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Dana Point Times February 26-March 4, 2021

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Dana Point Times February 26-March 4, 2021

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The Festival of Whales: The Grays are Golden

Welcome to 50 Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales th

2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the Dana Point Festival of Whales. It’s such an honor to celebrate 50 years of our community’s rich heritage as a destination for whale watching. Earlier this year, Dana Point became the first Whale Heritage Site in the U.S., a distinction it shares with Hervey Bay in Australia, the Bluff in South Africa and Tenerife-La Gomera Marine Area in Spain. A Whale Heritage Site recognizes outstanding destinations for responsible and sustainable whale and dolphin watching. I am proud of the work done by Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching

and Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari in helping to earn this important global recognition for Dana Point. Simply put, our community takes great pride in its distinctive role in the migration of thousands of whales each winter season as they pass through Dana Point. We are excited to mark the occasion on March 6 and 7. While this year’s Festival of Whales will be modified due to COVID-19 related restric-

tions, there are still many wonderful events planned in addition to whale watching. From the Splash Dash Virtual Run to art lessons, lectures and music, there will be something for everyone. I am especially looking forward to seeing Wally the Whale, and our staff from the City of Dana Point Recreation Division riding through Dana Point Harbor and handing out sea-life-themed crafts for kids on a specially decorated Under the Sea Trolley. Join me in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Festival of the Whales and in welcoming the gray whales back to the “Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World®.” — Mayor Jamey Federico

Festival of Whales Names 2021 50th Anniversary Logo Design Winner

1ST PLACE Lynlea Michaels, Irvine BY LILLIAN BOYD ynlea Michaels wanted to capture the exhilaration one feels when they first lay eyes on a whale in the ocean. She drew on her past whale watching experience, most recently in Hawaii, just ahead of the lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “You feel this sense of freedom,” Michaels said. “Obviously, whales are not animals we get the privilege of interacting with very often. If you’re an animal lover, there’s this amazing feeling that comes when you see such an incredible being.” Michaels, 32, used pencil, pen and Adobe Illustrator to design her submission for the Festival of Whales’ 50th anniversary logo contest. The festival’s foundation announced in February that Michaels is the winner, and her logo will become the official logo of the Festival of Whales’ golden anniversary cele-


Dana Point Times February 26-March 4, 2021

2ND PLACE Matt Rinehart, San Clemente $100 and 2 whale watching tickets

3RD PLACE Gabriella Kohr, Dana Point $50 and 2 whale watching tickets

bration. This year’s event is set for March 6—a departure from the traditional two-weekend format, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “For this design, I wanted to capture the energy of the ocean and the thrill of seeing such amazing animals playing and enjoying the California sun,” Michaels said. “The groovy text and mid-century colors give a nod to Dana Point’s history as a thriving surf community and the city’s eclectic vibes.” Michaels’ design was the top vote-getter from among 72 entries in the January public online voting period. Michaels, an Irvine resident, is a local designer and artist specializing in costume design and fashion illustration. She studied fashion and media in New York City before embarking on several years of world travel and exploration. Now back in Southern California, she is pursuing an advanced degree in

4TH PLACE Michael O’Connell, Clearwater, FL $50

Costume Design from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Michaels’ win cements her place in the Dana Point Festival of Whales’ half-century-long history, placing her among a distinguished and talented group of logo designers including local amateur artists, Dana Hills High School art students and internationally known professional artists such as John Van Hamersveld and Wyland. “I was really surprised and honored to learn I had won,” Michaels said. “There were a lot of entries that were awesome. I was thrilled. It’s such an honor to have my work shown in that capacity for such a prolific festival. I feel like I’m being part of history.” The winning logo will appear on Festival of Whales 2021 promotional materials including logo merchandise, print and digital media advertising, the official event program, event signage and news media. Page 3

