Sitka Whale Fest 2014

The Sitka Whale Fest, sponsored by the Sitka Sound Science Center, is a multidisciplinary feast.  It mixes a science symposium with an arts fair, contests of ocean knowledge, music and dance performances, poetry, eating, and getting out on the water to visit the whales that the festival honors.  This year’s theme was gismos and gadgets.  For a gadget nut like me it was a gas.  I saw drones to track whales and sea lions, satellite trackers that are shot into the fins of whales, cameras attached to the heads of seals with epoxy glue, pressure resistant instrument pods sent down with fishermen’s long lines to photograph and measure the deep, all sorts of interesting stuff.  And there were some old gismos as well, displayed by the Sitka Marine Heritage Society, even old View Masters.  Kids made paper mache killer whales to hang from the light fixtures and the shantyman from the Maritime Museum at Mystic Seaport led us in some rousing worksongs.  It is a great annual event, fun, educational and inspiring.  I love it when the whole town turns out for an event, and when dozens of visitors from all over come to join us.

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