Although the wind did come this afternoon we still had good whale sightings just outside the harbor entrance. There were four different whales in the area today, all of them seemed to be moving around alot, possibly looking for food.
Whale Watching Report For Sept. 18
We had fantastic whale sightings today North and South of the harbor entrance, the whales gave us a great performance. We started the day with nice weather but it took a turn for the worse as the rain, wind and seas picked up which made the ocean conditions rough. Hopefully things will improve for tomorrow.
Whale Watching Report For Sept. 17
We had excellent whale sightings today just outside the harbor entrance, there were at least five whales in the area. Although we had light rain showers off and on today the whales gave everybody a fantastic show by coming up close to the boat on numerous occasions.
About Gray Whales
The gray whale is the most common large whale seen from shore along the coast of Depoe Bay. Gray whales are found off the Oregon coast all year. They feed in shallow water near shore during the summer and fall, migrate south for breeding and calving during the winter, and migrate north in the spring. The gray whale gets its name from its blotchy color pattern. Some of this pattern is present at birth, but most of it is caused by barnacles growing in the skin or by depigmented areas where barnacles have been.
Gray whales can reach 48 feet in length and weigh 35 tons. Whales are mammals. They are warm blooded, breathe air, have hair (single hairs around the front of the head that are visible on calves), and give birth to live young that suckle on milk from their mothers. Mid spring to mid fall is the gray whales feeding season. Most of the population spends this time in the Bering and Chukehi Seas off Alaska, although every summer some whales are observed feeding from British Columbia to Mexico. The summer population off the Oregon coast is about 200 to 400 animals, with many of the same individuals returning year after year to Depoe Bay. Summer feeding is better at higher latitudes because the long days produce lots of phytoplankton (small marine plants), which are eaten by zooplankton (small marine animals).
These are the basic food for all ocean life, stimulating the growth of the marine food web, including bottom-dwelling amphipods, the primary prey of gray whales. There are two basic types of whales, toothed and baleen. The gray whale is a baleen whale. Instead of teeth, a row of 138-180 baleen plates grows along each side of the upper gum line. The baleen is made of material like a human fingernail. These are quite stiff and solid at its outer edge, each piece of baleen is “fringed” inside the mouth and tapers from 3 inches wide at the gum line to nearly a point at its bottom. These plates are separated by approximately ¼ inch inside the mouth, where their fringes overlap to form an effective screen.
Gray whales feed primarily on benthic (bottom-dwelling) amphipods (shrimp like animals). They go to the seafloor and suck up an area of the bottom about the size of a desktop and a foot deep. Sometimes this makes conspicuous pits on the bottom. The amphipods are trapped on the baleen filter inside the mouth, while mud, sand, and water pass between the baleen plates. This is the way the whale washes the amphipods clear of sand and mud. It then uses its tongue to suck the amphipods off the inside of the baleen fringe. Since gray whales filter animals from mud and water, their baleen is stiffer and has coarser fringes than that of other baleen whales.
Dockside Charters located in Depoe Bay, Oregon offers whale watching zodiac style aboard the Whales Tail. This is a very unique experience that gives you 360° viewing and puts you "up close and personal" for observing Oregon's resident gray whales. This is a great trip that is a little more personal and gives you and your family an adventure that is not to be missed. Here you can enjoy the incredible scenery of the Oregon Coast, transit the worlds smallest navigable channel, and enjoy watching gray whales, harbor seals, sea lions, and other marine life. We try to provide you with a once in a lifetime experience that is not to be missed along with some great memories.