Monday, September 27, 2010

Whale Watching in Depoe Bay Oregon

Whale Watching Report For Sept. 29
No whale watching today as the ocean was to rough, tomorrows weather looks much better as they are forecasting NE winds 5-10 knots, West swell 6'.

Whale Watching Report For Sept. 28
What a difference a day makes, no whale watching today due rough ocean conditions, visit Marine Weather Forecast

Whale Watching Report For Sept. 27
What a difference a day makes, we had absolutely great weather here on the coast with temperatures in the 80's. The whales did their job once again by giving the customers a fantastic show by coming up close to the boat on several occasions. Whales were sighted just North of South Point and and about 500 yards outside the entrance to the harbor.

Scientific name
Eschrichtius robustus (ess-SCHRICK-tee-yuss-roe-BUSS-tuss).
Named by J.E. Gray, means “Robustus” is Latin for “strong” or “robust.”

Gray whales, the most commonly seen whales along the Oregon coast, are the most primitive of the baleen whales. Their average life expectancy is 50 years, but researchers have discovered a pregnant female estimated at more than 80 years old.

• Size: As adults, females are generally 45 feet long and weigh 35 tons. Mature males measure up to 35 feet long and weigh from 17-30 tons.

• Coloring: Ranges from mottled gray to black, covered with lighter colored abrasions, blotches, scars, white barnacles and orange whale lice. Some of the lighter coloring is natural, with scarring from barnacles, orca attacks, or encounters with boat propellers causing the remainder. Barnacles covering large areas of their heads and backs can make them appear almost white. These natural color patterns, barnacles and scarring from various sources make it possible to identify individual whales.

• Head: About one-fifth the body length. Appears V-shaped when viewed from above. Upper jaw is narrow and slightly arched. Two to five deep, broad furrows are in the region of the throat, allowing the mouth cavity to expand when feeding.

• Blowholes: When exhaling, sends spout of condensed air, or “blow,” 6 to 12 feet in the air. When whale is coming toward you or moving away, spout from its two blowholes can appear as a “V,” or heart- shaped.

• Dorsal Hump: Instead of a dorsal fin, the Gray whale has a dorsal hump and a series of 6 to 12 small humps called “knuckles” along the dorsal ridge to its tail.

• Tail: Measures as much as 10 feet across from tip to tip and is deeply notched in the center.

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 reach 45 feet in length and weigh 35 tons.  Adult females on average are larger than males. 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. 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 true 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.

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

For more information about us and Whale Watching visit: Whale Watching on the Whales Tail

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

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

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