Friday, November 26, 2010

Whale Watching in Depoe Bay, Oregon






Experience the excitement of seeing gray whales “up close and personal” and other wildlife on one of our whale watching trips aboard the Whales Tail. We depart from picturesque Depoe Bay, Oregon which is only minutes from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. This is a thrilling and exciting ride for people who enjoy being out on the ocean or first timers who just want to experience being out on the ocean and have an enjoyable ride, additionally our whale watching trips are fun and informative.

The Whales Tail is a 26' zodiac style boat that carries up to 6 people. It was the first and original zodiac style whale watching boat on the Oregon Coast, designed specifically for Dockside Charters to give passengers the utmost in sightseeing and whale watching experiences. We have all the latest safety features and have been inspected.

One of the features the Whales Tail offers is a unique vantage point that gives you 360° viewing for observing Oregon's resident gray whales as they feed along the coast of Depoe Bay. 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 that is not to be missed along with some great memories.

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

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

Monday, November 22, 2010

Celestial Navigation made Easy (Complete Sun Sight)



Introduction
This was designed to help you complete a solution for a sun line or if you are just interested in learning celestial navigation. I have written this with two ideas in mind.

1. Make it as short as possible.
2. Make the math simple and keep it in a form that is easy to use.

Tools you will need: 1981 Nautical Almanac, Pub. 229 Volume 2 (15°- 30°) Sight Reduction Tables for Marine Navigation, Parallel Rulers, Triangles, Dividers, Calculator, and Pencil.               

This is the complete solution for a Sun Sight using the Nautical Almanac and Pub. 229 Sight Reduction Tables for Marine Navigation. The steps involved are in the order in which they should be taken.

Pub. 229 Method
Pub. 229 Sight Reduction Tables for Marine Navigation is a set of six volumes of pre-calculated solutions for the computed altitude (Hc) and the azimuth angle (Z) of the navigational triangle. Entering the arguments for the tables are local hour angle (LHA) expressed in whole degree, and declination. Values of Hc and Z are tabulated for each whole degree of each of the entering arguments.

Working Sights with Pub. 229
To work a sight with Pub. 229 you enter the tables by selecting the proper volume and turning to the page with the appropriate LHA. Using the assumed latitude and declination extract the tabulated values for Hc and Z. You then determine the exact value of Hc and Z corresponding to the time of the observation by interpolation using a formula that the tables are based on.

To find the intercept distance (a), this final Hc is compared to the observed altitude (Ho). If the computed altitude Hc is greater than the observed altitude Ho the intercept is AWAY from the direction of the GP of the body.

I will take a hypothetical situation and work out the celestial problem step by step. A form should be followed when working out a sight so there will be less of a chance for leaving out any pertinent information.

Step 1: Setup your plotting sheet and DR ahead from 0542 to 1220 and get you DR position and enter it in your format.

09h 05m
05h 45m
3h 20m x 20 kts = 66.7 miles

Step 2: Apply your IE, in this case it is on the arc, so you would subtrack it.

Step 3: Using the DIP Table on the inside cover of the Nautical Almanac enter with your height of eye 72' feet = (- 8.2). Dip correction is always a minus correction.

Step 4: On page A2 "Altitude Correction Tables 10°- 90° Sun, Stars, Planets" under the Sun - April - September (because our problem is in August). Enter with your Ha and find the Lower Limb column. Remember that Lower Limbs are always + corrections and Upper Limbs are - corrections.

Step 5: Compute your corrected chronometer time.

Step 6: Using GMT and Greenwich date of the observation enter the Nautical Almanac and record the tabulated hourly value of GHA and Tabulated Declination in your format.

Step 7: At the foot of each declination sub-column find the "d correction". This number is called the "d", which in this case is (0.7) this is the average over the three day period that the declination changes per hour of GMT. The "d" is recorded on the d corr line off to the side. This is a correction, as with any correction, it is either a + or -. If the declination is increasing (getting larger) then it is a plus (+) correction, if the declination is decreasing then it is a minus (-) correction.

