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MailTribune.com
  • Annual whale-watch program is under way

  • The greatest show on surf returns to the Oregon Coast this week during the annual winter migration of gray whales off the state's shores, and an army of volunteers will be available all week to help you spot them.
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  • The greatest show on surf returns to the Oregon Coast this week during the annual winter migration of gray whales off the state's shores, and an army of volunteers will be available all week to help you spot them.
    More than 18,000 gray whales cruise past Oregon each winter during their annual, 12,000-mile migration from Alaska to Baja, Calif.
    Mixed among the pods are about 1,000 humpback whales that join the procession. The humpbacks stand out because their dorsal fin is visible when they dive.
    About 400 gray whales do not go as far north as Alaska to feed in the summer, choosing instead to stick around and feed along the coasts of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
    Volunteers will help visitors spot whales from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today through Tuesday. Viewing spots in Southern Oregon include Harris Beach State Park, near Brookings; Cape Ferrelo Overlook, near Brookings; Battle Rock Wayfinding Point, Port Orford; Face Rock State Scenic Wayside, near Port Orford; and Shore Acres State Park, near Charleston.
    For a map of all the viewpoints, information on charter boat and airplane tours, and whale-watching tips, see www.whalespoken.org.
    Whale-watchers generally watch for spouts of water that erupt when the behemoths exhale, usually 1 to 3 miles offshore.
    The spouts normally erupt about 12 feet into the air, so they can be tough to see during rough sea conditions.
    The Southern Oregon Fly Tyers and the Rogue Flyfishers Association are taking registration for their next six-week series of tying classes.
    The classes will begin Jan. 20 and run from 6 to 9 p.m. for six straight Mondays. They will meet at the First Baptist Church/Grace Christian School, 649 Crater Lake Ave., Medford.
    Participants should register by Jan. 13.
    One class will be "Introduction to Fly Tying," which will focus on the basic tools, materials and patterns. Tools are not required, and loaner sets of fly-tying tools will be available.
    There is a $25 materials fee, and the introduction class will be taught by Tom Collett. To register, call him at 541-244-8030.
    The intermediate class, called "Tying Flies with a Purpose," will focus on creating fishable flies that work. Basic skills and tools are required, and there is a $25 materials fee.
    That course will be taught by Jay Daily. To register, call Daily at 541-396-6656.
    The third class, called "The Art of Fly Tying," will focus on tying Carrie Stevens' classic streamers. Tools are required and only experienced tyers should take the class, which will be offered by Dan Kellogg and Dave Roberts. To register, call 541-210-0949.
    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.
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