By Zach Urness, Statesman Journal

Every time whale watching volunteer Kathy Perry helps a new person spot nature’s largest animal out in the ocean, it gives her a thrill unlike anything else.

The 57-year-old retiree from Sacramento helps answer questions and helps the public in viewing what usually are gray whales making their way up the Oregon Coast at the Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center.

“I meet people from all over the world, from little children to people who are 90 years old,” she said. “When I can help them see their first whale, I just loving being able to share in their excitement. It makes me feel like I am seeing them for the first time myself.”

But Perry can do more than just help people spot whales. Because she’s had instruction from some of the top whale scientists in the world, she can tell them what type of whale they’re looking at, where it’s headed and if it’s likely traveling with a calf.

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Story by Zach Urness