The first of two educational miniseries, this 1984-1985 production was the precursor to 1988's "The Second Voyage of the Mimi." Like many schoolchildren, I was subjected to this show repeatedly in elementary school, complete with all of the complementary reading materials and research projects.
Each episode was 30 minutes long, split into two parts: the first 15 minutes was the pseudo-drama, where the very diverse crew (including a deaf woman, and a young child played by Ben Affleck) would get into very dangerous situations involving looking at whales. For example, sometimes they would have to identify a whale by its tail pattern, which would get very tense. During storms, one crew member on the Mimi was subjected to hypothermia. At one point, they were shipwrecked. The second 15 minutes consisted of the actors talking at length about the actual science behind their most recent adventure. Topics included navigation, longitude and latitude, all sorts of incredibly boring facts about whales, and so forth.
Lazy teachers liked "The Voyage of the Mimi" because of all of the free teaching materials provided by the distribution company. So after 15 minutes of drama, and 15 minutes of lecture, teachers can give their students 15 days of collaborating on busy work about whales. I, for example, co-wrote a 10-page report about the right whale in elementary school. (It's endangered. That's all I remember.)
The show also taught me that I can live off of water collected in stills and a huge tub of watery peanut butter if I ever get shipwrecked. I still have the show's nautical-sounding theme song stuck in my head.
Homestar Runner has included the theme to the Voyage of the Mimi in one of their famous Strong Bad e-mails. It plays as Strong Bad lies on the couch half-asleep mumbling things like "Super Bomberman."