Whalefest a whale of a time

About 80 people went out on the water Saturday morning to watch whales from fishing vessels and kayaks near Klawock. The whales, sea lions, herring, eagles and other sea birds cooperated by putting on a great show for all who were able to come out.

The Prince of Wales Whalefest and Beachcombers Fun Fair was held March 30 through April 1 and was a great success. The annual event, a part of the Out in the Rain program of outdoors activities, had approximately 600 people participate in a series of events on Prince of Wales Island.

Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an internationally known oceanographer, spoke at area schools and at a public presentation about marine debris and the Japanese tsunami.

Howard Garrett, a whale researcher from Washington, spoke about Orca (killer whale) behavior and culture.

They spoke to approximately 250 students at area schools over the course of the week, and about 225 people in the public presentations at the Craig High School Auditorium.

About 80 people went out on the water Saturday morning to watch whales from fishing vessels and kayaks near Klawock. The whales, sea lions, herring, eagles and other sea birds cooperated by putting on a great show for all who were able to come out.

Approximately 30 people participated in a beach cleanup on Sunday morning, with Dr. Ebbesmeyer present to interpret found objects. Debris was found with Japanese markings, but it could not be conclusively said it was a product of the tsunami. One lucky man from Craig found a glass fishing float as he cleaned the beach on St. Ignace Island.

This event would not have been possible without the work of a dedicated group of volunteers, including boat skippers and artists, and generous donations from the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), the Quality Schools/Quality Students program of the Alaska Association of School Boards, the City of Craig and many others.

SEACC and the US Forest Service have partnered to present a series of recreational opportunities on Prince of Wales Island. The program, “Out in the Rain,” brings people together to do something fun in the woods or waters that surround our communities, and gain a greater appreciation for the natural world. For more information on Whalefest, contact Bob Claus of SEACC at 755-2321 or Victoria Houser with the U.S. Forest Service at 826-1614.

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