Dec. 31, 2019 — Gray whales are on the move south again this December and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is celebrating the migration with the annual Whale Watching Week, which ends today.
Volunteers from the Whale Watching Spoken Here program will be stationed at 24 sites along the Oregon coast during the event. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day, they’ll offer whale watching tips and facts about the animals.
A map of the 24 volunteer whale watch sites can be found on whalespoken.org.
The website states, “In the winter, Whale Watching Spoken Here volunteers watch nearly 25,000 gray whales from mid-December through mid-January as they travel south to the warm lagoons of Baja Mexico.”
Every winter, gray whales migrate south from Alaska to the warm calving lagoons off the coast of Baja, Mexico. Whale Watching Week coincides with the highest frequency of whales swimming down the coast; roughly 30 whales pass by per each hour.
Luke Parsons, an OPRD ranger with the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, says one of the goals of the event is to create awareness and compassion for whales and other marine life.
“Whales are a special part of the Oregon coast,” he said. “We’re very proud to work with our volunteers to help visitors connect with the whales and our oceans.”
The Whale Watching Spoken Here program places volunteers at great whale watching sites during the two official watch weeks each winter. The official Whale Watch Weeks typically take place between the Christmas Holiday and New Year’s Day and during the last week in March.
For more than 40 years, trained volunteers have helped visitors watch whales at sites in three states along the Pacific Northwest coast.
“We definitely know whale watching,” the website continues. “Last year, the Whale Watching volunteers spoke with over 52,000 visitors from around the globe. Thank you volunteers!”