Ocean Astonishing: Whalefest Monterey

Say "hey" to a Pacific Gray at this wintertime hoedown.

MAMMOTH MAMMAL MAGIC: If only we could ask the migrating Pacific Gray whales to pause for a moment, as they pass by our shoreline on their important seasonal journey, well... we wouldn't. They've got places to be, those thousands of blowhole-boasting wonders who appear just off our beaches and bluffs in the wintertime, and dropping them a text or an email asking them to hold up for a day, so we can spend some time getting to know them, would not be the correct course of action. But we can take action on the land, near the water, should we want to know more about the magical world of these mammoth mammals, their migration patterns, their babies, what they eat, their everything, really. So whale-themed parties spring up to keep we humans in the know, while the whales swim on by out in the water, with no need to disrupt their vital schedules. Look to one of the most fabled of the free festivities, an informative weekend-long shindig called...

WHALEFEST MONTEREY: It's happening over the final weekend in January 2017 — that's the 28th and 29th — and once again "The Whale Watching Capital of the World" will have several whale-tastic doings to choose from. You can listen to a lecture or watch a documentary or browse the "educational displays" that let we landlubber sorts take a more thorough look into how a whale travels, thinks, lives, thrives. There are boats, too, that head out into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, in case you want to see a whale or dolphin or sea bird from a closer, camera-at-the-ready distance. That's for an additional cost, of course, and, of course, the whales may not be around, for they've got places to go (that said, the sanctuary is known as a nicely be-whale'd destination come winter). We would never halt a whale on her migration, for that would be rude, but we would find our way to Fisherman's Wharf, on a January weekend, to revel in all of the info and enchantment of whaledom. (All while finding out how we humans can help their future, too.)

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