Whalefest opens two-day run on Saturday

Julie Packard

Monterey, CA. January 2020. Don’t miss it! Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf Association presents the 10th Annual Whalefest Monterey to be held at and around Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Custom House Plaza – Monterey State Historic Park and inside the Monterey Conference Center in Monterey, California, The Whale Watching Capital of the World™ on Saturday, January 25th and Sunday, January 26th, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

This free, fun and educational interactive family event for all ages celebrates the biodiversity of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and much more! The event, which features a 2-day Symposium with world-renowned marine experts and dozens of exhibit booths, benefits many local and national marine organizations that educate, inspire, and empower the public to protect the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS).

Enlightening and edutaining interactive exhibits at the upcoming 10th Annual Whalefest Monterey will be located along the Wharf, Causeway, Custom House Plaza – Monterey State Historic Park and the Monterey Conference Center. There will be  dozens of marine related exhibits by numerous local organizations:  American Cetacean Society, California Coastal Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Marine Sanctuary Foundation, California State Parks, Camp SEA Lab, City of Monterey Sustainability Office, Code Ninjas Monterey, Communities for Sustainable Monterey County, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Friends of the Monterey Public Library, Greenfield Community Science Workshop, Hess Design, Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford University,  Marine Life Studies, Monterey Academy Oceanographic Scientists (MAOS), Monterey Bay Aquarium Underwater Explorers, Moss Landing Marine Lab Animal Training and Research Intl./SLEWTHS , Monterey Bay Community Power, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), Monterey Fire Department, Monterey Regional Waste Management District, Oceans 360, Peter Fettis, Save the Whales, Save Our Shores, Sea Otter Savvy, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society – Nor Cal Chapter, Seafloor Science ROV, Squid 4 Kids- Hopkins Marine Lab at Stanford University, Student Oceanography Club/ Girl Scouts, Surfrider Foundation, The Marine Mammal Center, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Ventana Wildlife Society, Yacht Club of the Monterey Peninsula and more.

The 10th Annual Whalefest Monterey Symposium, held both days at the Monterey Conference Center, will include these outstanding presentations by renowned marine science (subject to change):

  • Julie Packard, Founder and Executive Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Wallace J. Nichols, Middlebury Institute of International Studies,  Author Blue Mind, “Whales are Medicine”
  • Paul Michel, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Superintendent
  • Sarah Conner, Documentary Producer/Director, BBC, Netflix. “The Positive Impacts from Science and Natural History  Documentaries” A behind the scene look at how landmark science and natural history documentary series are made, including the efforts teams make to support science and raise awareness of important issues
  • Chad King, “Octopus Garden and a Whale Fall: Recent Discoveries in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary”
  • Rear Admiral (ret.) Jon White, Consortium for Ocean Leadership. “Ocean Security: Breaching Challenges Through The Power Of Partnerships”
  • Peggy Stap, Director Marine Life Studies & Whale Entanglement Team (WET)®“Whale Disentanglement by the General Public:  Good Intentions, Bad Decisions and Updates of The Whale Entanglement Team”
  • Steve Mandel, Oceans 360, “Using Virtual Reality for Ocean Conservation Education”
  • Tom Escher, Chairman, Red & White Fleet. “Making Zero Pollution Maritime a Reality”
  • Brandon Southall, Southall Environmental Associates “Listening to California’s Whales: Acoustic Science to Inform Conservation and Inspire the Next Generation”
  • Colleen Flannigan, Living Sea Sculpture / UCSC, “Art and Science for Coral Reef Restoration”
  • Students from Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford University, “The Formative Stages of Becoming a Whale Researcher”

In addition, Save the Whales returns with Dee, the 43-foot inflatable whale model people can go inside of and see its internal organs, this year located inside the Monterey Conference Center, and photo ops with costumed creatures roaming the area.

There will be four boats at the California Dock at Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf including the Current’Sea (Marine Life Studies research and WET vessel), the Coast Guard 43’ foot boat, the Sheila B. research vessel from Moss Landing Marine Lab and The Pearl (Monterey Fire Boat).

Monterey Abalone Company will host Abalone Races in front of Big Fish Grill and Moss Landing Marine Labs will be the non-profit recipient. Monterey Bay Whale Watching will host scrimshaw-making using soap. ACF Chef Tene Shake will conduct cooking demos in front of Abalonetti Bar and Grill. Discovery Whale Watching/J & M Fishing will host Gyotaku, the Japanese art of stenciling fish. Both Princess Monterey Whale Watching and Monterey Bay Whale Watch will have informative booths about whales and whale watching on the Wharf.

On the Causeway and on Custom House Plaza will be Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club boats, US Coast Guard 29’ foot boat, US Coast Guard Auxiliary exhibit, COASTIE, the Safety Boat, sailboats from the Monterey Yacht Club and the Science Seafloor ROV.

Maritime Historian Tim Thomas will conduct two 90-minute free Wharf Walks at 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday. (Meet outside of Harbor House at the head of the Wharf).

There will also be a variety of live musical entertainment at the head of the Wharf, including the Orchestra in the Schools String Quartet, Stevenson School Bands, Del Monte Brass, Klevr Band, Monterey High Jazz Bands, Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band and Jonah & the Whale Watchers. Inside the Monterey Conference Center this year, there will be more musicians, including Richard Carr, Louis Colaiannia, Michael Martinez, Mads Tolling, Derrol Keith, Mark Richardson, Stu Heydon and Nicholas Fettis & His “Orca”stra.

On Sunday, there will be a Marine Mammal Center Release at 9:00 a.m. at Monterey State Beach (subject to change) and also a Street and Beach Clean Up at 11:00 a.m. (Meet at Marine Life Studies table on the Causeway.)

Information and merchandise booths will be on site at the head of the Wharf and inside the Monterey Conference Center, with Whalefest Monterey T-shirts and aprons available for donations.

Weather permitting, whale watching tours, fishing, sailing and glass bottom boats will be operating from the Wharf (many at discounted rates). Wharf restaurants will be serving lunch and dinner. Wharf shops will also be featuring marine-themed merchandise.

Whale watchers come from around the world to view hundreds of whales, orcas, dolphins and pelicans who continue to feast on a “krill and anchovy buffet” in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Throughout the year, this Whale Watching Capital of the World offers sightings of 15 species of whales, 10 species of dolphins, 2 species of porpoise, 6 species of pinnipeds and 1 species of Fissiped (sea otter).

Volunteers are also welcome and they will receive a large chowder bowl and souvenir T-shirt. Students under age 15 should be accompanied by their parent. Corporate sponsorships are available this year.  Please contact Mary Alice Cerrito Fettis at maryalicefettis@aol.com for more details.

Ride the free MST Trolley to the Wharf from the East and West Garages. MST Trolley details click here.

Special discount Hotel Rates: Stay for the weekend!

Special Whalefest Monterey discount room rates are available at some local Monterey Hotels, including the Portola Inn and Spa. Subject to availability, guests can reserve rooms for a discounted rate. January 24, 25 or 26, 2020 at this website:  https://be.synxis.com/?Chain=18268&hotel=65712&rate=WHALFST

Also, there will be discount room rates at the Comfort Inn Monterey Bay at 2250 North Fremont in Monterey. Please call the hotel directly to arrange the discounted rate. The Inn at 1252 Monterey is located at 1252 Munras Avenue: 831 372-2908. www.stayatmonterey.com and Comfort Inn Monterey Bay, 2050 North Fremont Street 831-373-3081 www.montereygetaway.com.

For more information about Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf, go to www.montereywharf.com or call (831) 238-0777.

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