Whale Watching in Depoe Bay

Last time we spoke (which I know was forever ago…. I’m sorry, I’m still getting used to this time management thing when it comes to grad school) I mentioned that our Spring Break this year wasn’t 100% complete horribleness.  We did take a camping trip out to the Oregon coast since Spring Break happened to correspond perfectly with the grey whale migration this year.  On their way from winter breeding waters in Hawaii, herds of grey whales swim past Oregon on their way to Alaska where they give birth and raise their young.  We chose a camping spot within easy driving distance of Depoe Bay, the “whale watching capital”, so we could spend a day looking for the spouts and tails out at sea.

Our gorgeous campsite

Our gorgeous campsite

The day we chose for our whale search was a bit grey, with a chance of storms and rough waters.  Luckily, there were still some whale watching boats willing to bob around on the waves with their tourist cargo.  After having a delicious seafood lunch at Gracie’s Sea Hag and taking some motion sickness meds, we got on a little ocean fishing boat with about a dozen other whale watchers to see what we could find.

Whale waves

Whale waves

The nice thing about going out with a boat company was that there were several other boats out at any time that could give tips to the rest of the boats so everyone could participate in the whale watching fun.  The captain of our boat got a tip right away that a pair of whales were nearby, so we headed to that spot to catch a glimpse of the majestic animals.  Luckily for us, we had the best pair of whales in the ocean!  They stayed near the surface for a long time, so long in fact, that our captain eventually just decided we should probably leave them to see if there were any others to spot.  We probably could have watched them all afternoon!

Our whale spotting was extra lucky for a couple of reasons.  Our pair of whales happened to be mating, which was why they were so close to the surface.  Our captain said this was rare, since grey whales tend to get it on in the warm romantic waters of Hawaii.  Second, the whales hung around for so long!  The captain said he had never seen whales that stuck near the surface for as long as ours did.  If people were lucky enough to stumble upon a mating pair, they usually only stayed in one spot for 5-10 minutes or so.  We were watching our whales for at least an hour!

(I just realized that sounds kind of kinky… I promise we couldn’t really see any, ahem, parts, just lots of noses and tails and breaching)

So, the weekend certainly had its positive moments, captured thanks to Scott’s ability to simultaneously hold the rail of the rocking boat while snapping some awesome pictures and videos.  I was very glad he took that challenge and let me just enjoy the ride :)

– Steph

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