October is Marine Month and what better way to celebrate than to attend the annual Eco-Marine Whale Festival. Growing up in the countryside, far-far away from the beautiful ocean leaves you with this inexplicable longing for the sea. I remember even as an adult, still living far-far away from the sea, I always dreamed of attending the Whale Festival in Hermanus. How lucky we are to have this event become a part of our lives, something we will attend yearly.
Besides being a wonderfully creative event, this is indeed an Eco-Marine event, where educating the public about the Stars of the festival is the main objective. This gives me so much hope for our beautiful Southern Right Whales, quoting the organisers of the Hermanus Whale Festival:
The Hermanus Whale Festival is acutely aware that if we don’t look after our destination, both from an environmental and conservation perspective, in a short space of time, there will not be much to promote with pride and purpose.
It is not only about creatures below, it also has a beautiful focus on Fynbos and the shoreline. The Eco-Marine Village had a very interesting section, displaying live and non-living shells. This is where Mishka had the most fun, looking at the sea creatures, experiencing their regeneration and touching, wait for it! Sea Urchins! Eeek! What can I say, children are curious, and children do not have fear. I understand the beauty of the starfish, I am not that keen on touching a crab!
This is exactly what the organisers aim to do. Their interactive exhibitions aspire to instil an appreciation for nature and cultivate future conservationists.
They believe with these activities they leave children with a love, passion and respect for marine wildlife and the knowledge to preserve our blue planet.
We have been to the Penguin Sanctuary in Gansbaai and this is a wonderful introduction to those who don’t have the time to visit the real deal.
Sea Search offered a very exciting event where kids could match whale and dolphin fins to maps and charts.
The 27th Hermanus Whale Festival definitely succeeded, they inspired my little girl. She asked her daddy if we could contribute monthly to the cause of conserving dolphins and whales. So much so that she wants to replace Birthday gifts for a contribution to the fund at her next birthday party, happening very soon!
We missed the Kalfiefees this year, but next year we will join the pre-festival, welcoming the first whales in August.
When you are here at the right time, it’s hard to miss the beautiful beasts, as you can watch the whales from the cliff-tops, form the air or via boat-based tours. As per tradition since August 1992, a Whale Crier, currently Zolile Baleni, sounds his kelp horn to announce where whales have been spotted. There’s even a movie out based on the novel (written by Zakes Mda 2005), called Whale Caller.
This festival reminds us of the immense beauty of natural rhythms, the coming and going of seasons and that of creatures visiting our shores. How can we be so oblivious to these incredibly important events, so focused on chasing the wrong kind of green.
I am blessed to have a child so open and willing to learn, these kind of events are the fuel to her imagination. Next time we will show you more about how wonderful educators encourage our young to appreciate nature, to get their hands busy doing it.…PLAY AND LEARN