BY ANDREA SWAYNE, EVENT COORDINATOR he celebration of a golden anniversary is a momentous occasion, no matter what the subject of the festivities. Here in Dana Point, a party for our beloved annual California gray whale migration is one such 50year tradition that must not be allowed to slip by unacknowledged because of this pandemic situation we humans have found ourselves in over the past year. How undignified it would be to let these majestic leviathans of the ocean, the largest animals alive on Earth, be forgotten. Will we have to make adjustments? Yes. Will we let it dampen our Dana Point spirit? No! After all, the whales choose to grace our shores on their 10,000-mile-plus roundtrip journey between the warm birthing and calving waters of Baja Mexico and the cold Arctic feeding waters of the Bering Sea, generation after generation. This year’s Festival of Whales will not include many of the customary activities eventgoers have grown to know and love over the years, but the stars of the show are making their presence known and whale sightings have been increasing by the day. Boat capacity and COVID-19 protocols have been in place to provide safe and comfortable whale watching excursions throughout much of the past year, and many opportunities to see these magnificent creatures will be available during the Festival weekend and beyond. Virtual whale watching experiences have also been added to this year’s lineup, along with a number of other virtual experiences, such as lectures and replays of past years’ events. There will be some safely distanced live experiences at the Ocean Institute as well. We have even added a few altogether new events this year. Among this year’s firsts is the Splash Dash 5K and Fun Run virtual race. View a special welcoming and blessing of the whales with local surf legends and indigenous Acjachemen dignitaries in our Pod Cast series. And pay a visit to downtown’s newest restaurant and brewery, Station Craft to try the Festival’s first official beer, Spyhopping, in a custom can featuring the Festival logo. Be sure to shop the Dana Point Harbor merchants and enjoy the great restaurants, as many are offering grab-and-go options and al fresco dining that will allow you to enjoy some great live music while you eat. Due to the added rigors of planning caused by the pandemic, visitors are encouraged to check the Festival website often for new events being added to the lineup daily. And don’t miss out on purchasing your commemorative 50th anniversary T-shirts, hoodies and lapel pins, available on-site near Dana Wharf Plaza. Since 1971, when the Harbor was first being built and whale watching was just getting started, the Festival—founded by Don Hansen of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching and the late Dana Point historian Doris Walker—has become more than a tradition. This springtime fete is part of our culture. And now it’s golden.



Schedule of Events Saturday, March 6



9-9:45 a.m. Marine muralist Wyland continues the Landmark Whale and Dolphin Adventure “Art Lessons in the Wild,” facilitating the most creative experience on the water. Each child participant receives a free gift from Wyland with free coffee for the adults. Children will create their own work-of-art aboard one of the Dana Wharf vessels. Art will be judged by Wyland himself, with multiple winners and a grand prize winner. The grand prize is a special work of art by Wyland, framed and signed, called “A Living Sea” valued at $2,000. Visit festivalofwhales.com to book a reservation.

Tune in online for the Dana Point Historical Society’s annual historic town center Walking Tour. See and hear the stories of historic landmarks, S. H. Woodruff’s 1920s planned community and Bluff Top harbor views, c. 1818 to 1939, that represent the area’s early history. The tour will include an interactive map, a video presentation of the route on YouTube and a web page that will contain the above resources along with additional artifacts. Find the link at festivalofwhales. com on March 6, where it will be available throughout the month.

Wally the Whale and staff from the City of Dana Point Recreation Division will be riding on the decorated Under the Sea Trolley and making stops at different locations in Dana Point Harbor to hand out sea life-themed crafts for children to take home and be creative. The Under the Sea Trolley will stop at Dana Point Harbor Drive and Baby Beach from 9-9:45 a.m.; Dana Point Harbor Drive and Island Way from 10-10:45 a.m.; Dana Point Harbor Drive and Golden Lantern from 1111:45 a.m.; and Mariner’s Village walkway area by Harpoon Henry’s from noon to 12:45 p.m.

CAPT. DAVE’S VIRTUAL SAFARI 8 a.m. Can’t get out on the water? Join Capt. Dave’s for a fun and educational virtual dolphin and whale watching safari. You’ll meet the magnificent whales and dolphins found off the coast of Dana Point, California, the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World® on a pre-recorded safari with live narration from our experienced marine wildlife naturalists. Find the Zoom link at festivalofwhales.com.


KIDS FISHING CLINIC AND TRIP (DANA WHARF DOCKS) 12:15-12:45 p.m.; 1-5:30 p.m. Dana Wharf Sportfishing invites all children to come to their dockside fishing clinic to learn hands-on techniques on fishing from the experts. Prizes will be raffled off at the end of the clinic. After the clinic Dana Wharf will be running a fishing trip from 1-5:30 p.m. Adults are $46 plus license and equipment, children 12 and under fish for free. An extra bonus is the chance of spotting whales, dolphins and other marine life. This trip includes equipment. For more information and reservations call Dana Wharf at 949.496.5794 ext. 7. Pre-registration is required.


This special lecture series is perfect for those who want a one-on-one educational experience; marine biologists and guests present recent findings on local whales, dolphins and other marine mammals. Visit festivalofwhales.com for more information.

