I’ve had a few requests to tell of my trip to WhaleFest 2012. So here goes.

2011 was its first year. And it was such a huge success that this year they moved the event to larger premises. The Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel. Its a rather special venue for this particular event, as thirty years ago, in this very hotel, the IWC (International Whaling Commission) agreed to stop whaling.
Thirty years on, dedicated charities continue to fight for the rights of whales. Its a never ending fight.
I sat in on a talk, chaired my Mark P Simmonds, on the thirty years on. There were a few folk on the panel that were present when the yes vote occurred. They set the scene so well I could imagine being there, in the conference room with them thirty years ago. Just imagine, something you’ve fought for, for so long. Rejection, excuses, and delays year after year. Meanwhile thousands of whales continued to be killed inhumanely each year. And then the yes. Yes to no more murdering of these animals. Such euphoria!

Back to WhaleFest. I went down to help out with the WDC (Whale & Dolphin Conservation). Its only a two day event and it flew by so very quickly I really didn’t get a chance to see much of it. However, I got to know some of the WDC head office staff, putting faces and characters to names, which was lovely.

Fifty-ish exhibitors, all to do with the conservation, research, or release of dolphins and whales, along with whale watching holidays, clothes, books, jewellery, photography, and art.
There was: a storytelling room, where published authors told tales or discussed their new books; whale/dolphin artists; workshops for both kids and adults; a cinema of the sea, showing 11 films per day; virtual whale watching trips; two ‘spouting off’ lecture theatres with talks by researchers, experts, and celebs (Mark Carwardine, Bill Oddie); a hall full of activities for kids; scuba and re-breather trials; the ‘Great whale sanctuary’ filled with life-sized whales and dolphins; and much more.

I have to say that I was a tad disappointed with the life-sized bottlenose dolphin, as it portrayed a ‘normal’ bottlenose dolphin, not our four metre long Moray Firth big beasties. Next year can there please be both sizes?

I definitely recommend a wee visit next year if interested in whales, dolphins, and porpoises – whether you are adult, family, normal public, student, scientist – there is something for everyone. 2 & 3 November 2013. Xx
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About Olivia N Masi

From art college drop-out, to office space-planner, to back-packer, to air stewardess, to brolly babe, to model agent, to wildlife conservationist. How? I've always believed in jumping at every opportunity that comes my way. This has taken me along some bizarre career paths. None of which I regret. I have been to amazing places and met fascinating people. And having worked in the motor sport industry I've sadly experienced too many beloved friends take one adrenalin step too many. I think of them always. I've hung out with pop-stars, sports personalities, and millionaires. I reached a point when nothing but VIP would do. And then something happened. My pops passed away and I felt the need to reconnect with my Italian side. Whilst in Italy, I learnt to be resourceful, to recycle everything, to listen to the valley, to grow my own veg, to catch and tame feral cats, and to follow my heart. My heart led me to a desire to save this beautiful Earth, and all the wonderful life upon it. And so I read, and then I studied with the Open University. I suddenly found myself accepted on a BSc in Wildlife Conservation, having left school with pitiful qualifications. So here I am. A qualified Wildlife Conservationist. A scientist I suppose. I love nothing more than to listen to birdsong, and watch, learn and photograph wildlife. So here is to me getting the perfect job where I can contribute to saving one of Earth's beautiful species. Do I miss the glamour of the old life? The VIP lifestyle? The petrol-head adrenalin? The buzz of being a successful business owner? Only occasionally. Though it seems more like the distant dreams of a previous life.
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