I watched this last night and I shared it on Facebook. Then I watched it again this morning and I felt that it was more than deserving of its own post on the blog. You may remember Danny MacAskill from such posts as Imaginate and Way Back Home, but Red Bull have moved on since them and given us something with some superb videography and a fascinating backstory.
Oh, and there are bike stunts galore as well:
Epecuén was a town built on the tourism trade from Buenos Aires. Visitors from the capital were attracted by the therapeutic salty waters of Lago Epecuén and would travel the 600km by train.
It was a thriving town of 1,500 inhabitants, when disaster struck:
On 10 November 1985, a seiche caused by a rare weather pattern broke a nearby dam first, then the dike protecting the town. Rapidly made uninhabitable, the town saw the waters rise progressively, reaching up to 10 metres (33 ft) at its maximum. The village was never rebuilt.
At the time of the catastrophe, there were up to 280 businesses in Epecuén, including lodges, guesthouses, hotels, and businesses that 25,000 tourists visited between November and March, from the 1950s to the 1970s.
The town now has a sole resident, Pablo Novak, who returned to his home when the waters receded after covering the town for 25 years.
Yes, that’s Pablo cycling at the start of the video and yes, I had to look up seiche as well:
A seiche is a standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water. Seiches and seiche-related phenomena have been observed on lakes, reservoirs, swimming pools, bays, harbours and seas. The key requirement for formation of a seiche is that the body of water be at least partially bounded, allowing the formation of the standing wave.
It’s complicated stuff, with mathematical formulae and hydrodynamic renderings everywhere, but suffice to say that you’ve probably seen an example of a seiche in that extra high peak of water caused when a wave bounces back off a sea wall and meets another coming in. I think this is what they mean, anyway, because:
Seiche is also a French term for a cuttlefish or Bobtail squid.
And it seems unlikely that the widespread damage we see in the video was caused by a cuttlefish.
ALTHOUGH YOU NEVER KNOW…
Anyway, I think it’s a wonderful video with some amazing shots and I quite like the music as well – something of a theme with cycle stunt videos. I’m very proud to announce that my 5 year old daughter has placed Sound of Guns’ Sometimes right at the top of her favourite music list (Sail by AWOLNation coming a close second).
The second track, Long Highway by The Jezabels is especially nice – full of passion and energy. (For the sake of completeness, the very different and arguably more appropriate first is Night Wolves by Farewell J.R.)
But enough about waves and music. Perhaps I’m being over generous with my praise of the video. Could it just be that Epecuén, like Cape Town, is a difficult place to photograph or film badly? This amazing 2011 photoset from The Atlantic would seem to support that view.
Either way, this was 10 minutes, well spent.