Step 8: Turn to the Increments and Corrections pages of the Nautical Almanac and find the "5" minute page and enter with "9" seconds. Then under the Sun and Planets column find the increase in the Sun's GHA since the last tabulated (hourly) value, which is 1°17.3, this is your minutes and seconds (M & S) correction, enter this in your format. Always add the GHA and M & S values together to get the total GHA.

Step 9: While on the 5 minute page under the "v or d" correction column, find the "d" which is 0.7 on the left hand side. This is equal to 0.1, enter this in your format and in this case you would subtract. This is the declination (Dec) of the Sun at the time of the sight.

Step 10: In full sight reduction LHA has to end in the whole degree and your Assumed Longitude has to be within 30' minutes of your DR Longitude.

GHA 224°52.9'
A Long. +94°07.1' E
LHA 319°00.0'

Step 11: Enter Pub. 229 with LHA 319°, A Lat. 25° and Dec. 16° N. Then extract the tabulated Hc, base Z, and Z for the next whole degree of declination, and the Rule for coverting Z to Zn and enter this into your format. Make sure to note the sign of the differences. Next, using the formula, (Difference x declination increments ÷ 60 = correction).

Step 12: Add or Subtract your corrections to your Tab. Hc and base Z to get your corrected Hc and Z.

Step 13: Fill in your Ho, find the difference between Hc and Ho, this will give your altitude intercept (a). Next, you must determine if (a) is (A-away or T-towards the bearing Zn).

You say to yourself this little ditty, "Coast Guard Academy" computed greater away, if not then it is towards the bearing.

Step 14: Compute the Zn by following the rule.

Step 15: Fill in your assumed latitude (A Lat) and assumed longitude (A Long).

Click Here to View: Solution to the Problem

Now you plot the line of position, actual plotting of the line of position is as follows.

1. Plot the AP (assumed latitude and longitude).

2. Lay off the Zn line from the AP toward or away from the AP depending on weather the observed altitude is greater or less than the computed altitude. In this case it is away from 048.4° T.

3. Measure in the proper direction along the Zn line the difference between the observed and the computed altitude in miles and tenths of miles. This distance is called the altitude (a), which is 18.0 miles away.

4. Draw a line at the extremity of altitude intercept (a) perpendicular (90°) to the azimuth line. At the time of observation this is your line of position.

5. Label the line of position with the time of observation and the name of the observed body, "0905 Sun".

Tables that you will need are shown below








Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All About the Gray Whale




Gray Whales can reach a length about 40 to 50 feet, and weight between 50,000 to 80,000 pounds. I have read that they can live up to 40-60 years, some 70 years. Just like people, once they reach middle age, they seem to get a little fatter. The Gray Whales have a double blow hole, most of the older grays have scars and tooth rake marks from encounters with Orca Whales / Killer of Whales.

The dimples on the young calf’s are where you can see the baby’s facial hair if you are lucky enough to get close. This dimply shortened face is characteristic of all young Gray Whales. A lot of times the calves will poke their heads out of the water to get a better look at us whale watchers. Whales are mammals, they breath air, have hair (calves have hairs around the front of their heads), are warm blooded, and give birth to live offspring that suckle milk from their mothers. The Gray Whale is in the sub-order Mysticeti family. The Mysticeti whales have a baleen instead of teeth. The male Gray Whale can reach 45 feet, while the female’s can reach 50 feet and weigh 30 or 35 tons. The largest Gray Whales have flukes, (tails) that can span ten feet.

