News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Whale week returns Dec. 28

Whale watch week returns to the Oregon Coast for the first time since 2019. This year’s version runs Dec. 28 through Jan. 1.

The lure of watching some of the thousands of Gray whales that migrate south at this time of the year draws visitors to 17 sites along the coast, with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department volunteers on hand from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The 2020 and 2021 whale weeks were canceled because of COVID. 

A map of volunteer-staffed sites is available online on the official event webpage: https://stateparks.oregon.gov/. 

Sites easily accessible from the Mid-Valley include the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, Yaquina Head, Yaquina Bay, Rocky Creek, Boiler Bay and Cape Foulweather.

An estimated 19,000 Gray whales are expected to swim past Oregon’s shores over the next several weeks as part of their annual migration south to the warm calving lagoons near Baja California, Mexico. The end of December is the peak time for their migration; roughly 30 whales pass by per hour. 

The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Visitors to the center can enjoy interactive whale exhibits and take in the panoramic ocean views. Binoculars are provided. Rangers from Oregon State Parks will also be on hand to answer questions about the whales.

Whale watch visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather, to bring binoculars and to follow safety guidelines such as remaining out of fenced areas, knowing the tide schedule and keeping an eye on the surf at all times.

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