Whalefest 2018, January 27 & 28

By Jessenya Guerra
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Tail of a Whale by Peggy Stap
Tail of a Whale by Peggy Stap – Taken at Whalefest 2017

Celebrate the return of the grey whales to Monterey Bay by attending the 8th annual Whalefest this weekend at Old Fisherman’s Wharf. On Jan. 27 and 28 there will be all day whale related activities 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This event is “education dressed up to look like fun,” said Mary Alice Fettis the chair of Whalefest. With interactive exhibits and dynamic symposiums there will be fun for everyone, she said. Each symposium is required to be “overwhelmingly dynamic and will be more than just being handed a pamphlet,” said Fettis.

Whalefest helps to protect the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary by providing information to the community about whales, and maintaining a clean environment for them.  Their mission statement is: “Inspire. Educate. Explore and Empower.” They attempt to reach this mission by putting on this event every January, and have been for the last seven years.

The event is free to all who wish to participate and learn more about the environment. The executives at  Whalefest use whales as an umbrella term to talk about all of the creatures that live in the bay. They wish to cover “every creature in the sea. From the largest mammals on Earth (whales) to the most microscopic in the bay,” said Fettis.

Some of the exhibits you can find at the Whalefest celebration include: Humboldt squid dissection, abalone races and Japanese fish painting. The Save the Whales organization will be bringing a 43 feet inflatable humpback whale named Dee. People can walk into Dee and see the anatomically correct organs as they would be inside an actual whale.

The Monterey Bay Yacht Club will have boats for people to board, along with demonstrations on sailing. The Yacht Club will also be talking about how it’s possible to protect the environment and sea creatures while sailing in the bay.

The local Coast Guard will bring one of their patrol boats to show people in the community what they do to protect the environment. The Coast Guard also brings out their tools and they demonstrate how to properly disentangle a whale from fishing nets without harming it.

There will also be award-winning documentaries being played for free at the Fisherman’s Wharf theatre. There will be many informational speeches on the environment including some from California State Monterey Bay’s own professors, and 18 other institutes from the Monterey Peninsula.

There will be whale watching tours available at the wharf for those who wish to get on the bay and see the whales up close. There are sailing tours available as well to see the bay from a different and more expansive view. Some of these events may have fees.

Organizers hope to continue this event in years to come. If you have questions about Whalefest or want to know more you can visit their website: https://www.montereywharf.com/event/whalefest-monterey.html.

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