Spotting a gray whale is more than an awe-inspiring sight: it’s a reminder of the beauty – and immensity – of nature. Oregon wine isn’t our state’s only claim to fame! The waters along the our coast offer prime viewing when these gorgeous mammals follow the fish to their seasonal feeding grounds. You cannot miss out on this amazing experience.
The Majestic Gray Whale
These beasts are 40 to 50 feet long (think of a school bus – and then half of another), and weigh up to 30 to 40 tons. It takes a lot of mysids and amphipods (tiny shrimp-like crustaceans) to sustain that bulk! To get their fill, gray whales move like cattle and “graze” in one area until they deplete the food source and move on.
In mid-December through January, pods move from the seas up around Alaska south to Baja California, Mexico. The warmer waters allow mamas to give birth and raise their young. Then, it’s on the move again late March, back up the coast to Alaska. Up to 18,000 of these animals make the trek.
The pace in March is slower (maybe the whales aren’t in a hurry to get back to the cold North!), and you’ll have a chance to spot them all the way into June. A benefit of whale watching during the March season is that the whales tend to swim closer to the shore. This makes for excellent viewing.
During Watch Week (the last week of March), volunteers take up post at popular whale watching spots along the Pacific Northwest Coast. They’ll help make sure you have a terrific experience and see lots of these gorgeous whales.
Why not make a whole vacation of it? You can hit Oregon’s hottest spots, sample our renowned local, fresh food, and enjoy a glass (or two) of Rainstorm pinot noir after a successful day of whale watching. Sounds like the very best of nature to us!