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Spring Whale Watch Week Begins Saturday On Oregon Coast

<p>A gray whale breaching in the Pacific Ocean.</p>

Courtesey of NOAA

A gray whale breaching in the Pacific Ocean.

Whale-watching enthusiasts will head to the Oregon coast beginning next Saturday for Spring Whale Watch Week.

Each year, the Whale Watching Spoken Here program places volunteers at 24 locations spread out on the coast during spring break week, beginning March 23.

Volunteers document gray whale habits and traits as the mammals make their migration north past Oregon to Alaska during warmer months. 

“It’s a program that’s been going on for 40 years now," said Luke Parsons, a park ranger with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. "Our volunteers have been able to connect over 1.2 million people with these gray whales in that time.”

There are designated whale watching sites from Astoria to Brookings. Volunteers will be on-site from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day during the week.

"During the Whale Watch Week, it’s estimated that about 10 whales per hour are passing any given location on the Oregon Coast," Parsons said. "So if we have a perfect day — very beautiful, calm ocean and nice blue skies — you could see a half a dozen or more whales in a very short period of time."

If the weather is stormy, Parsons cautioned watchers the whales may be harder to see.

A full map of the official Whale Watch Week sites is available

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Meerah Powell is a general assignment and breaking news reporter for OPB. She previously worked as a news reporter and podcast producer for Eugene Weekly in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Along with writing and audio work, Meerah also has experience with photography and videography. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication.