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Celebrating the Whales Festival – South Africa

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The 2nd Celebrating the Arrival of the Whales Festival was held at Pine Lodge, Port Elizabeth on the 16th June in perfect weather. The emphasis this year was on trying to reduce the amount of plastic that enters the marine environment. The stalls were split between this topic and marine education and research.

Ronelle Friend’s presentation made everyone aware of the enormity of marine plastic pollution. She explained what was needed to ensure a drastic shift towards Zero Plastic Waste generation. Lloyd Edwards from WCA Partner Raggy Charters spoke on the humpback whale migration and the holding of festivals to celebrate this, at 17 localities all the way from Knysna to Kenya. A movie was then screened about this migration and the birth and journey of a humpback calf and its mother.

After the festival goers had been past the exhibition stalls, some went and did an inter tidal walk and beach clean-up, while others went whale spotting from the old 2nd World War fort above Cape Recife. Numerous breaching whales were spotted. Some also enjoyed a discounted Raggy Charters cruise.

At lunch time the three whale floats arrived, which had been constructed by learners from three high schools in Port Elizabeth. They had made their way all along the Port Elizabeth beachfront from Kings Beach to the Beacon at the bottom of Admiralty Road. Their enthusiasm and energy shown was a fitting end to a great festival. This was an initiative by the South African National Defence Force to raise marine and anti-plastic pollution awareness on Youth Day. Thanks to strong support from the three principals, preparations for the building of these floats has been ongoing at the schools since the 5th April 2019. This included marine conservation lectures, beach clean ups and the collection of recyclable plastic waste. The recyclable material used in the floats will later be sold to raise funds for the schools.

Huge thanks to all our sponsors and friends for making this possible.

In the future the WCA and Raggy Charters plan with these kinds of festivals is to link the entire humpback whale East African migration route, an amazing project! This year where towns are not having  a whale festival, a public lecture will be given on the humpback whale migration. Besides educating communities, it will hopefully inspire to people to have their own festival in 2020.

The following locations will have Celebrating the Arrival of the Whale presentations or festivals:

6th June; Knysna, Russel Hotel, 17:30.

12th June, Cape St Francis Resort, 17:30.

16th June, Port Elizabeth, Pine Lodge, 09:00.

19th June, Port Alfred, Royal Golf Club, 17:30.

26th June, East London Museum, 17:30.

27th June, Trennery’s Hotel, Transkei, 17:30.

28th June, Mazeppa Bay Hotel, Transkei, 12:00,.

28th June, Kob Inn, Transkei, 17:30.

29th June, Coffee Bay, Ocean View Hotel.

29th June, Durban, Anstey’s Square, 09:00.

30th June, Port St Johns, Outspan Inn, 17:30.

2nd July, St Lucia Town Hall, 17:30.

3rd July, Sodwana Bay Lodge, 17:30.

5th July, Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique, 17:30.

7th July, Tofu, Mozambique, 17:30.

Mid July, Ilha de Mozambique.

End July, Watamu, Kenya.

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