With March weather on the Oregon Coast often swinging from lion to lamb and back again multiple times a day, visitors will be relieved to find that whale watching does not necessarily mean standing outside for hours on end.
Spring Whale Watch Week, which runs from Saturday, March 23, to Sunday, March 31, sees volunteers stationed at 24 “Whale Watching Spoken Here” sites along the coast, with several indoor options in addition to the al fresco sites.
Whether indoors or out, anyone taking the time to look westward should spot some of the roughly 20,000 gray whales migrating northward from the breeding grounds on Mexico’s Baja coast to the summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas.
Volunteers will be on hand at each site from 10 am to 1 pm each day to answer questions and share tips.
With whales tending to travel between one and three miles from the shore, watchers with a pair of binoculars or even just the naked eye stand a great chance of seeing the telltale spouts — great plumes of water propelled up to 12 feet high as the leviathans surface to exhale.
The Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center will again serve as the hub for the week’s activities, with Oregon State Park rangers and volunteers welcoming visitors from 10 am to 4 pm each day.
Meanwhile Cape Perpetua Visitor Center near Yachats has an indoor viewing gallery where spotters can stay warm and dry. More adventurous souls can set up in the rugged West Shelter, which offers breathtaking views of the ocean below, unobstructed by glass.
Indoor whale spotting is also available at the Lookout Gift Shop on Cape Foulweather, the enclosed gazebo in Newport’s Don Davis Park, as well as from Fathoms Restaurant & Bar at the Inn at Spanish Head in Lincoln City — which has the distinction of being the only official whale-watching site where you can also get a martini.
For more information, go to www.whalespoken.org.