‘A Sea Change’ hits close to home

Jill Hein photographed this orca whale jumping, perhaps for joy, in Mutiny Bay.  - Photo courtesy of Jill Hein
Jill Hein photographed this orca whale jumping, perhaps for joy, in Mutiny Bay.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Jill Hein

By Dan Pedersen

Special to the News-Times

Drifting with the breeze in a boat off Mutiny Bay, Jill Hein waits with her camera at the ready. It is a clear December afternoon on the west side of Whidbey Island and the Coupeville grandmother is in for the thrill of a lifetime. More than 40 orcas!

Puget Sound’s Southern Resident Orcas are on the move and suddenly are all around Hein’s boat, breaching, flipping and rolling. It is a sight Hein hopes will thrill her own grandchildren many years from now. But she worries that because of rapid changes in the world’s oceans, orcas will be long gone from the planet.

Two years ago and half-a-world away, a Norwegian school teacher, Sven Huseby, read a magazine article and wondered the same thing. The son of a commercial fisherman, he set out on a personal journey to learn why the world’s seas are becoming more acidic and dissolving the shells of many ocean-dwelling creatures, threatening the entire marine food chain. He and his film-director wife, Barbara Ettinger, reached the staggering conclusion that their own grandson could grow up in a world without fish.

Together, Huseby and Ettinger produced “A Sea Change,” a feature-length documentary that has won worldwide acclaim and top prizes in international competition.The Island County Marine Resources Committee will sponsor a free public showing at 7 p.m. on the evening of Sound Waters University, Saturday, Feb. 6, in the fellowship hall of Coupeville United Methodist Church, 608 N. Main Street.

On hand to introduce the film and lead a discussion afterwards will be Dr. Richard Feely of the University of Washington and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Feely, of Seattle, is an expert on ocean acidity and is one of the scientists quoted in the film.

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