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It's no fluke: Whale-watching season coming to the Oregon Coast

by: COURTESY OF THE OREGON PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT - Voluntteers will help visitors spot migrating gray whales during the last week of the month from 24 whale-watching locations along the Oregon Coast.It’s whale-watching time on the Oregon Coast.

The first gray whales heading north on their annual spring migration have already been spotted from the Oregon State Parks Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay. More gray whales are expected during the Spring Whale Watching Week from Saturday, March 23, to Saturday, March 30.

Migrating gray whale numbers usually peak about the last week in March. More than 200 trained volunteers will be at 24 "Whale Watching Spoken Here" sites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the week to answer questions and share tips about spotting some of the 18,000 gray whales cruising north from their breeding grounds on Mexico's Baja coast to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas.

This time of year, most of the whales can be spotted about one to three miles off shore, but whale watchers can also check in closer for the occasional whale searching for food or for an early mother and calf.

Visitors can find additional information and viewing guidance from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day of the Spring Whale Watching Week at the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay. The Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center in nearby Newport also offers daily programming, including 30-minute whale skeleton tours and marine mammal presentations.

Maps of the "Whale Watching Spoken Here" viewpoints, information on charter boat and airplane tours, and whale watching tips are online at www.whalespoken.org.