Celebrating summer and thinking about the migration

The fall rains have begun in Depoe Bay and it might not stop for a long long while. We have noticed that our daily gray whale sightings are fewer than the past couple months and this probably means that our summer whales are starting to head south.

We still have been spotting a few each day, around 5, and they have been quite active. Spyhops and breaches have been quite common the past 10 days or so.

The seas are much rougher now that we are getting consistent rain and wind and this does make spotting the whales much more difficult, but as one of our Volunteer Hosts said this morning, “It’s pretty easy to see the whales when they’re jumping out of the water!”

We’ll leave you with a great video taken this summer from Cape Foulweather, also known as Otter Crest, just south of Depoe Bay. In this video you’ll see a beautiful humpback whale really showing off.

March 26th update

It is continuing to be a great whale watch week!

There was a mix of rain and fog almost everywhere today but nevertheless, the whale were out! Volunteers spotted over 325 of these beautiful giants today. We even had reports of orcas again.

The average was about 20 whales visible per site. Our total so far for the whole coast is north of 930 whales spotted in just 9 hours of looking. We are having some great viewing conditions bringing our coast-wide average to above 100 whales per hours being spotted!

Excellent work volunteers!

I just looked at the weather for the rest of the week, and it’s shaping up to be some of the most fantastic weather of the whole spring here on the central coast. Stay tuned- more whales to come for sure!

 

March 25th, 2018- a day for the record books

Sunday the 25th was probably was one of the best day in the past few years!

Hundreds of gray whales spotted, orcas, humpbacks, and dolphins.  Volunteers everywhere got to enjoy sunshine and thousands, I mean thousands of visitors.

Some of the top whale sightings were:

Neahkahnie Mountain- 48

Spanish Head- 26

Cape Foulweather- 26

Cape Perpetua- 30

Shore Acres- 31

Harris Beach-25

Check out yesterday’s YouTube video from Depoe Bay- we have created a few highlights in the comment section.

And we’re back! Spring 18

Day 1 of the Spring 18 whale watch week is in the books.

A little snow up and down the coast this morning was a bit of a shock but the whales didn’t seem to mind too much.

Coast wide conditions seemed better up north today.

53 whales sighted from Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco

23 at Cape Meares Lighthouse and 26 at Cape Lookout.

Coast wide totals were 184 Gray Whales with several breaches reported along the central coast. (not all sites reported yet) I’ll put up some photos tomorrow morning too.

Tomorrow’s weather looks good and we will be ready…

 

 

 

 

We’re back with the Winter 2017 Wrap Up

Wow, just wow.

So we really had it all this year and here at the Whale Center we couldn’t be more pleased.

We started this Watch week off with some awful weather, just terrible.  On Thursday the whole coast only counted 28 whales but the visitors still braved the weather. Over 1,100 people visited our dedicated volunteers and learned about these amazing gray whales.

Then….. the weekend came and the sunshine returned!

Saturday the 30th  and Sunday the 31st  will go down be remembered as some of the best winter whale watching days along the Oregon coast ever. Saturday saw over 3,100 visitors connect with the WWSH volunteers state wide. (Remember this count is just over 3 hours) and on Sunday, at last count 615 gray whales were counted in that same amount of time.

It was amazing.

You know what else is amazing? All of our volunteers! I had the pleasure of visiting some of the sites along the Central Oregon Coast this weekend and every single one of them shared their knowledge and passion for whales in a way that truly makes us proud.

I’ll be posting the official numbers later this week as the paperwork makes its way back to us here in Depoe Bay. More videos and photos coming soon too.

Below is the draft whale count from this winter with more to come.

 

 

Draft Results 17

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 Wrap-up

Whales were easily spotted for the first hour or two of the watch, then another batch of rain and fog moved into much of the coast.

Still a rather successful day! Over 90 whales counted coast-wide and over 1,570 visitors contacted.

Have we mentioned how amazing the WWSH volunteers are! They are sooooo awesome!

*The weather for this weekend is shaping up very nice!

