From Andrea Scharf at ‘Go Yachats’
We Speak Whales!
What’s as big as a big yellow school bus, weighs as much as 35 VW bugs, eats a ton of amphipods and Mycid shrimp everyday (each one no bigger than an M&M), and swims 12,000 miles a year between the Arctic feeding grounds and the good times in the Bay of Cortez?
Only a gray whale rings the bell!
A group of 29 people from local visitor centers and tourist-related businesses in South Lincoln County gathered at the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center on Thursday to learn about Gray Whales from Ian Fawley, Interpretive Ranger at the Depoe Bay Whale Watch Center and Beverly Beach State Park. The program was the second in a planned series of subject-based “We Speak” trainings designed for people who work at motels, restaurants, and stores frequented by tourists, as well as for volunteers at local visitor centers. The objective of this “We Speak” program is to help front line staff provide more accurate and complete information and answers to frequently asked questions about what to do and see in South Lincoln County.
The South Lincoln County (SLC) Rural Tourism Studio involved about sixty people from Yachats, Waldport, and Seal Rock, who learned about ways to promote low-impact, nature-based tourism while maintaining a healthy environment.
“We want to engage our visitors and provide them with helpful, accurate, and interesting information. This encourages visitors to feel welcome in our communities,” said Bev Wilson. “The local source of information can influence the visitor’s experience. When people get good information about what there is to see and do in an area, they are more likely to want to stay, to extend their stay, to come back, and to recommend the area to their friends and family. Plus attending these ‘We Speak’ sessions is a cool way to get to know your own community better.”
For Spring Whale Watch Week, trained experts are available all along the Oregon Coast at the official Whale Watching Spoken Here sites between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., March 23-30, 2013. More information is available at the Oregon State Parks & Recreation Whale Watch website, www.WhaleSpoken.org, or by calling The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, 541-765-3304. Local visitor centers along the coast will also have information. In South Lincoln County, you can find whale watch interpreters stationed just south of Yachats at Cape Perpetua Visitors Center and at Cook’s Chasm during Whale Watch week. For more information, call the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center, 541-547-3289.
If you want to look for whales in a serious way, be sure to dress for weather that can range from cold, windy and wet to glorious sunshine. Layering is the way to do it, and don’t forget your thermos, sunglasses and sun screen. Bring binoculars, patience, and a friend to share the experience. Forget your cell phone and your daily obligations and get into a different rhythm. And remember: even if you don’t see a whale, you’ll be looking out at the spectacular and inspiring great Pacific Ocean. Not a bad way to spend the day.