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Winter WhaleFest set to make a splash this weekend


Kicking off this long weekend with Victor Harbor’s annual festival, whale watching season officially returns to South Australia.

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City of Victor Harbor Mayor, Dr Moira Jenkins, said Southern Right Whales have always been a significant part of Victor Harbor’s environment and history and Encounter Bay has long been recognised as a breeding and nursery area and therefore plays a role in the recovery of the endangered species.

“A number of official whale sightings have already been recorded this year, and the Winter WhaleFest is a fitting way to embrace the whale season,” Jenkins said.

Festivities launch on Saturday with the Ramindjeri Welcoming of the Whales and Smoking Ceremony at the amphitheatre next to the Soldiers Memorial Gardens at 9:00 am.

“The Ramindjeri and Ngarrindjeri people have a deep connection to country, and Southern Right Whales have tremendous spiritual significance, as told in the Kondoli dreaming,” Jenkins said.

“The ceremony is important to acknowledge Ramindjeri and Ngarrindjeri people as the traditional owners of our beautiful land and surrounding waters, and recognise their connection to our marine life.”

The smoking ceremony officially starts the whale watching season each year in Victor Harbor.

After the ceremony, there will be whale talks, whale workshops, whale spotter training, beach tours, a market and live entertainment around Warland Reserve and Railway Plaza.

Jenkins said the opening events are all free and family-friendly.

“At this Saturday’s market, you can expect to see everything from health foods to Afro-Brazilian bone throwing. There will also be local food and beverages, live music and plenty of handmade goods,” she said.

The Winter WhaleFest will continue with a NAIDOC march on Wednesday, June 22, and already proving to be popular is a Ngarrindjeri storytelling session at the Victor Harbor Library, weaving workshops at the Coral Street Art Space and a music performance at the Victa Cinema.

“Rug up and bring your binoculars! Don’t forget to check out the SA Whale Centre’s online whale sighting log, which is updated with live information, to see where whales have been spotted on our coast,” Jenkins said.

The latest sighting recorded on the South Australia Whale Centre sighting log was on the morning of 4 June at Victor Harbor of one or two Humpback whales off the coast with several pods of dolphins.

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