Top 5 for today were:

Harris Beach, Brookings- 13

Don Davis, Newport- 12

Inn at Spanish Head, Lincoln City- 10

Boiler Bay, Depoe Bay- 7

Depoe Bay Whale Center, Depoe Bay- 7

 

 

 

Winter Day 1 wrap up.

Day1Well the whales didn’t seem to mind a little rain, nor did the visitors! The WWSH volunteers were able to educate over 1,200 visitors yesterday about the gray whale migration and more.

The volunteer locations spotted over 80 whales yesterday in some pretty tough conditions. Most of us dealt with some off and on rain and some dense fog, but the south coast had it a little better.

Shore Acres reported 30 whales

Face Rock and Cook’s Chasm both reported 9

Battle Rock had 8

The Whale Center in Depoe Bay watched 7 swim by and had an additional 700 folks come in and look for these gentle giants. 1,900 visitors on day one is an excellent turn out.

Thank you everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we go 2017

It’s hard to believe that we are just a little over one week away from the 2017 Winter Whale Watch Week, but the calendar and the whales are telling us that the migration is beginning!

On December 9th Dr. Bruce Mate updated over 125 volunteers with the latest and most accurate information regarding the gray whales that will be swimming past our coast. The beautiful Oregon Coast Community College in Newport, OR was a great host and we had a blast!

These amazing volunteers traveled from near and far (some as far away as Wisconsin) to attend this class and they are now ready to help thousands of visitors see and understand more about the migration of the gray whales. Thank you volunteers!

Here at the Whale Center, we are putting the final touches on our 24 education kits and starting to get excited for next week!

Stay tuned… good stuff on the way!

 

 

The whales and the leaves are thinking about winter.

As summer winds down and fall takes over, we are trying catching our breath from a record summer in Depoe Bay. The mornings are cooler and the whales in Depoe Bay are packing on the last of the pounds before the migration south begins.

The “resident” gray whales along the central coast typically hang out until late October or even early November before beginning the swim south. So, if you need another reason to escape to the coast for a day or two, check the weather and come on over!

Nearly 120,000 visitors have come through our doors already this year and with three more months to go, we’re approaching record territory for folks coming to see whales with us!

The registration for the upcoming Whale Watch Weeks and volunteer trainings opened on Monday, October 2nd so if you haven’t signed up for your sites yet, please do so by clicking on the Training tab near the top of this page.

 

 

 

Running the Numbers

Each year everyone wants to know- how many whales did we see this year!?!!?

And it’s always a great question. The official tally is still coming in, (some sites can’t report daily) but within the next few days we will have all of the paperwork collected and totaled.

However, based on the sites that have been able to report, we have collectively spotted and counted over 1,300 gray whales this spring and our amazing volunteers have spoken to over 16,000 visitors from around the globe. Again, these are just the initial numbers and more are coming in each day.

That brings our Winter 2016 and Spring 2017 numbers to:

Whales: 2480+

Visitor Contacts: 31,907+

Those numbers are just fantastic. An average day of whale watching with our volunteers during whale watch week is around 206 whales spotted per day and over 2,658 people educated about gray whales each day!

But there’s more…

Many of you might have heard that we started streaming our cameras live on YouTube this past whale watch week. It’s true, we did and it was awesome! You can find the archived videos at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/OregonParks

livestream capture.JPG

This live feed was shared via the Oregon State Park’s Facebook page and several large media outlets also linked to our cameras. We were more popular than that poor pregnant giraffe for a while! This live camera exposed over 700,000 people worldwide to what we offer here on the Oregon coast, and has generated a huge amount of interest in the Whale Watching Spoken Here program as a whole.

You!

This program cannot happen without our amazing volunteers. Volunteers, you know who you are and I want to make sure that you know that you are very much appreciated! What you currently contribute and have contributed to this program for the last 38 years is special and it is powerful.

We can’t wait to see what the next season of whale watching has in store for us and we are up to the challenge!

Thank you again and stay in touch,

-WWSH