While they are in the Northern waters, the Gray Whales feed mostly on tiny shrimp like amphipods. There are ample amphipods in the Northern waters during the summer because the longer days create more phytoplankton and zooplankton, which is the food amphipods feed on. Gray Whales are the only bottom feeding whale. The amphipods that the Gray Whale feeds on live on the muddy bottom of the North Pacific Ocean. One Gray Whale is believed to turn about 50 acres of sediment during a season of feeding. The mud that is churned is oxygenated, and exposed to the nutrient rich water and is seeded for the next year’s harvest. When gray whales feed on the bottom they like to use their right side to scour the bottom and find their food. This has been noted by several long time observers. When they feed they swallow mouthfuls of mud from the bottom, then use their baleen as a filter to drain out unwanted material. This leaves the amphipods stuck to the baleen inside their mouths. They then use their tongues to loosen the amphipods from the baleen, and swallow. During migration and while in calving areas, gray whales eat very little, but on occasion they will eat shrimp like mysids or small fish at the surface. The blubber they add during the summer feedings provides energy for the remainder of the year. Some whales can go without food for 3-5 months.

How did gray whales get their name?
The gray whale acquired its name from the gray patches and white mottling on its skin.

What does the gray whales skin feel like?
The skin has scratch marks and patches of white barnacles, and orange whale lice. A whale’s skin feels like a peeled hard-boiled egg. Most of the adult grays have scars and tooth-rake marks from encounters with Orcas. Light gray or white scars show where the whale barnacles have fallen off. Young whales have barnacle patches soon after they are born.

How big are gray whales?
Adult males can reach a length of 45 feet, adult females are slightly larger, and reach about 50 feet in length. Both sexes weigh up to 30-40 tons. The gray whales flukes, or tail can span up to 10 feet.

Do gray whales sing?
Gray whales make gurgles and warbling sounds, but nobody really understands what these sounds mean.

Do gray whales sleep?
This is what some scientists say, the whales don’t stop swimming during migration, but some think they may sleep and continue swimming on “autopilot.” They catch up on sleep in the lagoons, where they have even been observed snoring! Others say the whales take short naps of 10-20 minutes.

How can I recognize a gray whale?
Gray whales have streamlined bodies with narrow, tapered heads. The upper jaw slightly overlaps the lower jaw. The gray whale has no dorsal (top) fin. But about 2/3 of the way back on the body is a prominent dorsal hump. It is followed 6-12 knuckles along the dorsal ridge that extend to the fluke (tail). Its fluke is about 10 feet across, pointed at the tips, and deeply notched in the center. There are 2-5 grooves on the ventral throat.

How big are gray whales eyes?
An adult’s eyes on top of their mouth and are about the size of baseball. They are located about 8 feet from the tip of the gray whale’s jaws. They also have eyelids, I have also heard you can tell the age of a gray whale by the protein in their eyes (during a autopsy to determine the cause of death).

How long can a gray whale stay under water without coming up for air?
An adult gray whale can stay submerged up to 15-20 minutes.

Do gray whales have teeth?
No. The gray whale is in the sub-order Mysticeti. The Mysticeti whales have a baleen instead of teeth.

Are gray whales friendly?
Visitors to the calving and breeding lagoons sometimes encounter the “friendlies,” gray whales that come up to the small boats and let people to touch them. Gray whales aren’t very friendly during courtship and mating.

How long does a gray whale live?
Grays can expect to live about 40 to 60 years. Some can live 70 years.

At what age do gray whales mate and breed?
Gray whales reach sexual maturity somewhere between 5 and 11 years of age. A gray whale that lives to be 40 years old could have as many as 18 calves.

How long is a gray whale’s pregnancy?
Gestation is 11-12 months. Migration and reproduction are connected, since it’s best for the mothers to reach warm waters before giving birth, gestation is carefully timed. Gray whales have a special adaptation called delayed implantation. The embryo does not start developing in the mother’s body until a few months after she becomes pregnant. After mating in the lagoons (or during migration), the newly pregnant female returns to the arctic feeding waters on spring’s journey north. She feasts for herself and her unborn baby, and migrates south in fall or winter to the nursery lagoons to give birth. By the time she reaches the warm lagoons, the baby has been developing for 11-12 months and is ready for birth. A female usually has one calf every two years.

