Oregon Coast Whale Watching and Weather Expected to be Awesome
(Depoe Bay, Oregon) – Great weather means easily seen whales along the Oregon coast, and the region has been seeing plenty of both recently. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is gearing up for a flood of visitors during whale watch week, and the weather outlook seems good for that week – which also coincides with spring break.
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."
Linda Taylor, with the center, said in early March there already some 90 whales spotted by the center in the month. This week that number has risen to 130, as of Wednesday.
At least part of that was the exceptional weather the coast experienced in the first two weeks of the month. If there were any other factors in there being so many, Taylor said they couldn’t be sure.
“It may all be weather related,” Taylor said.
Around 30 to 40 cetaceans were being spotted each day for a while in early March, Taylor said. But stormy waves blocked the view of the whales when storms hit by mid March.
The whales appear to be farther out than usual this spring, however. Taylor most seem to be drifting by Oregon’s coast at least four miles away – but they’re still easily spotted with binoculars.
Taylor said it’s not unusual for them to be out that far, but usually more are spotted a bit closer, even just a mile offshore.
“The last couple of years though they seem to be staying out around three miles,” Taylor said.
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 http://www.whalespoken.org. 541-765-3304.
It looks like the weather will largely cooperate for spring breakers and whale watchers.
Spring break for many begins on Friday, which is predicted to be sunny and in the mid 60’s along the coast.
The main chunk of spring break begins with periods of rain and temps in the low 50’s on Monday.Weather forecasters are calling for similar temperatures the rest of the week, but Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will have some showers on and off. Friday, more showers are predicted. For more Oregon Coast Spring Break Weather
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