More Whalefest Monterey Updates as of 03-13-23


13th Annual Whalefest Monterey to feature FREE 2-day activities, including the Symposium with world-renowned marine experts and stunning photography, ocean and environment related exhibits, live music and more on March 18 and 19, 2023

Symposium to be held at Heritage Harbor adjacent to the Recreation Trail, just steps away from Old Fisherman’s Wharf

NEW! "Dee" the very popular inflatable 43 foot humpback whale model on Custom House Plaza will now be available for touring inside to see its organs on Saturday only


March 13, 2023. Monterey, CA. Save the date for the 13th Annual Whalefest Monterey. Making a big splash for thousands of locals and visitors, the event is fun and informative for all ages. Come out and enjoy a free celebration of cetaceans and so much more. Winter is also a great time to celebrate and learn more about gray and humpback whales who are migrating through the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, as well as dolphins, sea otters, sea birds and more. Whalefest Monterey benefits many local and national marine organizations that educate, inspire, and empower the public to protect the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

At a Glance:

What: 13th Annual Whalefest Monterey and 2-Day Symposium

Where: The 2-day Whalefest Monterey event is held at and around Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Custom House Plaza – Monterey State Historic Park. GPS to 201 Washington Street in Monterey, CA. Whalefest Monterey features a 2-day Symposium with world-renowned marine experts at Heritage Harbor, located adjacent to the Recreation Trail and just steps away from the Wharf.

This year’s lineup includes presentations of cutting edge research findings from MBARI, Moss Landing Marine Lab, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Marine Mammal Center and more. We’ll also learn about MBARI’s new research ship and the latest efforts of Marine Life Studies and the Whale Entanglement Team, as well insights into incredible underwater whale photography.

The Symposium is held at an indoor venue generously made available by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  When: Saturday, March 18th and Sunday, March 19th 2023, from 11 am – 5 pm

More details:  One of the many engaging activities at Whalefest include the 2-day Symposium with cutting-edge presentations by marine experts and others about important issues impacting the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and beyond. In addition to the Symposium, Whalefest features dozens of interactive hands-on exhibits, live music and other great activities for all ages.

This free family friendly event includes the popular Gyotaku and Scrimshaw activities on Old Fisherman’s Wharf and a return of the “world famous” Abalone Races.  Yes, people have a chance to sponsor individual abalones and watch them in an exciting race crawl to the finish line!  No harm is done to the abalones, being exposed to daylight, they merely are heading back into a shady spot. Monterey Abalone Company will host the Abalone Races in front of Rockfish Grill and Moss Landing Marine Labs will be the non-profit recipient of the sponsorships.

There are also musicians, boat displays and dozens of fascinating marine-related interactive exhibits by numerous non-profit organizations. For photo ops, there are several costumed marine animals walking around the event as well as the Bag Monster. 

In addition, Save the Whales returns with Dee, the 43-foot inflatable whale model on Saturday, March 18th only.  You can go inside of it and see its internal organs! This very popular exhibit will be on Custom House Plaza where also most of the other booths are located.

Weather and other conditions permitting, there will be up to four boats at the California Dock at Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf including the Current’Sea (Marine Life Studies research and WET® vessel), the Coast Guard's 43’ foot boat, the Sheila B. research vessel from Moss Landing Marine Lab. NOAA’s R/V Fulmar and The Pearl (Monterey Fire Boat).

Both Princess Monterey Whale Watching and Monterey Bay Whale Watch will have informative booths about whales and whale watching on the Wharf. 

On the Causeway and on Custom House Plaza will be sailboats from the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club, and the Science Seafloor ROV. In addition, we may have a Hawaiian outrigger canoe and a US Coast Guard 29’ foot boat on display.

Maritime Historian Tim Thomas will conduct two 60-minute free Wharf Walks at 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday. (Meet outside of Harbor House at the head of the Wharf). 

At 2:00 pm both Saturday and Sunday  in front of Kokomo’s on the wharf,  award-winning Chef Tene Shake will do a cooking demo of Old Fisherman's Wharf Cioppino as well as show how to filet a fish. He will also have copies of the recipes to share.


On Saturday from 3:00 – 4:30 will be a special performance by The Dance Center's Musical Theater Performance Troupe in front of Rockfish Harbor Grill.


Weather permitting, whale watching tours, fishing, sailing and glass bottom boats will be operating from the Wharf (many at discounted rates). Wharf restaurants will be serving lunch and dinner. Wharf shops will also be featuring marine-themed merchandise.