What do newborn calves look like?
Newborns are dark gray to black, some may have distinctive white markings, a calf weighs between 1,100-1,500 pounds. Babies weigh between 1500-2000 pounds when they are about 15 feet long.

What do baby gray whales eat?
Whales are mammals, so calves nurse on their mothers milk. They nurse between 6 to 8 months. They will drink about 50 gallons of mother’s milk each day. Whale milk is very rich, about 53% fat. (Human milk is about 2% fat.)

Where are the baby grays born?
Mating and calving occur mainly in the lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. The shallow, warm, sheltered lagoons are great nurseries. But, calving and mating are sometimes seen during the migration, too.

What makes the lagoons good nurseries?
The lagoons are safe from hungry orcas whales/killer of whales. The warm water helps the calves stay warm until they gain blubber. Also, the salty water makes the babies more buoyant so it’s easier for them to nurse.

Why do mothers and calves stay in the lagoons for 2-3 months?
It allows the calves to build up a thick layer of blubber. They need blubber for energy to swim during the northward migration. Blubber keeps them warm in the colder waters.

Are whales good mothers?
Yes, Mothers are very protective of their calves. They earned the name “Devilfish” from early whalers in the lagoons because of their violence towards whalers who killed their babies.

What happens when a baby whale is born underwater?
The mother supports her calf at the surface for its first few breaths of air. She brings the baby up to the surface with her own back and flukes.

When are gray whale calves born?
Calves are usually born in late December to early February in the lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. More than half of the births occur in Laguna Ojo de Liebre.

How big are baby gray whales when they’re born?
Calves can gain 60 to 70 pounds every day on their mother’s milk. They can reach 18 to 19 feet in length in their first 3 months of life.

Can baby whales swim right away?
Within about three hours of birth, a calf can keep itself afloat and swim on a steady course. A calf may rest on its mothers back or fins until it becomes a stronger swimmer.

What do gray whales eat?
Gray whales feed on small crustaceans such as amphipods, and tube worms found in bottom sediments. They feed mainly during the summer months of long daylight hours in the Arctic waters of the Bering and Chukchi seas. They can eat a ton a day of shrimp like amphipods. Gray whales are like cattle on a open range, they travel where ever they can find food. I have seen the resident grays whales we have off Depoe Bay feed for weeks in one area, then move 1-2 miles and feed for a month.

How do gray whales eat?
Since gray whales have no teeth, they capture and strain their baleen, which hangs from the roof of the mouth. Grays are the only bottom feeding whales. When they feed, a whale dives to the bottom, rolls on its right side and gulps mouthfuls of mud from the bottom. As the whale closes its mouth, water and sediments squirt out through the baleen plates. This leaves the amphipods stuck to the baleen inside their mouths. Whales then use their tongues to loosen the amphipods from the baleen, and swallow.

What are baleen plates?
Baleen whales have a series of 130-180 fringed, overlapping baleen plates hanging like curtains from each side of the upper jaw. Baleen is made of a fingernail-like material called keratin. The plates are off-white and about 2-10 inch long. Baleen plates filter water out and trap food in, they replace there baleen about every 5 years.

How fast do gray whales travel during migration?
Grays cover about 100 miles a day. They can travel from Unimak Pass in Alaska to Baja California in an average of 50-60 days.

Do all gray whales migrate?
No, Some gray whales are found year round on the coasts of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. The rest migrate from the arctic to the Baja California, Mexico coast.

When do gray whales make their yearly migration?
In October, the whales begin to leave their feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas They swim south during the fall and winter to their mating and calving lagoons in Baja California, Mexico. The southward journey takes around 2-3 months. The whales return north during the late winter and spring (mid-February to early June).

How do the whales know when to migrate?
There are several reasons first, there are fewer hours of daylight, changes in water temperature, changes in food supply as the northern pack ice increases.

How fast do gray whales travel?
They travel about 3-6 miles per hour.

When whales head south, where are they going?
Gray whales migrate to their winter breeding and calving grounds. This means the warm, shallow, lagoons of Mexico’s Baja California coast. The three main lagoons are Bahia Magdalena, Laguna Ojo de Liebre, and Laguna San Ignacio.

