180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Whale Sightings on Oregon Coast At Record
Levels This Year
|Whale photos courtesy Whale Watch Center and Morris Grover
(Depoe Bay, Oregon) – The weather may be cold but
the whale viewing will be hot between Christmas and New Year’s Eve,
as the Whale Watching Spoken Here” week gets ready to kick into
high gear, running December 26 to January 1.
During this week, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., volunteers will
be stationed at overlooks and parks all over the Oregon coast, helping
the public learn about gray whales, and spot them in the ocean. Volunteers
will be at the Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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This time around could be an especially engaging one, as
officials say whale sightings have been running at record levels all year.
Morris Grover, with the Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay, said the rush
is already on, with whales well on their way during their southbound migration.
a press release, Grover said sightings of whales have been smokin’
all year long, and it could mean a bonanza of whales and their tails for
tourists to the Oregon coastline.
“Weather always plays a part in determining how many
whales are seen,” Grover said. "Otherwise, I see no reason
why our counts shouldn’t follow this year’s trend. The number
of sightings recorded last spring was the highest it has been in more
than 10 years. We also had a very good summer for whale watching on the
Weather can interfere with whale watching not because they
are annoyed or frightened by heavy surf, but because tall waves make it
hard to see them.
"Rough weather presents a visual whale watching problem,”
Grover said. “A whale’s back or tail usually would only be
visible about three to six feet above the water line. A four- to eight-foot
wave would make them ‘invisible’ to watchers looking across
the waves. Even the whale’s spout that could be as tall as 12 feet
is usually blown sideways by the wind, making it only three to four feet
tall. We have seen whales during storms, but that is usually when a swell
pushes the whale up to where we can see it.”
In October, Grover and his crew noticed a brief dramatic
decline in whale sightings immediately after the big storms of that month.
But the two are probably not directly related. Whales react more to their
food sources, which may have been tossed around and jostled into hiding
during heavy surf events.
“The whales will migrate regardless
of weather,” Grover said. “They are driven by nature to get
to the Baja for birthing; pregnant females are usually the first whales
headed south. Weather is just something they live with. It’s their
ocean and they are used to it.”
|Whale Watch Center, Depoe Bay
A flat ocean is better for spotting them. In fact,
Keith Chandler, with the Seaside Aquarium, says he spots more whales in
Seaside during the fall's "second summer" months - when there
is the least wind at any time of the year - because the waves are at their
on that here.
Even in bad weather, Grover said visitors “always have a chance”
to spot a whale by following these tips offered by volunteers:
- Have your binoculars ready, but watch with your eyes.
"When you locate a blow, then bring up your binoculars for a closer
look," said Grover.
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- Learn the diving and traveling habits of the whales.
"Ask a volunteer, or go to our whale watching web site at (www.whalespoken.org)
so you will know how often and where they may surface."
If possible, use the morning light, which helps a watcher spot blows.
"Afternoon light reflects off the water, shining in your eyes and
making viewing difficult. Also, the sea is usually calmer in the mornings
because the winds are quieter at those hours."
Grover added that the 28 official whale watching
locations offer the best chances for seeing whales. "We've selected
the very best viewpoints. Although whales can be visible anywhere along
the coast at this time of year, viewing from the beaches offers the poorest
angles." More information about "Whale Watching Spoken Here"
sites, exhibits and related products and services is online at www.whalespoken.org.
This is the 30th year of the twice-annual event,
which in recent years expanded by adding a summertime whale watch week
for the central coast.
Whale Watch Sites (from Washington to Florence
- does not include south coast):
and Clark Interpretive Center – at Ilwaco, Washington
Ecola State Park - Cannon Beach
Neahkahnie Mountain, at turnout – above Manzanita
Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint – just west
of Tillamook, north of Oceanside
Cape Lookout – at the tip of the cape (a 2.5-mile
hike), between Oceanside and Pacific City
Cape Kiwanda - Pacific City
Inn at Spanish Head – Lincoln City (lobby on 10th
Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint – just north
of Depoe Bay
Whale Watch Center and sea wall – Depoe Bay
Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint – just s. of
Cape Foulweather: Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint
– just north of Newport
Devil's Punch Bowl State Natural Area at Otter Rock –
north of Newport
Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Outstanding Natural Area
Don A. Davis Memorial Park – Newport, Nye Beach:
at the kiosk
Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site - Newport
Cape Perpetua Overlook – s. of Yachats
Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center – s. of Yachats
Cook's Chasm, Cape Perpetua – s. of Yachats
Sea Lion Caves – north of Florence, at the turnout
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Cape Property Services.
Dozens of homes in that dreamy,
rugged stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita known as Arch
Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with
a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces,
decks, and fire pits or barbecues. Call about tempting winter specials
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City Vacation Homes
Something for everyone: smaller homes
with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront
or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and
fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to
the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies: fireplaces,
multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs,
cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another
sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes
– ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have
seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230
per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com.
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a
double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck.
Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person
romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate
oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed,
fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family
reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect
to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly.
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at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south
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here for video of storm aftermath
for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The
little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they
run across your feet
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports
- Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings,
along with weekly lodging availability reports
coast mileage chart & map
trips, suggested itineraries
for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles
Coast Real Estate
Things to Do
Coast Complete Guides (every beach access,
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Where the Columbia meets the Pacific,
Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history
The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family
fun & broad, sandy beaches
A mysterious lighthouse, upscale
yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca
Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and
Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook
& an oceanfront ghost town
The hidden secret of the coast: Cape
Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden
cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling
bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged &
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy