Fisherman's Wharf Monterey

5thAnnual Whalefest Monterey on January 24th &25th
at Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, California

The Whale Watching Capital of the World

This free fun and educational, interactive family event for all ages celebrates the migration of the gray whales! The event also benefits many local and national marine organizations that educate, inspire, and empower the public to protect the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

January 12, 2015 (Monterey, CA) –The Monterey Old Fisherman's Wharf Association will sponsor and hold the 5th ANNUAL WHALEFEST MONTEREY at and around Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, California, The Whale Watching Capital of the World on Saturday, January 24th and Sunday, January 25th, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

The event celebrates the migration of the gray whales, and benefits the many local and national marine organizations that build awareness about the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary – they educate, inspire, and empower the public to protect it.

Among the highlights will be a symposium with lectures and documentaries related to ocean and marine life conservation presented at the Museum of Monterey at the Stanton Center (MoM) Auditorium and the Wharf Theatre, musical and theatrical performances with a maritime theme, and many educational displays by participating organizations. Thousands of attendees are expected again this year that range from local families and school children who want to learn more about our maritime environment to visitors from near and far who want to explore the annual whale migration. The event will also feature a science credit program for students from university level to schoolchildren.

Monterey is The Whale Watching Capital of the World

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). Visitors to the Monterey Bay can enjoy viewing seven baleen whales that include blue whales, fin whales, sei whales, humpback whales, gray whales, minke whales and North Pacific right whales (rare). There are also eight toothed whales that include sperm whales, Baird’s beaked whales, Cuvier’s beaked whales, pygmy sperm whales, dwarf sperm whales, Stejneger’s beaked whales, Blainville’s beaked whales, and Hubb’s beaked whales. The Monterey Bay also features 9 dolphin species including Orcas (killer whale), northern right whale dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, short-beaked common dolphins, long-beaked common dolphins, striped dolphins, short fin pilot whales, and false killer whale (rare).  
There are two porpoise species including harbor porpoises and Dall’s porpoises. There is one Fissiped, the southern sea otter. There are also four Otariid Pinnipeds including Guadalupe fur seals, northern fur seals, California sea lions and northern sea lions (Steller sea lions). There are also two Phocid Pinnipeds, including harbor seals and northern elephant seals. (Source: Monterey Bay Marine Life Studies).

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

The two-day event will feature a wide array of fun and informative activities including:

  • A 60-foot model whale – Humphrey the Humpback Whale (attendees can climb inside), on site to honor the migration of his friends, the gray whales.

  • Live musical performances will be provided by:

Free Concert with Barbara Joy and a Children’s Chorus, & Peggy Stap of Marine Life Studies with her dog Whiskie, The Whale Spotter

Nick Fettis and his “Orca”stra

Michael Martinez

Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band

Monterey High School Jazz Band

Lenny Sales

Bill Minor and Richard Rosen

Jonah& The Whale Watchers

Michael Brautovich

Million Dollar Ticket

  • Discounted whale watching trips on the Monterey Bay will run all day from the Wharf, (weather permitting) and Randy’s Fishing and Whale Watching Trips, Chris’ Fishing & Whale Watching and Monterey Bay Whale Watch will offer $3 off coupons to attendees of Whalefest Monterey.  There will also be an American Cetacean Society Benefit Whale Watching Cruise at 8:00 am on Sunday, January 25th.

  • Marine Life Studies sponsors the Ocean Literacy Series at Museum of Monterey at the Center including award-winning documentaries and lectures by world-renowned scientists that will focus on the California Current Ecosystem.

  • Expert panelists including scientists and business leaders, including:

Dr. Mark Ohman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

Bill Douros, Director, NOAA West Coast Region National Marine Sanctuaries

Tim Thomas, Monterey Bay Historian

(see below for more details)

  • Perfect for photo ops with the whole family, costumed “sea creatures” will be strolling on the Wharf with a companion including a Mola mola, sea turtle and whale from Save the Whales.  Oxter the Otter will be on hand from the Coast Guard as well as The Bag Monster from Monterey Regional Waste Management District. They will interact with attendees and provide marine and event information.

  • Beach and street cleanups by Save Our Shores, Surfrider Foundation and Marine Life Studies Take it to the Streets™ cleanup (Sunday 10 am).

  • Marine Life Studies Mock Whale Disentanglement demonstration by the Whale Entanglement Team (WET).

  • Shark and Humboldt Squid will be dissected.

  • Gyotaku (Japanese fish printing) demonstrations staffed by volunteers from MAOS.

  • Historic walking tours by maritime historian, Tim Thomas.

  • U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will have several displays that may include Coastie the Safety Tug Boat, its rescue boat and a Coast Guard 29' Transportable Response Boat and Oxter the Otter.

  • Local marine photography fundraiser exhibit and drawing at Museum of Monterey at the Stanton Center (MoM), 5 Custom House Plaza.

  • A special free concert on Saturday, January 24th from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon at the Wharf Theatre:  Barbara Joy and the Monterey Salvation Army CDC Children’s Chorus & & La Mesa Community TC Children’s Chorus. Seating starts at 10:45 am.