Do all the whales go at the same time?
Gray whales travel in groups. First to go south are the pregnant cows. The other adults and juveniles will follow about a month later. When whales head back north, the last to leave are the new mothers and calves.

Why do gray whales migrate along the coast?
The coastline may help them navigate the long distance. And being benthic (bottom) feeders, they have evolved with an orientation toward the seafloor where their food is located.

How far from the coast do they usually travel?
Along the coast of California, gray whales will migrate within 2.5 miles of the shore. Gray whales may pay more attention to water depth than distance from shore.

Do whales eat while in their winter breeding grounds?
Very little, during the months of migrating and socializing in the lagoons of Baja California, gray whales survive almost on their fat reserves built up in the summer feeding grounds. Some observers believe that gray whales eat nothing from the time they leave the Arctic.

Do gray whales lose a lot of weight while in their breeding grounds?
A 30-ton whale will expend so much energy on the migration to the Baja lagoons that it may lose 10-13 tons of its blubber. It eats little or nothing in the breeding grounds. But by early summer, most gray whales are heading back to the northern feeding grounds. Over the next five months they will gain back an estimated 15 to 30 percent of their total body weight.

How fast do gray whales travel during migration?
Grays travel about 100 miles a day. They can travel from Unimak Pass in Alaska to Baja California in an average of 50-60 days. They travel slowly when heading back north.

Do all gray whales migrate?
No, some gray whales can ne found between British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. The rest migrate from the arctic to the Baja California, Mexico.

When do gray whales make their yearly migration?
In October, the whales begin to leave their feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. It takes them about 2-3 months. The whales return north during the late winter and spring (mid-February to early June).

Are gray whales an endangered species?
The gray whale was removed from the endangered species list in 1994. A small number of gray whales are still legally hunted.

Is there just one population of gray whales in the world?
The eastern north Pacific population is the largest surviving population. At one time there was a north Atlantic population, now extinct, possibly the victims of over-hunting. A Korean or western north Pacific stock now very depleted, also possibly from over-hunting.

What are a gray whales enemies?
Their natural enemies are sharks and orca whale’s/killer of whale’s. Their unnatural enemies are ocean pollution, huge fishing nets, and other human activities that harm their food chain or habitat.

Do humans harm gray whales and their habitat?
Humans no longer hunt gray whales in most places. But they may build resorts and crowd habitat with tourists, and discharge waste from cruise ships, which all increase ocean pollution. Some people believe that global warming, resulting in part from human activities, may be harming the gray whale’s food chain. The U.S. Navy has performed low-frequency sonar testing at sea. Researchers have found that gray whales exposed to high-intensity active sonar stray from their migration routes. Beached whales of other species have been found bleeding around their brains and ears, a sign of trauma caused by exposure to intense sound after encounters with this deadly technology.

Other Interesting Facts about Whales

If you are ever lucky enough to get close to touch a gray whale DON’T “Pat the whale, they will tense up” they like to too be petted.

Gray Whale calves will come back to the same feeding grounds as their mothers year after year, do to habit and frame of reference.

Whales hear sounds at a low frequency.

The Blue Whales population is about 2,000. They are about 25 feet long at birth, and can grow up to 100 feet. When a Blue Whale spouts their blows are 30-40 high.

In the last 20 years 336 thousand Blue Whales were killed in Antarctica.

Ships are responsible for 50% of Bow Whales fatalities. I have heard they can live up to 120 years, possibly 200 years.

A Gray Whale that is 40 years old could have as many as 18 calves.

One interest thing I heard the other day was a Gray Whale with their tail missing, thought to be caused by a line cutting it off, I did see a picture of it, but haven’t found it on the web.

