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Volunteers ready to help whale rubberneckers.

Byline: Jeff Wright The Register-Guard

For those who are so inclined, spring break offers a whale of a good time - literally.

This is Whale Watching Week on the Oregon Coast, and volunteers are staffing the 24 whale-watching sites from the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Ilwaco, Wash., all the way to the Ninth Street Beach in Crescent City, Calif.

Volunteers will be at the sites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day this week through Saturday.

During the spring migration, about 18,000 gray whales will pass by the Oregon Coast enroute to Alaska's Bering Sea. The first mammals start showing up in mid-March, with more typically seen through April and May. It's the juveniles who pass first, followed by adults and, lastly, mothers and calves.

Compared with their winter migration, the whales in springtime are more spread out - about six per hour, vs. as many as 30 an hour in the winter - but they often are much closer to shore, sometimes only a half-mile out, as they take advantage of the shoreline's ample food supply.

Mothers and calves can sometimes be spied resting in protected coves near shore - though typically not until April or May.

The 22 whale-watching sites within the Oregon borders include the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center three miles south of Yachats. A variety of whale exhibits are housed there, including gray whales' bones and baleen, huge jawbones from a blue whale, a bowhead baleen and sperm whale teeth. Other attractions include exhibits, movies and children's activities.

On Wednesday, interpretive naturalist Michael Noack will present his "Experiencing Gray Whales at Cape Perpetua" program, at 11:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m.

Whale watchers are advised to bring their binoculars and dress for the weather.

WHALE WATCHING SPOKEN HERE

List of sites and more information: rgne.ws/YQxNre

Program at Cape Perpetua Visitor Center: Interpretive naturalist Michael Noack will present "Experiencing Gray Whales at Cape Perpetua" program at 11:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday
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Title Annotation:Environment; Watchers flock to the Oregon Coast as the annual migration north begins this week
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1U9OR
Date:Mar 26, 2013
Words:338
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