is a small town with a large ship moored in the water nearby. The film cuts to show the Southern Venturer moored alongside the other ship. Overhead general view showing the decks of both ships.  Men walk around beside a large pile of wooden planks.

Back out at sea another small ship travels alongside the Southern Venturer. It comes alongside and a man climbs down from the Southern
Venturer onto the vessel. General views of the ship at sea; a civilian cargo ship is seen in the distance.

A Sikorsky helicopter (Reg: G-AOHE) comes into land aboard the Southern Venturer; a second helicopter hovers above. The blade of the helicopter is tied down and is seen being turned and rolled off the landing pad by members of the crew. The second helicopter (Reg: G-ANUK) comes into land and is also moved off the landing pad and is again pushed off the landing pad by a number of crewmen.

Aboard the SS Southern Garden [a former German U-boat supply ship] in the Bay of Biscay there are views of the ship travelling through a gale. The ship pitches up and down and there are views around the deck and smoke coming from the funnel. Two men are seen walking on deck.  

In quieter seas back aboard the Southern Venturer there are views of a coastline, possibly Guyana. A yellow, blue and horizontal red striped flag flies from a mast aboard ship. The film cuts to the Southern Venturer moored alongside a small quayside. In the near-distance a second vessel can be seen moored. The camera pans up to show a British maritime flag flying from a mast on the stern on the Southern Venturer.

The Southern Venturer travels along a river past a small boat that is travelling in the opposite direction. The film cuts to a small pier where two large ships can be seen moored on the opposite bank.  Back out at sea the Southern Venturer travels through the tropics. It passes a buoy floating in the water and scares a number of seabirds as it passes. A pod of dolphins swim alongside the bow of the ship. On the deck a group of men work to replace the wheels on one of the helicopters with floats. Once completed it is seen being rolled back into its storage bay.  

There are various views of the ship at sea including a view at sunset.  An Albatross flies near to the ship.

On the helicopter deck a group of young men play deck-quoits. There are overhead views of the ship showing people walking around deck. Pigs and chickens can be seen in pens laid out on the deck. A number of lifeboats hang near to the funnel.

Water splashes through the open rear door of the ship. There are general views around the ship showing various pieces of equipment and netting and shackles set up on deck.  Another overhead view of the deck as a large wave crashes against the side of the ship.

A group of men in winter clothing stand at the bow of the ship. In the background can be seen snow capped mountains. One of the men waves at the camera. At sea the buoy-boat SS Southern Maine comes alongside the Southern Venturer with a catch of whales lashed to its side [the buoy-boat is the vessel that collects and transports the whales to the factory ship after they have been killed by the catcher boat]. From the Southern Venturer a smaller motor vessel is lowered into the water. General view of the Southern Maine moored alongside and many dead whales in the water.

The Film cuts to a view of the catcher ship SS Southern Boxer alongside the Southern Venturer. Two men stand at the bow of the ship next to the harpoon gun. Two men stand on the deck of the ship; a smaller ship in the near distance. Pack ice floats all around. The Southern Boxer, with the number 8 painted on the superstructure, pulls away as a second vessel begins to manoeuvre towards the Southern Venturer. The supply ship SS Southern Satellite is seen in the distance. This is followed by a view of the sun setting seen from the deck.   

General views of ice floating in the sea.  Three dead whales can be seen floating upside down and lashed to the side of the Southern Venturer. There is another sunset seen over the sea from the deck of the Southern Venturer. General views of the Southern Venturer passes a number of large icebergs.

On the deck of the Southern Venturer a man uses a long metal blade to cut up a large section of blubber from a Sperm Whale. A second man helps by kicking it down into a hole. All around the deck is red with blood. Various overhead views of one of the flensing decks with men working to cut up several whales. The deck is red with blood and all around can be seen pieces of blubber.  Down on the flensing deck there are more views of pieces of whale blubber all around.

At sea the buoy-boat sails past. Views of sunset over the ocean as the Southern Venturer travels past more icebergs.  A lone Sperm Whale, the last of the day, is a laid on the deck at the stern of the ship [This whale will be used as a fender for when the catchers boats come alongside].The catcher buoy-boat sails near to the Southern Venturer. Cape Pigeons bob-around on the water at the stern to the ship next to a dead whale. A catcher ship moves slowly in the water nearby.

The film cuts to show the ship manoeuvring slowly through an icefield. There are various views of large icebergs in the ocean.   A man stands on the deck of the ship looking out to sea. The camera pans left to right and shows a number of men standing on the deck looking out at the many icebergs which surround the ship.

From an overhead position the catcher ship Southern Garden can be seen moored alongside the Southern Venturer. There camera along the captain’s catwalk between the wheelhouse and harpoon gun at the very bow of the ship. There is another view of the flensing deck and the film ends with another catcher ship coming alongside.