Whale Watching Week: Popular Oregon Coast Event Canceled | New


The COVID-19 pandemic has once again canceled the popular winter whale-watching week that draws people from Columbia County to the Oregon coast.

A gray whale emerges from the ocean near the Oregon coastline.

The watch

Visitors to the coast, including those in Columbia County, are encouraged to find safe spots to watch migrating whales.

“Volunteer support and access to the Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay has been canceled for winter and spring whale sightings in 2020 and 2021, so the last four opportunities,” the department spokesperson said. of Oregon Parks and Recreation, Chris Havel. “We’ll be back with the volunteer team as soon as it’s safe.”

Whale Watching Week is normally held from December 27 to 31. Havel said visitors to the coast wanting to see the whales under the canceled situation have faced limited opportunities since spring 2020.

“You don’t need any equipment, but wide-field binoculars and spotting scopes can help you zoom in after spotting the puff of water vapor with your naked eye,” did he declare. “After seeing the sign, start following south to follow the whale’s journey.”

Havel said morning viewing was best.

“If it’s not totally overcast, then you’re not fighting the sun looking west,” he said. “There are plenty of tips online for whale watching in Oregon.

Havel urges beach visitors to take extra precautions along the shoreline due to winter conditions.

  • Be sure to stay well back from the edges of the cliffs. There are fences in some places, and respect them, but not everywhere. Be your own safety coach and be careful. After rain and windstorms, the edges of the cliffs are unstable and can give way without warning.
  • Check the weather and bring the right clothes to stay warm and dry.

Despite the pandemic, the whales continue their annual migration.

“In winter, we are lucky enough to see nearly 20,000 gray whales from mid-December to mid-January as they travel south to the warm lagoons of Baja Mexico,” he said. . “After giving birth, there is a northward migration in the spring.”

According to Havel, people are fascinated by large wild animals for good reason.

“People are smart and good at inventing and building ways to survive and thrive, and wildlife like whales do the same with awesome power,” he said. “There is still a mystery to their lives, and seeing them in action is a thrill. Seeing them in real life is also a reminder of how we affect all marine life, and have a responsibility to eliminate pollution and to be careful stewards of the planet’s resources.”

Havel adds that people are naturally drawn to the beauty, mystery and power of whales.

“But we also appreciate being reminded of our place in these natural systems,” and it makes us all feel like part of the family,” he said.

While the cancellation of Whale Watching Week may have an economic impact for coastal businesses, Havel said there have been so many other disruptions in the past two years that people have been adjusting.

“Some people may choose not to participate in whale watching if there are no volunteers available to help them, but many people have always done it solo, and there are also boat tours private,” Havel said. “Those interested in the guided tour experience should check with Travel Oregon and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association for more information.”


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