Apr 172013
Whale Watching Center Depoe Bay Closed for remodeling

Whale Watching Center
Depoe Bay
Closed for remodeling

For some time the state has had its ear bent by those who urge Oregon State Parks to do something about the deteriorating condition of their Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay. They say the windows leak and are streaked with stains they can’t get out and the interior plaster and floors are badly damaged. In short, nothing less than a whale of a renovation is called for.

Back in February State Parks said they concurred and proceeded to put such a renovation project out to bid. During the Depoe Bay City Council meeting Tuesday night Clerk Recorder Pury Murray announced that State Parks have completely closed the whale observation building and the contractor is expected to quickly be hard at work.


Murray says the building will have all of its windows replaced along with considerable wall plastering and painting along with some attention to the floors. State Parks says the renovation will run around $100,000.

And OH! They’re going to try to have it back open sometime around Memorial Day.


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 Posted by at 12:33 AM
Mar 282013

The crew of the Whale’s Tail out of Depoe Bay has been plying the waters off Depoe Bay, showing locals and tourists the fun and thrills that go with whale watching out on the water rather than being stuck on the beach with just a pair of binoculars. The above is a slide show of what they’ve been seeing during whale watching week which runs through the 30th.

For more trip information, call the Whale’s Tail in Depoe Bay at 541-765-2545, Or check’em out on the internet by clicking here.


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 Posted by at 10:43 PM
Mar 262013

whale spoken graphic.odfw

Provided by Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation

Bruce Mate and Denise Herzing from the Hatfield Marine Science Center were counting Gray whales migrating past Yaquina Head Lighthouse in 1978, when Don Giles, also of the Science Center, headed out to the lighthouse with his binoculars and a great idea. He realized that Gray whales migrate past the Oregon coast during two special times of the year. The southbound migration peaks just around the winter holiday season and the northbound migration has one of its two peaks near the end of March during spring break. This created the best possible match of whales and visitors!

OPR photo

OPR photo

Don created the Whale Watching Spoken Here® program that year to help visitors spot Gray whales and learn a bit about them. Since the main emphasis of the program is on volunteers meeting and greeting visitors interested in whales and whale migration, Don Giles and Bev Lund coined the phrase “Whale Watching Spoken Here.”

Since then, it has grown to encompass hundreds of trained volunteers who donate their time and expertise to help visitors see these amazing Gray whales and create a rewarding educational experience. The program places trained volunteers at 26 great whale-watching sites from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. during the winter and spring watch weeks.

A summer whale watch week was added in 2004, but discontinued in 2007 because of the misconception that we only had whales one week during the summer, when we really have them all summer long. The advantage of summer watching is the whales are really close to shore. Summer whale watching is from June through October, but the peak times are August, September and October.


The program now holds three training sessions at different locations (north, central and south coast) to make it easier for volunteers to be trained without having to travel to Newport.

Volunteers Needed! It requires about 450 volunteers to cover one week of watching at the 28 locations. Come and join us. For information to become a “Whale Watching Spoken Here” volunteer, click here.


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 Posted by at 10:14 AM
Feb 202013

Depoe Bay
Repairs ongoing

The Depoe Bay City Council got a report Tuesday evening from Oregon State Parks that they are soliciting bids from contractors to finally upgrade the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay. The $90,000 renovation involves replacing 13 windows and interior plaster repair. State Parks, which owns the facility, says once the work begins, the center will be shut down until it’s done. They say a planned grand re-opening for the center is set for Memorial Day.

The council also received word from state and local emergency services that the idea of adding a tsunami refugee assembly
at the north end of town is probably not advised because it’s been deemed too far into an already safe zone. State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) said there is a site closer to where people live and gather on the west side of Highway 101. So, for now, there is no official addition to the number or locations of tsunami evacuation gathering areas for Depoe Bay other than what are aleady indicated in official DOGAMI tsunami zone maps.


The council also awarded a bid to the only contractor that submitted a bid to replace the finger docks that connect to the rebuilt Dock #1. Although the old finger piers were still functional, the new dock is metal and would operate better if the finger piers were metal too, according Public Works Director Terry Owings. With the bid awarded to the company, Owings said they expect the new finger docks to be installed by the end of April. The council noted that between “in water” construction restrictions, paperwork filing with FEMA and general construction season limitations, it will have taken the city over two years to repair the damage caused by the March 11, 2011 Japanese Tsunami.


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 Posted by at 9:51 PM
Feb 142013

Gray Whale
Wikipedia photo

Whales by Jim Sumich
Bottom two photos

“You have to love it before you are moved to save it” – Sylvia Earle

The Oregon Chapter of the American Cetacean Society is presenting a program on Saturday, February 16 at 1:00 PM at the Newport Public Library, 35 NW Nye, Newport. The program is free and open to everyone.

Dr. James Sumich, professor, author and researcher will present “Gray Whales in Captivity- Gigi and JJ”. He will discuss issues of captive maintenance of gray whales and some of the results of the studies conducted on them.