Whale watchers come from around the world to view hundreds of whales, orcas, dolphins and pelicans who come to feast on a “krill and anchovy buffet” in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Throughout the year, this “Monterey Bay Whale Watching Capital of the World” offers sightings of 15 species of whales, 10 species of dolphins, 2 species of porpoise, 6 species of pinnipeds and 1 species of Fissiped (sea otter).

For the current schedule which is subject to change, see below.   

Information: For a complete schedule and detailed descriptions, please go to the 13th Annual Whalefest Monterey page on or  

Phone: 831-238-0777 or email [email protected] 

Volunteers and Event Sponsors Sought for Whalefest Monterey


Volunteers are being sought to staff Whalefest Monterey during March 18 and 19, 2023. Corporate sponsors to help underwrite the event costs are also needed. For more information, contact [email protected] or 831-238-0777.


Whalefest Monterey 2023 – Schedule of Events


11:00 – 5:00 Exhibits

Custom House Plaza, Causeway and Fisherman’s Wharf


11:00-5:00 Symposium

Heritage Harbor Conference Room


11:00-5:00 Research and Rescue Vessels

California Dock at Fisherman’s Wharf


Moss Landing Marine Lab  Sheila B. – 30 feet (All day)

Marine Life Studies Current’Sea – 43 feet (All day)

Monterey Fireboat Pearl – 36 feet (1pm-3pm)


Moss Landing Marine Lab  Sheila B. – 30 feet (All day)

Marine Life Studies Current’Sea – 43 feet (All day)

NOAA R/V Fulmar - 67 feet (All day


11:00-5:00 Musicians

At head of Wharf


11:00 – 5:00

“Dee” the inflatable 43 ft humpback whale model on Custom House Plaza (Saturday ONLY)


12:00-4:00 Gyotaku

In front of Abalonetti


12:00-4:00 Scrimshaw

In front of Abalonetti


11:30 and 1:30  “World Famous” Abalone Races

In front of Rockfish Harbor Grill


2:00 cooking demo of Old Fisherman's Wharf Cioppino with Chef Tene Shake in front of Kokomo’s on the wharf

3:00 – 4:30 The Dance Center's Musical Theater Performance Troupe

in front of Rockfish Harbor Grill (Saturday only)


11:00 & 12:30 Wharf History Walks with Historian Tim Thomas

Meet at Harbor House


10:00 Marine Mammal Center Release (Sunday only)

Monterey Beach


11:00-1:00 Beach & Street Clean Up (Sunday only)

Meet at Marine Life Studies Booth


Whalefest Monterey – Interactive Exhibits

Whalefest Monterey will feature many educational and engaging displays from local, regional and national non-profits that include, subject to change: 

Big Sur Charter School (SAT)

California Coastal Commission

California Killer Whale Project

California Ocean Alliance


CA State Parks Point Lobos (NEW)

Caltrans District 5 Clean CA (NEW, SAT)

Camp SEA Lab

Citizens Climate Lobby Monterey Chapter (NEW)

City of Monterey, Sustainability Office (SAT)

Community Builders for Monterey County

Communities for Sustainable Monterey County

Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

Hi'Ilani O Ke Kei OCC (NEW)

Marine Life Studies

MEarth (NEW)

Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust (NEW)

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Monterey Bay Whale Watching

Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club

Monterey Public Library

MontereySEA (SAT)

Monterey Waterkeeper (NEW)

O’Neill Sea Odyssey

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History (SUN)

Princess Monterey Whale Watching

Protect Monterey Bay

ReGen Monterey (Regional Waste Management District) ( SAT)

Save Our Shores (SAT)

Save the Whales with "Dee"(Dee SUN only)

Seafloor Science ROV

Squid 4 Kids

Surfrider Foundation

The Marine Mammal Center

The Wahine Project

U.S. Coast Guard Monterey Station

Ventana Wildlife Society

Western Flyer Foundation (NEW)

Music Program:


The musical program this year features another eclectic lineup, including the Pacific Pop ‘n Jazz big band, Saxophonia and the Watsonville Woods ; Keyboard players Michael  Martinez, Richard Carr  and Nicholas Fettis and his “Orca”stra; Jonah & The Whale Watchers, Paulette Lynch with Celtic Roads, Philip Price, Ron Friedman and Dave Holodiloff. There will also be performances by the hula dancers from Hi’ilani O’ Ke Kai OCC and the Whalefest “Jammers”.  For more information, please check back on our website at


Music Schedule:

(Subject to change)


Saturday, March 18, 2023

11:00-11:30 Monterey High Drum Line

 11:30-12:00 Monterey High School Jazz

 12:00 – 1:00 Saxophonia: A saxophone quintet that plays a wide variety of music
 including swing, rock and classical pieces.

