Thursday, January 21, 2010

Whale Watching In Depoe Bay, Oregon

One of the best places to go whale watching is Depoe Bay, it is known as the smallest navigable harbor in the world and has lots of shops, attractions, and viewing locations and has become major attraction along on the Central Oregon Coast. It is so popular that Depoe Bay is called the “Whale Watching Capital” of the Oregon Coast. In fact whale watchers on the Oregon Coast spotted more whales this winter than in any of the past five years.

About 18,000 will be Gray Whales and about 1,100 will be Humpback Whales. Most of these whales will be 3-5 miles offshore. If the ocean conditions are bad and the boats can’t get out you can go to the Whale Watching Center. It is located along the seawall in Depoe Bay, the Whale Watching Center is home to the Whale Watching Spoken Here program. The center includes exhibits on the history and behaviors of whales and a free theater showing whale movies.

If the ocean conditions are good the best charter company in Depoe Bay is Dockside Charters, located down in the basin next to the Coast Guard Station. We have several whale watching boats that go out. If you prefer a larger boat for whale watching there is the 50' vessel Samson. The Samson is owned and operated by Lars Robison who is a lifelong resident of Depoe Bay. Lars has years of experience operating in the area and is by far the best in the business. With his experience and knowledge you are sure to have a great trip. The Samson is certified to carry 34 passengers for whale watching and is capable of making 22 knots. The vessel has a diesel stove heating system to keep you warm and is equipped with all the latest safety equipment. If you prefer a big boat the Samson is the best.

If you prefer a smaller boat with more of a personal touch there is the Whales Tail. It is a 26' Zodiac style inflatable boat that carries up to 6 people. It was designed specifically for Dockside Charters to give passengers the utmost in sightseeing and whale watching experiences. The Whales Tail is owned and operated by Captains Gary and Kit Stephenson. The Whales Tail offers a unique vantage point that puts you "up close and personal" for observing Oregon's resident Gray Whales. Don't be surprised if you notice the whales watching you as intently as you watch them. We try to provide you with a once in a lifetime experience with these massive mammals.

We run daily trips starting at 8am and will run till early evenings. We at Dockside Charters hope to see you soon. For daily information on whale watching visit the “Whales Tale” and the “Zodiac Style Whale Watching” links off of our home page.

Dockside Charters
270 Coast Guard Pl.
Depoe Bay, Oregon 97341

Ph: 541-765-2545
Toll Free: 1-800-733-8915

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Depoe Bay Ocean Cam

Entrance to Depoe Bay, Oregon

For current conditions see link below

Courtesy of Trollers Lodge Depoe Bay, Oregon

Friday, January 1, 2010

Friendly Gray Whale

Marine Mammals of the Eastern North Pacific

The Eastern North Pacific has many marine environments from warm tropical to cold temperate waters, and the shallow continental shelf to deep ocean canyons. Various marine mammals have adapted to survive and in each of these environments. Beaked and sperm whales spend their time in the deep ocean. Most dolphin species favor warmer waters, while a few prefer it cooler. Porpoises avoid the tropics altogether. Harbor seals stay near the temperate coast, as do sea otters.

Some marine mammals, especially large baleen whales migrate from productive cold-water feeding areas in the north to warm tropical / subtropical habitats for birthing calves. The southern migration for most whales begins in late autumn. Northward migrations begin in early spring. Humpback whales travel the open ocean in their migration, where gray whales keep close to shore. The northern fur seal migrates from the Bering Sea to Southern California, while the Guadalupe fur seal stays south of Point Reyes California. Elephant seals feed in the Gulf of Alaska and visit California and Baja beaches twice a year, once to pup and breed, and once to molt.

Many marine animals congregate where upwelling occurs. Upwelling is a natural phenomenon in which cold, nutrient-rich water from the depths is brought to the surface by a combination of Earth’s rotation, prevailing winds, ocean currents. These nutrients foster the growth of phytoplankton (small plant life) which are eaten by zooplankton, which feeds larger fish, attracting a variety of marine life. Many marine mammals return annually to these places of high productivity. The upwelling zone in the Eastern North Pacific begins in near-coastal waters off the Pacific Northwest and extends south into Baja California. During periodic El Nino events, prevailing winds subside and upwelling ceases, resulting in warmer sea surface temperatures in the temperate North Pacific. Under these conditions, plankton exhaust the nutrients in the near- surface water layers.

Marine mammals are classified into three orders: Carnivora (otters, polar bears, seals, sea lions, walrus), Sirenia (sea cows), and Cetacea in two suborders: Mysticeti (baleen whales) and Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins, porpoises). Most families of marine mammals including the sea otter to the largest blue whale can be found in the Eastern North Pacific.