SPLASH DASH VIRTUAL 5K AND 1-MILE KIDS’ FUN RUN Come together by staying apart at this year’s Dana Point Festival of Whales Splash Dash Virtual Race. Register online for the 5K or Fun Run at rundanapoint.com. All FIN-ishers will receive a commemorative 50th Anniversary T-shirt and race medal. Pick-up your race items on Friday, March 5 from noon-6 p.m. (or have them shipped directly to you) in the Dana Point Harbor. All proceeds from the Splash Dash benefit the Dana Point Festival of Dana Point Times February 26-March 4, 2021

Whales Foundation and Dana Point Chamber of Commerce.

DANA POINT FINE ARTS ASSOCIATION SHOW & SALE 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Art will be on display at the Harbor Boardwalk along the boat docks in Mariner’s Village on the east side of the Coffee Importers Espresso Bar and Harpoon Henry’s restaurant. Watercolor, oil, acrylic, colored pencil, pastels and photography by many award-winning local artists will be available for purchase. Dana Point Fine Arts annually donates a portion of the proceeds from the show to Dana Hills High School Art Department. For more info on this exhibit, visit danapointfinearts.org.

HARBOR MUSIC SERIES Noon-3 p.m. The Harbor Music Series is presented by the Dana Point Festival of Whales Foundation in the Dana

Wharf Courtyard, Mariner’s Village plaza area in front of Harpoon Henry’s and El Torito, and along the Harbor Walkway in front of Coffee Importers. Enjoy a variety of musical styles and sounds.

OCEAN INSTITUTE ACTIVITIES SCHEDULE 9:30 a.m. Marine Mammal Lecture and Exhibit 10 a.m. Marine Mammal Cruise departs. The 65-foot research vessel, Sea Explorer, is an educational floating lab equipped with underwater cameras, an acoustic hydrophone, onboard computers, video microscopes, touch tanks, and a viewing aquarium. A bowsprit over the water provides any passenger with a breathtaking view of dolphins, whales and sea lions. 10 a.m. Kayak Tour Check-in 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Whale Experiments on the Wharf Whale Experiments on the Wharf Page 4

8 a.m.-4 p.m. Use promo code FOW21 save $10 off all tickets, excludes special pricing at 4 p.m. For reservations call 1.888.224.0603 or visit danawharf.com.

CAPT. DAVE’S DOLPHIN & WHALE WATCHING SAFARI 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Reservations, schedule, and information: 949.488.2828 or visit dolphinsafari.com.

OCEAN INSTITUTE 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information or reservations, please visit oceaninstitute.org or call 949.496.2274.


9-9:45 a.m. Dana Wharf Whale Watching will host “Story Time with Nona The Naturalist” aboard a docked Dana Wharf vessel, and virtually via Facebook Live. Nona Reimer, a retired Master Teacher and science mentor known as “Nona The Naturalist,” will be reading her favorite children’s book on a Dana Wharf Whale Watching vessel while it is docked. Kids will be treated to a fun craft time after the story. Story time is limited to 15 children and one parent. The cost is $8 per child. Book your tickets today at danawharf.com/ whale-watching/story-time-with-nona-the-naturalist or call 949.496.5794.

Both Days of Festival

Both Days of Festival and Beyond



Sunday, March 7

Whale Watching

will allow for 25 spaces per time slot. Tickets $10 per person. Visit festivalofwhales.com or oceaninstitute.org for more information on the various experiments. 12:30 p.m. Marine Mammal Lecture and Exhibit 1 p.m. Marine Mammal Cruise 1:30 p.m. History of Whaling in Orange County (for guests of Spirit of Dana Point Sail) 2 p.m. Spirit of Dana Point Tall Ship Sail. Set sail aboard the schooner Spirit of Dana Point and experience California from the perspective of an early tall ship explorer. Join the crew to help raise sail, handle lines, and steer the ship, or simply sit back, relax and enjoy the majesty of sailing the seas aboard a tall ship. Members receive a 10% discount. Sign up in advance here as space is limited. Walk-ins will only be allowed when space is available.

8 a.m.-4 p.m. During this peak season, 40-50 whales pass by Dana Point each day, using the Dana Point Headland’s 200-foot cliffs near the harbor as a landmark to check their migration path. Enjoy bluff-top viewing from the Headlands Nature Reserve.

All Month Long

Events offered by City of Dana Point

WHALE OF A YOUTH ART & LITERATURE CONTEST Open to children of all ages. Submit a cute story, poem or artwork themed on the California Gray Whale and email to recreation@ danapoint.org. Submittals are due by March 22. The winning entry will receive a gift card to Dana Wharf Sport Fishing & Whale Watching for a whale watching excursion and a whale/ ocean themed gift basket.

