Friday, March 15 2013, 01:00 PM CDT
Whale watching week set to begin
DEPOE BAY, Ore.-- Spring whale watching week begins March 23 on the Oregon coast.
The first gray whales heading northward on their annual spring migration have already been spotted from the Oregon STate Parks Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay. The number of migrating gray whales usually peaks in the last week of March.
More than 200 trained volunteers will be at 24 "Whale Watching Spoken Here" sites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from March 23-30. They will be there to answer questions and share tips about spotting some of the 18,000 gray whales cruising north from their breeding grounds on Mexico's Baja coast to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas.
Visitors wishing to spot some of these passing giants should come to the coast with binoculars and rain gear and seek out the "Whale Watching Spoken Here" signs at any of the 24 viewpoints. This time of year, most of the whales can be spotted about 1-3 miles off shore, but whale watchers can also check in closer for the occasional whale searching for food or for an early mother and calf. Clear days with calm wind and seas make it easier to spot the whales.
Visitors can find additional information and viewing guidance from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day of the Spring Whale Watching Week at the OPRD Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay. The Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center in nearby Newport also offers daily programming, including 30-minute whale skeleton tours and marine mammal presentations.