Festival of Whales: Dana Point’s Blowhole-Big Bash

Parades, water excursions, and mammal-nice doings are on the March schedule.

Festival of Whales

FISH STORIES: Ask anyone who has witnessed any nature while out on a whale-watching excursion to describe the nature they encountered and you're going to see some hands and arms and elbows tell a good deal of the story. If a guest aboard an afternoon sightseeing cruise spots an especially large gull, the human's arms serve as the beak. If dolphins are spied, the seer probably does a bit of leaping about, to mimic the dolphin's playfulness. As for a gray whale? Well, it is hard to encapsulate something much, much larger than you, but the raising of the shoulders and back is probably involved, and the witness may cup a hand at their head to simulate the blowhole. We're all charades people when it comes to the wonders seen at sea, wonders that go ashore each year at a few California towns. Nope, orcas don't waddle up to the beach, grunion-like, but places like Mendocino and Dana Point pause to recognize those mammalian giants that inspire humans to become mimes forever after spying them (c'mon, you're always going to do the hands-cupped blowhole when you retell your whale story, for the rest of your life). Want to give whales a big thanks for inspiring some of your best mime moves? And for being whales, which is really all that they must do (and they do it so well)? Then make for Dana Point...

OVER TWO MARCH WEEKENDS: The first two weekends, in fact: March 7 and 8 and March 14 and 15. It's the Festival of Whales, one of the West Coast's biggest parties for the biggest of mammals, and it covers the full fluke. There's a run, and a popular parade (look for the big whale-shaped balloon) and excursions out to look for whales, and a day of Polynesian dance and music, and water taxi trips, and historical walking tours, and a car show, and lectures about whales, and whale-themed art happenings. And and and -- the and-ing is plentiful with this fest, which is 44 this year. If you're a whale-ist, whether you can shape your back/shoulders/arms into a convincing whale or not, and you're around Southern California, we're sure this is a constant on your calendar. For even if you miss seeing a whale while out on a trip, being among those who love and support the whale communities strengthens the whales' on-shore team. That's all of us.

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