Spring Whale Watching Week March 20-28, 2021

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Scarback Breaching

Spring Whale Watching Week

Spring Whale Watching Week starts March 20-28, 2021 which means it’s time for the gray whales to make their annual northerly migration.

During this time of the year, whale watching along the Oregon coast is some of the finest opportunities to view the gray whale migration.

Researchers estimate that 25,000 gray whales now live in the eastern north Pacific area. About 30 whales per hour migrate past Depoe Bay during the peak northbound migration.

Throughout February and March, the first to leave the lagoons are males and females. Nursing mothers with their newborns are the last to depart. These whales leave only when their calves are ready for the journey, which is usually from late March to May.

Whale Watching aboard the Whales Tail
Gray whale getting ready for a deep dive

Resident Gray Whales

One thing to keep in mind, some of the best whale watching in Depoe Bay is from June through October. Some gray whales do not continue on to Alaskan waters but stay off the coast of Depoe Bay during the summer months.

This is when our resident whales have returned and taken up residence. As summer approaches we see more and more of our resident gray whales show up.

These resident gray whales stay close to shore to feed in and around the kelp beds on mysid shrimp. Gray whales can eat 2,000 pounds a day of shrimp like amphipods.

Gray whales have no teeth, they strain their food through a baleen, which hangs from the roof of the mouth. Grays whales are the only bottom feeding whales. When they feed, a whale dives to the bottom, rolls on its right side and gulps mouthfuls of their food.

Gray Whale Migration

During the migration gray whales travel about 3-6 miles per hour, and cover about 100 miles a day. It takes them an average of 50-60 days to travel back up to Alaska.

Along the coast of Oregon, gray whales will migrate within 2-5 miles of the shore. Gray whales may pay more attention to water depth than distance from shore.

The coastline may help them navigate the long distance, and being benthic (bottom) feeders, they have evolved with an orientation toward the seafloor where their food is located.

Gray Whale Spyhopping showing it's right eye

For Your Consideration

During this time of the year ocean conditions can be a factor, you have to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. High temperatures average between 50°-60° and rain can be a possibility. While the typical forecast may be overcast and showery, we often experience beautiful clear days that are sometimes very warm. The ocean conditions can be really nice or very rough with high seas and strong winds.

Advance reservations are recommended to maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer. When you book online we ask that you give us a call a day or two before your trip to check on ocean conditions. If we determine that it is too rough for our customers you can get a full refund or reschedule for another day. The number one priority is the safety of our passengers.

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