Ready to watch some whales?

Ready to watch some whales?

FLORENCE, Ore. - Spring whale watch week starts Saturday on the Oregon Coast.

More than 200 volunteers will be on hand at 24 designated whale watching sites (on map at right) along the coast to answer questions and help visitors spot some of the 18,000 migrating gray whales heading north to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea.

IF YOU GO: Share your vidoes and photos

During the spring migration, the whales are more spread out than during the winter - 6 per hour, versus 30 per hour in winter - but they are closer to shore and sometimes stop to eat.

Record numbers of gray whales have already been seen heading north on their annual migration up the Oregon coast.

The Oregon State Parks Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay predicts this is a good omen for spring whale watch week.

Whale watching sites are staffed by volunteers daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the week.

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 Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay.

The Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport also offers presentations that include children's story times. 

Whale watching tips

  • Bring your binoculars and dress for the weather. Focus your binoculars and have them ready, but watch with your eyes. When you locate a blow, then bring up your binoculars for a closer look.
  • Learn the diving and feeding habits of the whales so you will know how often and where they may surface.
  • Morning light (with the sun at your back) is often helpful for spotting blows. Afternoon light reflects off the water and makes viewing difficult.
  • Calmer days are better whale watching days, by land, sea or air!
  • Any spot with an ocean view may yield whale sightings, but higher locations are better than sandy beaches.

For more about whale watching and a list of commercial charter boat tour providers, visit the OPRD whale watching web page.