For the last 30 years Micheline and Curt Jenner have pioneered vessel-based cetacean research, particularly using photo-ID to estimate the size of the recovering WA humpback whale population. In the mid-1990’s, they hand-built a blue-water sailing catamaran to search for the migratory end-point of this population. Finding pristine Camden Sound, in the ancient tropical Kimberley brimming with mothers and young calves, their research efforts assisted the implementation of the state government gazette, Lalang-garram/Camden Sound Marine Park.
Using the most advanced technology to study the IUCN-listed “data-poor” pygmy blue whales in the offshore waters of Perth including tracking satellite tags, whale poo sliding down Micheline’s snorkeling mask was also a crucial piece of the puzzle right from the outset. This was a summer/autumn krill café where pygmy blue whales visited to forage. The Perth Canyon Commonwealth Marine Reserve was created to protect feeding blue whales as a result of the collaborative teams’ endeavors.
The Jenner’s, marine biologists, boat-builders and master mariners in tropical and polar waters, received the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award from NY-based Explorers Club and an AGS Lifetime of Conservation Award.
The Secret Life of Whales by Micheline Jenner details some of their unique cetacean encounters while collecting data on the high seas aboard four different vessels and raising two daughters.