|Depoe Bay, Click to Learn More: Whale Watching Season
Visit "The Whale Watching Capital of the World"
Guests of Blue Pacific Vacation Rentals enjoy the excitement of watching whales splashing and spouting from their front row oceanfront seats at The Village at North Pointe condos. Our resident grey whale pod frolics in the bay during whale watching season. During the busiest part of the season thousands of grey whales migrating through Depoe Bay, with a special treat including humpback whales, orcas, dolphins, porpoise and even blue whales!
The typical "season" stretches from the spring migration through Depoe Bay up to Alaska and the winter migration back down to Mexico, with two "Watch Watching Weeks" typically held in March or April and then in December. Some whales do not necessarily fully migrate but like to hang out in Depoe Bay! We refer to these grey whales as our "resident" grey whales (or, "Pacific Coast Feeding Group") and we average there are about 40 of them that hang out between Lincoln City and Newport regularly, with up to 200 that we call "part-time" residents. They prefer to use Depoe Bay as a feeding ground, rather than use the normal longer migration route. Contrary to popular opinion, the whale watching "weeks" are not the best time to see the whales! The best time to see whales is actually during the summer months from June through September when the whales are residing in Depoe Bay.
BEST TIME OF DAY DURING THE SEASON
Spring Migration: between 10am to 12pm, as these tend to be calmer waters when the whales are feeding
Middle of March to End of May: find whales about 1 to 3 miles off shore, you may see their calves
June to September: typically just right off shore feeding; usually easy to see & plenty... this is the best time to take a tour too!
Winter Migration: they tend to be a bit further from shore & a little harder to spot, binoculars can help!
Breaching: We all hope to see the awesome sight of a whale breaching! This is when the length of the upper body comes up out of the water and then crash lands with a tremendous splash. If you`re lucky the whale might put on a show and breach several times in a row! Did you know that it`s been shown that it`s typically the calves that breach more than adults?
Spy-Hopping: The whale form of peek-a-boo! This is a peek out of the water surface to take a look around, perhaps to hear better? They like to get a look around too!
Lop-Tailing: Grey whales like to slip their tail, or fluke up out of the ocean and slap the water surface and it can be loud! Did you know this can be heard several hundred feet underwater? A fun sight and sound!
The Whale`s Tail, LLC: Whale Tales
Travel Oregon: The Hidden Lives of Whales
Travel Oregon: Get Ready for Whale Watch Week
Oregon State Parks: Depoe Bay Whale Watching YouTube Channel
Frequently Asked Questions
How many whales can I expect to see per day?
At the height of the season, you could see between 5 and 15 whales every day, Depoe Bay is the called, "the whale watching capital of the world!"
When is the best time of day to see whales?
This depends on the season -- but if you travel during June to September, ANY time during the day is great!
How big can a grey whale get?
They reach about 40 to 50 feet in length, and between 50,000 and 80,000 pounds.
How do you identify a grey whale?
Look for the mixed colors of grey like spots, similar to a dapple pattern from light to dark grey, and many grey whales can have barnacles or whale lice. Grey whales do not have dorsal fins, but dorsal fins towards their backs and they have two (2) blowholes. You will also identify them by their very wide tail flukes, they can measure up to almost 10 feet wide to the extent that when hitting the water they will leave an imprint shape of of the tail on the water.
Who is "Scarback"?
She is our most famous resident grey whale, nicknamed "Scarback" due to the large scar that identifies her right dorsal hump, which is a wound believed to be from an exploding harpoon from the late 1980s. We still see her and the whale lice that you see on the scar actually help her as they eat away the damage at the wound sight!.
What types of sea life might we see?
Grey whales are the most visible in Depoe Bay, but your can possibly see humpback whales, orcas, sperm whales, minkes, dolphins, porpoise, blue whales, seals, otters... and even some of these sea life young!
Where can I learn more about the whales in Depoe Bay?
The Whale Watching Center, located at 119 US-101, Depoe Bay, OR 97341 also known as the Depoe Bay Ocean Wayside, is an Oregon State Parks-staffed visitor center in Depoe Bay, Oregon. You can observe whales and learn more from the local volunteers all year long. You can also visit the Hatfield Marine Science Center or the Oregon Coast Aquarium for educational options in the region.
Where can I schedule a whale watching tour/excursion?
Dockside Charters | Tradewind Charters | Whale Research EcoExcursions | Whale`s Tail Charters
What should I pack for a whale watching tour/excursion?
Binoculars, sunglasses, camera, warm clothing, and sunscreen are great recommendations!
Which whale tour/excursion that includes the dog on board?
Request your tour with Whale Research EcoExcursions with Carrie Newell and her "faithful first mate" Koda, the Whale Watching dog! Per their website, "Carrie trained Koda to find and get excited about whales when she was a pup by taking her downwind of a gray whale and smelling the blow (smells like bad gas), seeing the whale and hearing its blow, then Carrie would excitedly say "Whale, whale, whale!" and Koda connected the dots. No treats just lotsa love!" Koda even has her own Facebook page!
*This is identified as the more active migration period, but you can still see whales year round as there is what is termed the "resident pod".