1:00-2:00 Pacific Pop 'n' Jazz: A 15-piece community band, based in
 Hollister, that plays big band jazz as well as popular music.

2:00-3:00 Hālau Hula Hi’ilani ‘O Ke Kai- Hawaiian Hula Dancers

 3:00-5:00 Whalefest Monterey Orca-stra Pod

Richard Carr, Nick Fettis & His”Orca-stra”, Dave Holodiloff, Michael Martinez, Philip Price - Blends of whale songs, invigorating original music, sea chanties, pop, rock 'n' roll

Sunday, March  19, 2023

 11:00-12:00 HOLYSEA – RachAel Williams & Company, Ocean Colored Indie Pop Music

 12:00-1:00 Celtic Roads - Paulette Lynch on Hammered Dulcimer, Pat Skinner on Mandolin & Guitar, Jackie Pierce on Fiddle

1:00-2:00 Ron Friedman - Ukulele and Flute  - A mixture of classical, popular music, jazz and show tunes

2:00-3:00 Whalefest Jammers

3:00 –5:00 Jonah & The Whale Watchers  - The Best of Reggae


Whalefest Symposium 2023


About the 2-Day Symposium:

The 2-Day Symposium at the conference room in the Heritage Harbor (see map) features an outstanding line-up of speakers, subject to change! The schedule is listed below

For detailed information, please go to

13th Annual Whalefest Monterey Symposium Schedule


11:00 – 11:30 am

Lisa Wooninck, Ph.D, MBNMS:  “Whale Conservation and Climate Change in National Marine Sanctuaries”

11:45 – 12:30 pm

Michael Kelly, MBARI: “Construction of MBARI’s New Research Ship R/V David Packard"

12:30 – 2:00 pm 

***Lunch Break***

2:00 – 2:45 pm

Peggy Stap, Marine Life Studies & The Whale Entanglement Team (WET)® : “Saving Whales – The Anatomy of a Disentanglement Response”

3:00 – 3:45 pm

Fred Sharpe, Ph.D., Alaska Whale Foundation: “Lord of the Rings – Humpback Whales Blow Bubble Tori for Humans”

4:00 – 4:45 pm

John Ryan, Ph.D., MBARI: "Foraging Strategies of Oceanic Giants as Seen from Outer Space & Heard from Inner Space"


SUNDAY, March 19, 2023

11:00 – 11:45 am

Andrew DeVogelaere, Ph.D.,  MBNMS: “Discoveries in the Deep”

12:00 – 12:45 pm

Tim Markowitz, Marine Mammal Center: California Coastal Bottlenose Dolphins Ranging North to Monterey Bay, San Francisco Bay… and Beyond”

12:45 – 2:15 pm 

***Lunch Break***

2:15 – 3:00 pm

Will Oestreich, Ph.D., MBARI: “Using Sound to Explore the Lives of Vocal Marine Predators and Their Prey”

3:15 – 4:00 pm

Amanda Kahn, Ph.D., Moss Landing Marine Lab : The secret lives of sponges: Understanding ancient animals at their own pace”

4:15 – 5:00 pm

Bryant Austin, photographer: “Eye to Eye with Whales” 

Whalefest Monterey Sponsors 

Whalefest Monterey is supported by many outstanding sponsors including the Arts Council for Monterey County, thanks to support from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, Fisherman’s Wharf Association, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Marine Life Studies, Save the Whales,Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey County Bank, Nicora Law Offices, Pacific Grove Animal Hospital, Glastonbury, Inc. and the Wecker Group.

Media sponsors include Monterey Bay Parent, Monterey County Weekly, Monterey Herald, Foolish Times, Shagbag Radio Show on KION Radio 1460 AM and 101.1 FM, Sundays with Sinatra Radio Show, KMBY Radio 95.9 FM and 1240 AM, KAZU Radio 90.3 FM, KSBW TV Action News 8, Central Coast ABC, Estrella TV Costa Central, KAZU 90.3 FM.

Discounted Hotel Rooms

Special Whalefest Monterey discount room rates are available at some local Monterey hotels for March 17, 18, and 19, 2023, including:


The Best Western DeAnza Inn located at 2141 North Fremont, 831-646-8300,


Also, there will be discount room rates at the BLu Pacific Hotel at 2250 North Fremont in Monterey. Please call the hotel directly to arrange the discounted rate.  

831-373 3081


The Inn at 1252 Monterey is located at 1252 Munras Avenue: 831 372-2908. 

For more information to or or call 831-238-0777 or email [email protected]