somebody's got to do it!!! And, it might as well be Scotty and me!!!
We are spending April & May volunteering at the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, Oregon.
When we headed to Beverly Beach State Park on April 1st, we had no idea as to what our assignment would be. We have volunteered at this park before and knew that we would be happy to be here no matter what the ranger wanted us to do. As we drove south down Highway 101 that morning, we passed the Whale Watching Center and discussed how it would be fun to "work" there one of these days. When we pulled into the park, we were pleasantly surprised to hear that this was exactly what we would be doing for two months.
Some of you may think that it might be boring to spend 4 hrs. each day staring out a wall of windows watching for whales. But not us. We love the ocean and it is really quite a challenge to spot a whale passing by. This time of the year, the Gray whale population of about 18,000-20,000 are migrating north past the Oregon coast as they make their 6,000 mi. return trip from the Baja Peninsula. They will spend the summer and fall feeding in the cold waters of the Bering Strait (off the coast of Alaska) before making the annual 12,000 mi. round-trip again to mate and birth calves in the warm waters of Baja. When they travel north again, the majority of them are usually 1-3 miles out from the coast so the most we hope to see is the spout, or blow, which is a puff of breath as they surface and exhale air before taking another breath and diving under the water again. But, we have actually been lucky enough to have seen quite a few come in closer....maybe looking for food (afterall, they have gone about 4-5 months without eating). Fortunately this gives us a much better view of their backs and tails. Most of the population probably passed by the last week of March (just before we arrived) but there are a lot of stragglers and the mothers with new calves are yet to arrive. We expect to see them within the next few weeks. Because they travel at a slower pace than the others, and hug closer to the shoreline, we are hoping to get some good views of them.
Of course, when the weather doesn't cooperate and the seas aren't calm enough to spot whales, we partake in another one of our favorite pasttimes, storm watching. Depoe Bay is home to the "World's Smallest Harbor" and the 50 ft. wide opening to the harbor is right outside our "office" so watching boats travel in and out of the harbor is almost as exciting as watching whales.
There is no such thing as a bad day at the ocean.
Wish you could all be here with us,
Scotty & Kris