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

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

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Whale Watching on the Whales Tail


Dockside Charters is located on the east side of the bay in the center of the harbor next to the Coast Guard Station. We at have put our thoughts and ideas together, forming the premise, that ocean charters should be a more personal experience. Be honest and caring, making safety, comfort and satisfaction of our customer’s our first priority. We offer whale watching, scenic tours, to personal charters to fit your all your needs. You will find our office relaxing and comfortable, our office staff friendly, knowledgeable and helpful, with easy access to our boats. Whether you're heading out on one of our whale watching trips or just got back from a trip, you are always welcome to stop by to relax and say hi, the coffee is always on, and free. We have built our business on satisfied, repeat customers, give us a try and you’ll see why.

The Whales Tail is a 26' zodiac style boat that carries up to 6 people. It was the first and original zodiac style whale watching boat on the Oregon Coast, designed specifically for Dockside Charters to give passengers the utmost in sightseeing and whale watching experiences. We have all the latest safety features and have been inspected.

One of the features the Whales Tail offers is a unique vantage point that gives you 360° viewing and puts you "up close and personal" for observing Oregon's resident gray whales as they feed along the coast of Depoe Bay. 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 that is not to be missed along with some great memories.

Comfort and Safety
Inflatable boats are said to be the safest and most stable boats in the world today with all the new construction methods, technology and the new designs allowing necessary safety systems to be in place. Because of their safety reputation, inflatable boats are now the standard for use by the Coast Guard, military and other agencies because of its speed, maneuverability, and safe stable ride.

When you first think about it, you might wonder if an inflatable boat is as safe as a larger fiberglass or wood boat. The fact is inflatable boats are just as safe as larger boats, and in some cases they are safer. Inflatable boats are more buoyant because of the inflatable collar or tubes. These inflatable sections help spread the buoyancy out over the entire boat. Also, the collars or tubes on an inflatable boat are usually designed with separate chambers. This means that if one chamber becomes deflated, the overall buoyancy will not be noticeably affected.

A concern that some people have when they are considering an inflatable boat over a larger boat for whale watching is the stability of the inflatable. This is a common question of some people, the fact is, the inflatable boat is much more stable than a larger boat. This is a great feature for people who might be a little bit nervous about going out on a inflatable boat. One indication that inflatable boats are safe is that they are preferred by the Coast Guard as offshore rescue vessels. The one reason the Coast Guard prefers these boats is because they are stable and handle better in rough water. Unlike most larger boats, an inflatable boat sits flat on the water and has a low center of gravity, which means they don’t roll like the larger boats and you won't get seasick.

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

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

Monday, November 8, 2010

Exciting Whale Watching Tour




The Whales Tail is a 26' zodiac style boat that carries up to 6 people. It was the first and original zodiac style whale watching boat on the Oregon Coast, designed specifically for Dockside Charters to give passengers the utmost in sightseeing and whale watching experiences.

One of the features the Whales Tail offers is a unique vantage point that gives you 360° viewing and puts you "up close and personal" for observing Oregon's resident gray whales as they feed along the coast of Depoe Bay. 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 that is not to be missed along with some great memories.

Off the Oregon Coast we see gray whales every month of the year. There are approximately 18,000 gray whales in the winter and spring migrations and a group of 200-400 whales that feed along the Oregon and Washington coast during fall and summer. In the spring March through June most of these gray whales make the journey from their breeding lagoons in Baja California to Arctic feeding grounds. On this northbound migration, small numbers of gray whales fall out of the migration group and stop at various locations along the Oregon coast. These whales are called resident whales.

For whales to be known as residents, they must stay around a certain area for at least two days, exhibit feeding behavior, and return year after year.This distinguishes them from migrating whales which stop on their migration and feed then move on their way.

Along the central Oregon coast, resident gray whales begin showing up in May. On any one day throughout the summer, numbers range from one to 20. Some arrive in early summer, leave, and then return in late summer or early fall.

Resident gray whales remain around Depoe Bay for a period of days to months. Some residents don’t show up for a year or more, there is one whale “Scarback” who been around for at least 18 years.The last of the residents leave in October or November and return to the breeding lagoons of Baja California to rejoin the remainder of the population.

