Although the May 2021 in-person Penn Cove Water Festival has been cancelled, in its place we will have a Virtual Water Festival event during Orca Month in June, partnering with Orca Network.

(See Penn Cove Water Festival for details.)

2011 Whale Wheel

2011 Penn Cove Water Festival design
by Coupeville artist Roger Purdue,
creator of Water Festival logos
since 1993

Artist Roger Purdue wants to see whales honored, and he wants them to return to Penn Cove. He wonders if the whales remember that bad things happened to them in the Cove, and if they could be watching and waiting for us to do the right things, so they can return.

All the right things happened to bring about the creation of the Whale Wheel. A magnificent piece of cedar was about to be reduced to kindling, and though Roger could no longer do it himself, a group of talented carvers was willing to do the work.

The wheel shape reminds us of the Native American Circle of Life, and similar teachings by professor David Suzuki on the continuity of life. Just as all of the atoms in our bodies were part of other life forms before us, they will be dispersed to yet other living things after us; perhaps the salmon, the bear or the whale.

Holding to tradition, the Penn Cove Water Festival is represented by an original design by Tsimshian artist Roger Purdue.

This year's design is the new "Whale Wheel" design, depicting 5 Orcas in the Northwest Native art style. The design will not only adorn the 2011 Water Festival T-shirts, posters and fine art prints, but is also featured on the new Whale Wheel being carved by local Coupeville carver's under Roger's direction. The carved whale wheel will replace the salmon wheel, carved by Roger and unveiled at the 1995 Penn Cove Water Festival.

The immense, beautiful interactive salmon wheel has been a favorite focal point of the Coupeville waterfront, with residents and visitors giving it a spin as they walk by. The salmon wheel will be "retired" and put on display in the Island County Historical Society Museum, and replaced by the new Whale Wheel. Roger chose orcas for the new design of the wheel, to honor the orcas and to remember the whales taken and killed during the Penn Cove orca captures of the 1970s.

Carvers of the new Whale Wheel, designed by Coupeville artist and carver Roger Purdue: Back row - L to R: Dick Weber, Peter Wolff, Gordon Grant, Joseph Albert. Front row - L to R: Jim Short, Chris Eliassen, Phil Kempbell. Photo by Lynda Imburgia

The donation of Roger's art talent is reproduced on T-shirts, posters and fine art prints, which can be purchased at the Information Booth at the foot of the Coupeville Wharf. The Water Festival Association appreciates Roger's generosity, which raises funds to support the event and contributes to its ongoing success. Posters and Fine Art Prints are also available year round at the Island County museum at the corner of Alexander and Front Streets in Coupeville.

Purchase T-shirts with this year's Penn Cove Water Festival Logo at the Harbor Gift N Kayak Rental on the historic Coupeville Wharf.