Peak ‘traffic’ expected for spring whale watch week March 20-27
Rain or shine, whale traffic off the Oregon coast should be at its peak for the annual spring watch week March 20-27, according to Park Ranger Morris Grover of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s Whale Watching Center at Depoe Bay.
“This migration is off to a fast start,” said Grover. “That usually means it will reach its peak before the end of the month, like next week.”
More than 400 trained volunteers will be at 26 “Whale Watching Spoken Here” sites from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. during the week. They will be there to answer questions and give advice about spotting some of the 18,000-plus Gray whales cruising north from their breeding grounds off Mexico’s Baja coast to their
summer feeding grounds in the Arctic.
Weather forecasts notwithstanding, Grover advises people to keep two facts in mind about the whales. “We may have iffy weather that makes them hard to see sometimes, but the whales are always out there,” he said. “Secondly, they’re hungry. That means that they come closer to shore looking for food, so you have a better chance to see them.”
Visitors can find more information and viewing help from 10 a.m-4 p.m. each day of the spring whale watching week at the Depoe Bay center. The Oregon State University/Sea Grant Hatfield Marine Science Center in nearby Newport also offers presentations that include children story times.
Maps of the “Whale Watching Spoken Here” viewpoints, information on charter boat and airplane tours, and whale watching tips are online at www.whalespoken.org.
OPRD coordinates the whale watch weeks with support from the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston, Washington State Parks, and U.S. Cellular.