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

Dockside Charters (Whales Tail)
270 Coast Guard Pl.
Depoe Bay, Oregon 97341

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

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oregon Whale Watching Adventures

 















Dockside Charters is located on the east side of the bay in the center of the harbor next to the Coast Guard Station. We at have put our thoughts and ideas together, forming the premise, that ocean charters should be a more personal experience. Be honest and caring, making safety, comfort and satisfaction of our customer’s our first priority. We offer whale watching, scenic tours, to personal charters to fit your all your needs. You will find our office relaxing and comfortable, our office staff friendly, knowledgeable and helpful, with easy access to our boats. Whether you're heading out on one of our whale watching trips or just got back from a trip, you are always welcome to stop by to relax and say hi, the coffee is always on, and free. We have built our business on satisfied, repeat customers, give us a try and you’ll see why.

The Whales Tail is a 26' zodiac style boat that carries up to 6 people. It was the first and original zodiac style whale watching boat on the Oregon Coast, designed specifically for Dockside Charters to give passengers the utmost in sightseeing and whale watching experiences.

One of the features the Whales Tail offers is a unique vantage point that gives you 360° viewing and puts you "up close and personal" for observing Oregon's resident gray whales as they feed along the coast of Depoe Bay. 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 that is not to be missed along with some great memories.


Whale Bits

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, about 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 of 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.

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

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

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oregon Whale Watching Excursions




Dockside Charters is located on the east side of the bay in the center of the harbor next to the Coast Guard Station. We at have put our thoughts and ideas together, forming the premise, that ocean charters should be a more personal experience. Be honest and caring, making safety, comfort and satisfaction of our customer’s our first priority. We offer whale watching, scenic tours, to personal charters to fit your all your needs. You will find our office relaxing and comfortable, our office staff friendly, knowledgeable and helpful, with easy access to our boats. Whether you're heading out on one of our whale watching trips or just got back from a trip, you are always welcome to stop by to relax and say hi, the coffee is always on, and free. We have built our business on satisfied, repeat customers, give us a try and you’ll see why.

The Whales Tail is a 26' zodiac style boat that carries up to 6 people. It was the first and original zodiac style whale watching boat on the Oregon Coast, designed specifically for Dockside Charters to give passengers the utmost in sightseeing and whale watching experiences.

One of the features the Whales Tail offers is a unique vantage point that gives you 360° viewing and puts you "up close and personal" for observing Oregon's resident gray whales as they feed along the coast of Depoe Bay. 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 that is not to be missed along with some great memories.

Comfort and Safety
Inflatable boats are said to be the safest and most stable boats in the world today with all the new construction methods, technology and the new designs allowing necessary safety systems to be in place. Because of their safety reputation, inflatable boats are now the standard for use by the Coast Guard, military and other agencies because of its speed, maneuverability, and safe stable ride.

When you first think about it, you might wonder if an inflatable boat is as safe as a larger fiberglass or wood boat. The fact is inflatable boats are just as safe as larger boats, and in some cases they are safer. Inflatable boats are more buoyant because of the inflatable collar or tubes. These inflatable sections help spread the buoyancy out over the entire boat. Also, the collars or tubes on an inflatable boat are usually designed with separate chambers. This means that if one chamber becomes deflated, the overall buoyancy will not be noticeably affected.

A concern that some people have when they are considering an inflatable boat over a larger boat for whale watching is the stability of the inflatable. This is a common question of some people, the fact is, the inflatable boat is much more stable than a larger boat. This is a great feature for people who might be a little bit nervous about going out on a inflatable boat. One indication that inflatable boats are safe is that they are preferred by the Coast Guard as offshore rescue vessels. The one reason the Coast Guard prefers these boats is because they are stable and handle better in rough water. Unlike most larger boats, an inflatable boat sits flat on the water and has a low center of gravity, which means they don’t roll like the larger boats and you won't get seasick.

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

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