Welcoming the Whales 2022
By Karen Keeton

Saturday, 4th June 2022

The Fest was Fab!

THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE HUMPBACK WHALE MIGRATION ROUTE

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Fluke up and ready for the start of the Migration.. watch out for Fluke as we celebrate the migration UP THE EAST AND WEST COASTS OF AFRICA

 It is fitting to start the Whale Migration Celebrations in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) this year as we are now 1 of only 5 Whale Heritage Sites in the World. This achievement was announced at the 2021 festival that was switched from ‘in person’ to ‘online’ overnight due to covid-19 regulations changing the night before the event.  This however did not dampen spirits and all talks and fun that could be had with limited numbers was shared online on the day. 

So with this prestigious title of Whale Heritage Site we have changed things up a little this year and started Celebrations with a banger of a festival on 4th June 2022 at The Willows Resort on Marine Drive, a beautiful setting.  Thereafter there will be about 30 celebrations in the form of talks and festivals big and small going up both the African East and West Coasts. This year the East Coast will spread a little further to Lamu in Kenya and the West Coast as far as Libreville in Gabon.  This route and these celebrations are put together by The World Cetacean Alliance, Raggy Charters who is partner to The World Cetacean Alliance, and all whale enthusiasts along the African coastline.

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All 30 locations will be celebrating the Humpback Whales who make this long journey, the longest migration of all mammals. All is about creating awareness of the importance of migrating whales in the ecosystem.  The whales feed, poop, migrate, and dive deep (which circulates essential nutrients throughout the ocean).  This behaviour supports healthy marine ecosystems and the growth of phytoplankton, which locks in a huge amount of carbon from the atmosphere. We are very happy to inform all that due to becoming protected the humpback whale population has recovered from near extinction.  There is a current population of about 80,000, up from a very a low 10,000. 

The event held on 4th June here in PE is way more than just a get-together, it is to celebrate these magnificent marine mammals who visit our beautiful Algoa Bay on during their migration journey. The day is a family orientated educational experience intended for all to learn something and of course have fun at the same time. 

Visitors were welcomed by the sounds of African drums and marimba’s presented by African Drumbeat.  Interesting talks presented in the function room at the Willows Resort. First one being by Lloyd Edwards of Raggy Charters on the Whale Migration and Whale Entanglements in rock lobster ropes and buoys. NSRI will be there to demonstrate the disentanglement process. Followed by Dr Julien Benoit, a French Paleontologist currently working at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng at 11am about "Evolution of Dolphins Brain and Intelligence”.

Welcoming the Whales Festival Press Launch 1 June 2022

Thank you for the great venue SANCCOB and SIP Beverages for keep all guests refreshed.

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Exhibitors at Whale Fest 2022

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2022 Festival Programme

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The day was simply beautiful and guests enjoyed an early morning cruise in search of whales, they had great sightings of bottlenose dolphins dolphins and Bryde's whales. We were all however so happy to view the first Humpback Whales swimming past The Willows Resort around mid afternoon, a little to far off for pics - but there nevertheless! Perfect timing!

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visitors to the festival were greeted by the sounds of African drumbeat and kept entertained throughout the day by very talented local musicians

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Enjoy Joe van der Linden's    "i'm a humpback whale" 

Exhibitors setup and ready for visitors

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The Talks were well supported by interesed visitors! Thank you Dr Julien Benoit for joining us again this year.

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Emjoy Julien's presentation on YouTube:

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Whale Festival Coastal Walk with the Dendrological Society

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Starting the walk from The Willows ResortStarting the walk from The Willows Resort
Guide Graeme Pienaar chatting about Cat-thornGuide Graeme Pienaar chatting about Cat-thorn
Two walkers observing OxalisTwo walkers observing Oxalis
Highly edible fruit Rhoiacarpos capensisHighly edible fruit Rhoiacarpos capensis
Endangered Brunsvigia litoralisEndangered Brunsvigia litoralis
Rose scented geraniumRose scented geranium
Graeme chatting to all with interesting facts along the wayGraeme chatting to all with interesting facts along the way
Plantago crassifolium which is only found on the coastPlantago crassifolium which is only found on the coast
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StromatolitesStromatolites
Garlic buchuGarlic buchu
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WatercressWatercress
Edible leaves of tetragonia decumbens - sea spinachEdible leaves of tetragonia decumbens - sea spinach

Whale Festival Photographic Club Competition

Thank you to all who submitted entries - your photographs are spectacular! 

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Food for all at Fest 2022!

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Sponsors & Friends Thank you

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Fun pics from the day!

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