Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Whale Watching Report On The Whales Tail May 22

We are hoping to go whale watching tommorrow as they are forecasting Westerly winds 10 knots and a West swell of 8 feet with a slight chance of showers.

Black-Footed Albatross (See Widget)
Mana here, I was tagged at Midway Island in July 2007! I’m black, with some white around my beak and eyes. Two other albatrosses (Laysan and Short-Tailed) and I hang out in the North Pacific, most of the other 18 species live south of the equator.

For three years, I'll eat fish, fish eggs, squid, smaller crustaceans. If I survive, I'll return to Midway to find a mate, we'll stay together for life. Ah, romance! To get to know each other, we'll dance. To make our nest, we'll scrape a hole in the sand. We'll take turns incubating the egg, he'll stay on the nest more than I will.

Whale Bits
How's Your Whale Knowledge? True or False

1. Gray whales travel in pods …………………………...............True / False

2. Water sprays out of a whale’s blowhole……………................True / False

3. We only see gray whales during Winter or Spring.......................True / False

4. We have resident gray whales in Oregon waters.........................True / False

5. The whale’s full name is “California Gray Whale”……...............True / False

6. Gray whales eat fish…………………………………...............True / False

7. Orcas are whales……………………………………................True / False

8. Killer whales eat whales………………………………..............True / False

9. We don’t see Humpback whales along the Oregon coast………..True / False

1. False. Pod means family and gray whales are solitary animals. There are some times that you see them close together. During migration, 19,000 whales are passing by and sheer numbers will put them close together. During summer feeding, when the food is plentiful, they will feed in the same areas. And when feeling romantic, there may be multiple whales vying for a female’s attention.

2. False. Whale's lungs are connected to their nose (blowhole) but not their mouth. They cannot blow water out of their blow hole. Some whales start to exhale before they reach the surface, blowing through the water and causing a visible water spray. Gray whale's lungs are the size of two chest freezers, and they empty them in a fraction of a second, causing visible condensation (like our breath in the winter).

3. False. We actually see whales every month of the year along the Oregon coast. We have 19,000 gray whales during winter and spring migrations, plus a group of 200-400 whales that feed along the Oregon and Washington coasts during the summer and fall.

4. False. There is an urban legend of resident whales in Oregon waters, but all the whales along our coast migrate. The migration is to find warm calm waters for giving birth. Babies are born without the insulating blubber layer, and if born in our cold waters they will die from hypothermia.

5. False. The gray whale’s real name is “Eastern Pacific gray whale”. We don’t usually use the “Eastern”, and refer to them as Pacific gray whales. There is one other small group (130 whales) along the Russian coast.

6. False, usually. A gray whale’s throat is only the size of a grapefruit, obviously limiting what it can swallow. Their usual food is amphipods and are found in the mud on the sea floor, or mysid shrimp that are found in the water column in rocky areas. Both are no bigger than mosquitoes and they eat a ton a day. But they are opportunistic feeders and have been known to eat crab larve and small fish.

7. False. Orca’s common name of “killer whale” is really “killer of whales”. We got lazy and quit saying the “of’ and turned them into whales. Orcas were given their name because they kill whales. Orcas are technically the largest dolphins.

8. True. The transient orca’s (killer whale’s) favorite food is baby whales as the adults are too big for them. If they cannot get a baby whale, they will hunt sealions and seals. There is a different type of orca in the Puget Sound called residents and they are fish eaters.

9. False. There are about 1,100 humpback whales that migrate past Oregon with the grays at about the same time. There are also humpbacks that feed along the coast but their food is found 8 miles or more off shore. Occasionally currents will push their food close to shore and we will get to see them feeding. They are often seen by fishing boats, but not usually from shore location.

Sextant used for Celestail Navigation

Nautical Bits
Polaris - The North Star - Is always in the northern nighttime sky, Polaris, the North Star, marks the North Celestial Pole. For those of us in the northern hemisphere it is a navigator's benchmark, the elevation above the horizon is closely equal to the observer's latitude. Actually, Polaris is slightly off the pole. The pole itself, about which Polaris goes, marks true north, the fundamental direction for us in the northern hemisphere. Thousands of years from now, Polaris will be well off the pole, other stars someday taking its place. Polaris also marks the end of the handle of the Little Dipper, the prominent figure of Ursa Minor, the Smaller Bear.

Crux - The Southern Cross
If you live in the Southern hemisphere, or if you are vacationing in someplace like Hawaii, you can see a small but beautiful constellation with the shape of a cross. Its name is Crux and it is located very close to the constellation of Centaurus. The brightest star in Crux is called Acrux. Acrux is really two stars going around orbitting each other, but they are so far away that we see them as one star. Explorers of the Southern hemisphere used Crux to guide them when sailing. By looking at Crux, they could figure out in which direction to sail without getting lost.

Click on the link below for our whale watching video.

Something new this year we are offering are sweatshirts that have our Whales Tail logo on the back, different colors and sizes are available.

Daily Trip Times (Summer Schedule)
8:00am, 9:30am, 11:00am, 12:30pm, 2:00pm, 3:30pm, 5:00pm, 6:30pm

Depoe Bay Events
May 31, 11:00
64th Fleet of Flowers Memorial Day Ceremonies
Attend the nationally acclaimed Memorial Day event. Pay tribute to those lost at sea while watching the flower decked fishing fleet sail to sea. Cost: Free.

The coffee is fresh and free, so stop by and say hello.and see what's going on.

Gift Certificates are available year round.

Thank you for visiting our website, we hope to see you aboard the Whales Tail.

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

Toll Free:1-800-733-8915