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BROOKINGS, Ore. — Standing vigil on the Oregon coast at the end of this month could yield some big rewards — as Gray whales begin their migration south for the winter. As a result, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) are celebration their Whale Watching Week from December 27 through 31.
"Whale Watching Week coincides with the highest frequency of whales swimming down the coast; roughly 30 whales pass by per hour," OPRD said in a statement.
During that week, volunteers from the Whale Watching Spoken Here program will be stationed at 24 sites along the Oregon coast — including two spots near Brookings. The volunteers will be on-site from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day, offering whale watching tips and Gray whale facts.
About 20,000 Gray whales migrate south from Alaska every winter — headed for the "warm calving lagoons" near Baja, Mexico, according to OPRD.
Luke Parsons, an OPRD ranger with the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, says one of the goals of the event is to create awareness and compassion for whales and other marine life.
"Whales are a special part of the Oregon coast," said Parsons. “We’re very proud to work with our volunteers to help visitors connect with the whales and our oceans.”
Camping and stays in a yurt or cabin are available at state parks along the coast. For a full map of all whale watching locations, CLICK HERE.