top of page
the film
at Sea 2_edited_edited.jpg


This film challenges conventional thought about the impact of global conservation and modernization. 

In the mid-19th century, Yankee whalers enlisted seamen from such places as tiny Bequia in the British West Indies. One of those men purchased two whale- boats from the Yankees and Bequia’s history of whaling began. To the consternation of many, Bequia’s whalers continue the tradition to this day.


The Wind That Blows affectionately examines the lives of this unique group. These men, whose lives are entwined with nature, provide sustenance for their families and neighbors, but in the process, give the island something else entirely: identity.


Production of this award-winning doc began in 1989 and continued through 2013. During that time, tourism established itself as Bequia’s prime industry, luring people away from the trades and traditions of the past. Hotels, new roads, an airport and other improvements trans- formed Bequia’s appearance...and its soul.


Amidst the clamor of globalization, The Wind That Blows gives a deserved voice to a humble community on a tiny island clinging to a proud past. 

The facts


Sometimes we are drawn to a story that is so filled with joy, irony, ambiguity, beauty and dismay that it compels us to take a drastic departure from our normal lives and try to capture a fleeting moment. That is what happened to me when I met the last Yankee whalers in the world while visiting the island of Bequia in 1988.

At that time, we in the developed world were beginning to come to grips with the damage that the human consumption of resources had done to our planet, and we sought out symbols to represent the urgency of environmentalism. The endangered humpback whale was just such a mighty and majestic icon. “Save the Whale” bumper stickers appeared intraffic jams and super market parking lots everywhere.

On this tiny island in the West Indies, I met men whose lives, unlike ours, were directly connected to nature; men who live in modest homes, walk to work and row from shore in a six man open sailboat, sprightly setting sails in the Caribbean breezes to hunt and harpoon the very symbol we had just embraced. I learned of the whalers’ unique history and saw the jubilation, pride and bounty a landed humpback brought to their fellow islanders. I determined to tell their story, as difficult as it would prove to be.

After twenty-five years in the making, we are presenting a portrait of those men produced across a generation with the help of some of the finest people I have ever known. My sincerest gratitude goes out to each of them.

To this very day, a few whalers remain in Bequia. Happily, humpback whales are no longer endangered, however, opposition to the Bequia whale hunt grows. Internationally, the consensus is that this arcane practice should come to an end. Locally, many see great value in a tourist economy that seems incompatible with whale hunting.

Henry David Thoreau, an early environmentalist among other things, provided the title for the film in his poem about the false sense of pride we have in our technological advances. In it he concludes, “The wind that blows is all that anybody knows.” Few people understand the wind better than the whalers of Bequia.

The Wind That Blows is a film about perseverance, tradition and identity... and it is our labor of love.

- Tom Weston

The mission
bottom of page