WHALE TAIL SCAVENGER HUNT Beginning March 6, embark on a fun scavenger hunt to find 10 decorative wooden whale tails hidden throughout the Dana Point Harbor area. Share a photo of your sighting on social media with the hashtags #DPRecWhaleTailSighting and #festivalofwhales to enter for a chance to win a whale watching trip for a family of four, and a $300 gift card to local Dana Point businesses. Find all 10 whale tails, take a photo standing by each, and email all 10 whale tail photos to recreation@danapoint.org by March 31.


Dana Point Times February 26-March 4, 2021

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Dana Point Times February 26-March 4, 2021

Parking Information

Parking at Doheny State Beach is $3 per hour ($6 minimum/$15 maximum) at the numerous automated payment machine kiosks located throughout the park, or better yet through the Passport Parking app available for smartphones and tablets at ppprk.com/park. The benefit of the Passport Parking payment application is, in addition to making the initial payment for parking, time can also be added remotely from your phone or tablet. Free parking is available in and around the Harbor, along with paid ($3 per hour/$6 min./$15 max.) parking.

Map & Parking (no shuttle service)

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Dana Point Awarded Whale Heritage Site by World Cetacean Alliance BY LILLIAN BOYD ana Point is officially the first Whale Heritage Site in the Americas, as established by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), the world’s largest marine conservation partnership, The WCA is an organization that promotes safe and sustainable whale watching. A Whale Heritage Site is defined by the WCA as “an outstanding location where cetaceans (whales, dolphins, or porpoises) are embraced through the cultural, economic, social, and political lives of associated communities, and where people and cetaceans coexist in an authentic and respectful way.” Donna Kalez and Gisele Anderson, co-directors of the Dana Point Whale Watching Company, began the application process early in 2020 after successfully trademarking Dana Point as the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World in 2019. Kalez is the general manager of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, and Anderson operates Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari with husband Dave Anderson. “To have Dana Point recognized as a Whale Heritage Site is a dream and has been a goal of mine for some time,” Kalez said. “Dana Point has historically been an incredible destination


Dana Point Times February 26-March 4, 2021

to watch and learn about whales and dolphins, and now we are happy to share this with the world.” Kalez says the criteria for acceptance are incredibly challenging, focusing on protection, sustainability, education, research, public access and awareness, as well as requiring a community effort that furthers the purpose of a Whale Heritage Site. “Being the first Whale Heritage Site in the Americas is an amazing accomplishment and serves to further recognize Dana Point and (give) the whales and dolphins that live and visit here the recognition they deserve, as well send a message to the world that Dana Point is also a place that protects and responsibly watches cetaceans,” Anderson said. Both Kalez and Anderson credit the Dana Point Harbor Partners (DPHP), the harbor’s management company tasked with revitalization, for supporting their efforts to secure Dana Point as a Whale Heritage Site. “We are ecstatic that Dana Point has been named the Americas’ only Whale Heritage Site,” said Bryon Ward, Partner of DPHP, and President of Burnham-Ward Properties. “Marine education and specifically whale and dolphin watching is a key pillar of the Harbor’s history and future. This exciting recognition is a testament to our highly experienced whale

watching operators.” In 2020, Dana Point was one of eight candidate destinations from around the world. The World Cetacean Alliance states that each site is unique, providing and contributing in different ways to the criteria for becoming certified. Kalez says that Whale Heritage Sites give tourists a transparent and easy way to select responsible whale and dolphin watching destinations, encouraging them to experience these incredible animals in their natural habitat, in an authentic and respectful way. “To celebrate the abundance and diversity of these magnificent creatures in our local waters, we are currently consulting with marine biologists and artists to create educational exhibits and whale-related public art installations within the Harbor,” Ward said. “As we further revitalize the Harbor in the coming years, we will instill the importance of education, conservation, and viewing whales in their natural habitat.” Elizabeth Cuevas is the Whale Heritage Sites Manager at World Cetacean Alliance. She says the Whale Heritage Site designation is the first step forward in responsible tourism. “This site is of global significance as a place that has developed responsible whale and

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Donna Kalez and Gisele Anderson, co-directors of the Dana Point Whale Watching Company, applied for Dana Point to be designated a Whale Heritage Site in early 2020. Photo: Courtesy of Donna Kalez

dolphin watching practices, while encouraging local people and visiting tourists to celebrate the importance of whales and marine conservation,” Cuevas aid. “The Dana Point community has set a gold standard that other whale watching sites can learn from.” To learn more about the Whale Heritage Sites, go to whaleheritagesites.org/sites or worldcetaceanalliance.org.


Dana Point Times February 26-March 4, 2021

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Profile for Dana Point Times

Festival of Whales Event Guide 2021  

Dana Point Times

Festival of Whales Event Guide 2021  

Dana Point Times


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