Barbara Joy and the children will perform songs including her original composition, “Don’t Let Us Go”, a heart-touching song dedicated to the oceans and marine wildlife.  Also appearing: Peggy Stap of Marine Life Studies will be there with her dog, Whiskie the Whale Spotter who will entertain the kids with her whale tricks! This free concert is presented by Marine Life Studies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching and inspiring the public to protect the environment and marine wildlife. Barbara Joy is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist who performs in concerts and on stages across the country. She also writes musical themes for nonprofits and performs in concert with children and choruses at fundraising events.

  • Monterey Regional Waste Management display from Land to Sea.

  • Students from Mount Madonna School will be on hand with interactive educational activities.  Marine Life Studies provided an educational program for 3rd through 5th grade in December.  Many of their activities were inspired from what they learned that day and the educational package they received at the end of the program.  Four student groups created activities about orcas for the public at Whalefest.  Group 1 is working on a model of our watershed going into the Pajaro River. Group 2 is creating a game to help people understand how easy it is for animals to mistake plastic for food.  Group 3 is creating a mock fishing game with water conservation facts to help people understand the relationship between our water use and the salmon population. Group 4 is creating a game to demonstrate how much effort it takes for whales to eat/survive when entangled.

Participating Marine Conservation Organizations:

Local national and international marine conservation organizations will line the Causeway at Old Fisherman’s Wharf or will give presentations at the Museum of Monterey. 2015 Whalefest Monterey participants include:


American Cetacean Society

Blue Dolphin Alliance

Camp SEA Lab

Elkhorn Slough Estuarine Research Reserve

Friends of the Monterey Public Library

Friends of the Sea Otter

Marine Life Studies

Take it to the Streets Mount Madonna School, Four Science Experiments

Whale Entanglement Team – WET

Marine Life Studies Ocean Literacy Series

Marine Mammal Center

Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Studies

Humphrey, The 60’ Humpback Whale

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Monterey History and Art Association

“Fins Funds & Photos” Fundraiser

Museum of Monterey at the Stanton Center Museum and Theater

MY Museum

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

Pacific Shark Research Center

Save Our Shores

Save The Whales

Sea Save Foundation

Squid for Kids Program, Hopkins Marine Station

Surf Rider

The Otter Project

Ventana Wildlife Society

Web of Life Field (WOLF) School


California Coastal Commission

Monterey Fire Department, Shoreline Operations Fire Boat

Monterey Regional Waste Management District

Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

United States Coast Guard


Mark Ohman, University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

William Douros, NOAA West Coast Region Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Tim Thomas, Monterey Historian

Bios and Presentations

Dr. Mark Ohman‘s research includes the effects of climate variability on the California Current Ecosystem and the population ecology of marine zooplankton.  His presentation will explain the California Current Ecosystem and the influence of upwelling.

Presentation:  The California Current Ecosystem:  What Makes the West Coast the Blue Serengeti? Meet Dr. Mark Ohman, Principal Investigator for California Current Ecosystem Long Term Ecological Research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego.  Dr. Ohman will explain the concept of the California Current Ecosystem in terms of biodiversity, environment, chemistry, marine life, waves and circulation.

Bill Douros, Director, NOAA West Coast Region National Marine Sanctuaries

Presentation: Introduction to the West Coast Region Office of the National Marine     Sanctuaries.  Learn about the Sanctuary Advisory Council and what it is achieving to sustain the five sanctuaries off the West Coast:  Olympic Coast, Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones, Monterey Bay and Channel Islands.   Gain insight into how the Sanctuary Nomination Process works.  View the newest iPhone/iPad applications released by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries - The National Marine Sanctuaries: Experience California and Whale Alert.

Tim Thomas, Monterey Bay Fisheries Historian

Presentation: The Last Whale Hunt on Monterey Bay & Other Fishy Tales!
In early August, 1910, former Monterey Constable Mike Noon set off on the last whale hunt on Monterey Bay.  Join Monterey Bay Fisheries Historian Tim Thomas as he talks about Mr. Noon and one of Monterey Bay's more unique and least understood fisheries - whaling.  Utilizing historic photos, film and oral histories, Thomas will discuss whaling on the Bay inthe19th and 20th centuries.

Documentaries and Exhibits

Marine Life Studies Ocean Literacy Series at the Museum of Monterey includes:

1) The Ocean – Our Life Support which includes Light the Ocean, released by National Geographic TV, and Sylvia Earle TED Talk - Hope Spots

2) Sustaining the Ocean - Through National Marine Sanctuaries and Hope Spots

3) Marine Ecosystem Diversity – Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

4) Marine Debris – The Threat of Plastics

5)  Marine Life Studies

Whalefest Monterey’s valued sponsors include:

California State Parks


KSBW 8 -NBC & Central Coast ABC


Marine Life Studies

Monterey County Weekly

Monterey History and Art Association

Monterey Signs


Portola Hotel& Spa

The Wecker Group

The welcoming environment at Portola Hotel & Spa begins with warm homemade chocolate chip cookies, provided to guests at check-in.  Portola Hotel & Spa is the only Silver LEED®-EB certified hotel on the central coast of California and boasts 379 guestrooms, an award winning full service day spa, two on site eateries, and a variety of other amenities, perfect for both group and leisure travelers. Portola Hotel & Spa is one of California’s premier family-friendly destinations offering easy access to Monterey’s favorite attractions. The hotel is also pet friendly. For more information and reservations, please visit, or call toll free (888) 222-5851.

For more information about Whalefest Monterey, call (831) 238-0777 and check out the website at


Click here for the event SCHEDULE


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