Coast Explorer Magazine - The Explorer's Guide to the Oregon Coast and Washington Coast
Facebook Email Twitter Instagram Pinterest
Read Coastal Explorer Visit Destinations in Coastal Explorer Coastal Explorer Calendar of Events
It's Winter Migration Season for Gray Whales along the Northwest Coast
Published: 09/24/2012
 
Whale watchers, with binoculars in hand, spot spouts from this viewpoint at Oswald West State Park.
Whale watchers, with binoculars in hand, spot spouts from this viewpoint at Oswald West State Park.

Winter's south migration of Gray Whales occurs from mid-December through mid-January every year.

It's the season when one of the coast's biggest and most popular visitors can be spotted spouting just off the shores of the Northwest coastline as they migrate south for the winter. Annually, from mid-December through mid-January, more than 18,000 Gray Whales migrate between Alaska's Bering Sea to the Baja lagoons of Mexico. During this winter migration whale-watchers can spot these mammoth marine mammals along the coast. Most of the whales swim about five miles from the shore, but there are some that move to within one mile, making them more visible to onlookers.

While the Gray Whale migration can span about a month during the typical peak of the migration, between December 26 through 30, a program called "Whale Watching Spoken Here" assists visitors in spotting the gigantic mammals. This program enlists volunteers at dozens of sites along the coast from Ilwaco, Washington to Crescent City, California to help viewers learn facts and spot whales on their migration south in the winter and also north in the spring.

Gray Whales blow about every 45 seconds as they swim, making it easier for viewers to track their progress through the water. The whales stay under water for three to five minutes at a time when they are feeding, but can stay under for as long as 30 minutes. Some 400 resident whales along the coast remain all year in their favorite food-rich areas, but for most, the bi-annual migration in spring and winter provides the most opportunities for viewer sightings.

For more information about whale watching, volunteer opportunities and whale viewing sites contact the Depoe Bay Whale Center, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Newport, Oregon (541) 765-3407

2013-2014 Whale Watching Weeks:
Winter: December 26-31, 2013
Spring: March 22-29, 2014

Click here for more information.

Search
MORE TO EXPLORE
 
Oswald West State Park, between Cannon Beach and Manzanita, is an excellent place to indulge a desire for hiking, photography... [read more]
Lincoln City Getaway... with Your Dog Savvy dogs know that Lincoln City's abundance of pet-friendly amenities let pooches travel in... [read more]
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a series of twelve guided paddle trips through the heart of Siletz... [read more]
Sponsored Links
  • Lincoln City
    Featured Destination
    A casino resort, golf course, kite-flying, the Whale Watching Center, beaches, parks and wildlife-viewing all await you in Lincoln City.
  • Lincoln City Activities and Attractions
    Located minutes from the casino, this 18-hole golf couse is yet another way for us to showcase how “It’s Better...
  • Seaside Activities and Attractions
    More than 20 great stores all under one roof. Ride the carousel, have an old-time photo taken, get your portrait...
  • Manzanita
    Featured Destination
    Oregon's Tillamook Coast is a natural wonder from Manzanita to Neskowin, enjoy beaches, bays, cheese and seafood.
Subscribe
to Coast Explorer
Subscribe to Coast Explorer Magazine now and don't miss another issue featuring our beautiful photography and design, interesting feature stories and guides to coastal attractions, events, dining, shopping, arts and lodging. Annual subscriptions (3 issues) are only $15