The American Cetacean Society protects whales, dolphins, porpoises, and their habitats. The non-profit organization was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in San Pedro, CA. Information on the ACS can be found on the website: www.acsonline.org

You can also find us on Facebook now at American Cetacean Society Oregon Chapter.

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 Posted by at 6:20 PM
Dec 262012

Wikipedia photo

This is the biggest whale watching weekend of the year coming up as thousands of people drive up and down the Oregon coast to catch a glimpse of migrating whales as they lumber along from a half mile out to five miles out from shore. There’s a number of really good spots along the coast where we can get more information and interpretation of what’s going on to make the experience even more enjoyable for us.

The story is in the Beach Connection. Click here.

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 Posted by at 2:37 PM
Sep 072012

Mother Right Whale and Calf, Wikipedia photo

The Oregon Chapter of the American Cetacean Society is presenting a program on September 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM at the Newport Public Library, 35 NW Nye, Newport. The program is free and open to everyone.

Our Ocean, a campaign to protect Oregon’s coastal legacy will be giving a presentation about Oregon’s Marine Reserves and the Territorial Sea Plan. We will also have a special guest, Bill Hunt, a former field biologist now doing educational art. He will share an anatomically correct Orca sculpture as well as a few other cetacean pieces he has created.

The American Cetacean Society protects whales, dolphins, porpoises, and their habitats through public education, research grants and conservation actions. The non-profit society was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in San Pedro, CA. Information on the ACS can be found on the website: ACSonline.org

You can also find us on Facebook at American Cetacean Society Oregon Chapter.

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 Posted by at 2:21 PM
Dec 192011

Cape Perpetua Visitors Center
Courtesy photo

Yachats, OR –The Cape Perpetua Visitor Center staff and Volunteers invite the public to join them for Whale Watch Week, Monday, December 26 through Sunday, January 1. During this period, the visitor center will be open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily.

 “We will be counting migrating gray whales and learning about these magnificent mammals,” said Lori Robertson, Cape Perpetua Scenic Area Director. “There will be lots of whales out there but it’s not always easy to see the “blows” above the winter swells and through the fog—we’ll have fun trying and learn along the way,” Robertson added.

The Cape Perpetua Visitor Center offers a warm, inside venue for people wanting to learn about whales. It has expansive, ocean facing windows and is perched 100 feet above sea level, providing a good viewing angle. Special activities highlighting whales in general and the gray whales in particular will include movies, displays and kids’ activities. An added incentive to visit will be free hot chocolate.

Cape Perpetua Visitor Center is a partner with the Whale Watch Spoken Here program.  During Whale Watching Week (December 26 – January 1) specifically trained Whale Watch volunteers will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., to bring alive the story and life histories of the migrating gray whales. Staff and center volunteers will also be glad to help people with techniques for spotting whales.

On their southward migrations the gray whales are concentrated in an approximate five week window, passing the visitor center at the rate of 5 up to even 30 whales per hour both day and night; though stormy weather can cause them to travel farther from crashing waves and make visibility difficult. 

Visiting the visitor center is free, but a $5 Day Use Pass is required for parking. Films and exhibits highlighting the entire Scenic Area will also be available at the Visitor Center Theater during operating hours—10 a.m.to 4 p.m.

 The Cape Perpetua Visitor Center will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25.
The Cape Perpetua Visitor Center is located three miles south of Yachats on Highway 101 and is famous for breath-taking views of the sea and forest. For more information, please call the Visitor Center at 541-547-3289 or visit us on the web at www.fs.usda.gov/siuslaw. You can also follow us at twitter.com/SiuslawNF and www.facebook.com/DiscoverCapePerpetua.

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 Posted by at 1:13 PM
Dec 142011

Gray Whale

Gray Whale (top) Wikipedia photo
Depoe Bay Whale Watching Pod (bottom) The Oregonian photo

Bring your binoculars for a chance to view Gray whales during Winter Whale Watch Week, Dec. 26 – Jan. 1. And Depoe Bay is a good spot to do it.

“The 24 designated “Whale Watching Spoken Here” sites were selected because they are the best viewpoints to spot some of the roughly 18,000 whales that cruise past Oregon on their annual southbound migration,” said Dave Newton, Whale Watching volunteer coordinator. Trained volunteers will be available along the coast 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. daily to help visitors learn about the whales’ migration and feeding habits, and offer tips on how to spot the whales.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay will be open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily during the watch week. The whale watching center has general exhibits on whales, staff to answer questions and whale size windows with panoramic ocean views.

OPRD coordinates both the winter and spring whale watch weeks in partnership with the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center and Washington State Parks, which operates the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
More information about the Whale Watching Spoken Here program and a map of the official viewpoints are available online at www.whalespoken.org

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 Posted by at 9:12 AM
Feb 102011

A protected species of Pacific Gray Whale that was satellite tagged by Marine Mammal Institute personnel off the east coast of Russia in October has followed its tagger, Professor Bruce Mate, home to the Marine Science Center in Newport. The story is in this Oregon State University bulletin. Click here

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 Posted by at 2:56 AM