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  Simon Atkins
  Death on the

About me
CV (printable)

Five Logo Nat Geo Logo
1 hr, Digi/DVCam, 2003

"A heartfelt film" - The Mail on Sunday
"Truly compulsive viewing" - Daily Mail pick of the day
"A Poignant documentary" - The Sunday Times
"A powerful memorial to an extraordinary man" - The Times
"The film is a moving tribute to his bravery" - The Sunday Telegraph
""The artful format of the video diary and the significance of a great man's death make this documentary extremely affecting" - The Guardian

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Peter Blake
Sir Peter Blake, Amazon. photo ©Franck Socha

National Geographic & Five
Big Wave Productions, Producer Sarah Cunliffe

Brazil and Venezuela. A powerful character story of adventure and human endeavour. Renowned yachtsman Sir Peter Blake leads his team up the Amazon on a crusade to save the environment, culminating with his tragic death at the hands of pirates.

Big Wave Logo
Directed and filmed over 10 weeks
Background to the story

Round-the-world yachting legend, Sir Peter Blake, outshone all others. In ENZA he broke all the records for the fastest ever circumnavigation of the world. Next he took on the America’s Cup, winning it for New Zealand not just once, but for a second time in 2000. Already a national hero in his native New Zealand, he had the whole country behind him, wearing his trademark, lucky red socks
Seamaster at the mouth of the Amazon river
photo ©Franck Socha
Peter Blake at the Wheel
Peter Blake at the helm of
Seamaster - photo ©Franck Socha
    There was no one with more knowledge than Blake of the wild Southern Seas, where races are won and lost. He could go no higher in competitive racing – a new challenge was needed and it came from the albatross. Once plentiful in the Southern Ocean, Blake was horrified to see them gradually disappearing with each round-the-world race he undertook. What was the reason? Blake now turned his formidable energy into raising global awareness of the environment. On his new boat, the Seamaster, he started visiting the world’s hotspots. Starting with Antarctica, he then travelled north, up the coast of South America to the mighty Amazon river. Here Blake took Seamaster the furthest he had ever been from the sea, ending up in the Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon. When Seamaster could go no further half the crew then travelled on by bongo raft up the Casiquiare Canal to investigate Venezuela’s Biosphere reserve and claims of illegal mining.
Baby Caimans
Baby Caimans - photo ©Franck Socha
  Sand waves
Waves of sand are illuminated on the river bed of the Rio Negro - photo ©Franck Socha
Peter and expedition crew
- photo ©Franck Socha
Sir Peter’s environmental mission came tragically to an end in December 2001. The jungle team were in remotest Venezuela when they learnt of their leader’s death. Death on the Amazon is a powerful tribute to Sir Peter Blake, an extraordinary record of his last voyage and the environmental issues facing the Amazon. It is also an exceptionally moving record of how his crew come to terms with his loss. He died, doing what he passionately believed in, heightening awareness of the environment and just how fragile our precious world is.     Miner
An old indian woman eeks out a slender existence mining for gold in Venezuela. Although illegal, mined areas like this are common. photo ©Franck Socha
Janot and Cross
Janot builds a cross for Peter
photo ©Franck Socha
Big Bongo
"Big Bongo" - our vessel for the remote Venezuelan section of the journey - photo ©Franck Socha

Big Wave Productions
Franck Socha - Photographer
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