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Whale Watch Week
Depoe Bay

oregon whale watch week

March 23-30 2013

One of the joys of living on the Oregon Coast is spotting whales, especially during the state’s two official Whale Watch weeks in spring and fall.

More whales have been sighted along the coast in a few days this spring than during an entire week last year, says interpretive ranger Ian Fawley at the Depoe Bay Whale Watch Center.

“We’ve seen more than 1,400” since Whale Watch Week began Sat., he said. “Already, we’ve seen 500 more than last year.”

Spring Whale Watch week last year logged 1,082 whales.

More flukes (whale’s tails) and breaches (when the whale rises out of the wave) have been spotted too, likely because of better visibility, Fawley said. While it’s been clear and dry along most of the coast, fog in Southern Oregon lifted at just the right time some times to allow for more sightings.

An estimated 18,000 whales migrate along the Oregon coast each year, headed to Baja, Mexico in winter, then to the Bering Sea off Alaska to feed in spring and summer.
Whales usually travel one to three miles from shore in spring, although they’ve been out three to five miles most days this week, Fawley said.

“They’re laughing at us,” he joked.

At Ecola, traditionally one of the best places for sightings, whales have been only a couple of hundred yards from the shore, Fawley reported.

From now until Whale Watch Week ends Sat., hundreds of volunteers are stationed daily at 24 sites, from Cape Disappointment in the north to Crescent City in the South, and at scenic viewpoints and almost every cape along the coast.

They have binoculars to share, and lots of information on Oregon’s wealth of marine life, including the estimate 200 to 400 whales that hang out on our coast year-round. Staff and volunteers are also at the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay to help with whale sightings and provide stats.

For more info, call 541-765-3304 or email See this map for locations of 24 “Whale Watching Spoken Here” sites.

-Written by Kathleen Kenna, all photos by Hadi Dadashian