Some whales spend their summers on the Oregon Coast
We like to visit the coast during the spring whale-watching week, but we missed it this year because travel to the coast was being discouraged at that time due to the corona bug. Are there places to see whales in Oregon during the summer, or are we out of luck?
— Will M., Medford
You are definitely not out of luck, Will.
The spring and fall whale-watching weeks organized by state parks officials occur during the annual gray whale migrations. In the spring, the whales head north to feed in the waters north of Alaska, and in the fall they head south to birth their babies in the lagoons of Baja.
But some of those whales are smart enough to realize Oregon is a chill place to hang, so they vacation here during the summer.
According to the Oregon Coast Visitors Association, about 200 gray whales stay off the coast of Oregon between June and November. “About 60 whales are seen repeatedly off the central coast and have been photographed and identified. Of these, about 40 hang out between Lincoln City and Newport each year because that seems to be what the food supply will support.”
The rest of those summer residents go where the food is, including off the coast of Southern Oregon. Reports have come in about whales being spotted around Gold Beach, and some were visible from Cape Arago just south of Coos Bay.
While most Oregonians know about the spring and fall whale-watching weeks, Oregon also has a less-well-known summer whale-watching week.
The summer event was added in 2004, and it’s scheduled during the last week of August through the first Monday in September, says the Oregon Coast Visitors Association website. The summer program focuses on locations along the central coast and keys in on the resident whales.
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