Watch whales Dec. 26-Jan.1

Whale fans have an opportunity to get a glimpse of and learn about some of the world's largest mammals this month on the Oregon Coast.

Oregon's Parks and Recreation Department will have volunteers at 26 sites along the coast, including three near Brookings, during Whale Watching Week Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

Trained volunteers will be at Harris Beach State Park and Cape Ferrelo north of Brookings and at the Ninth Street Beach in Crescent City, Calif., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. In addition, the Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Marine mammal experts estimate that 18,000 gray whales and about 1,100 humpback whales pass the Oregon Coast at the peak of their winter migration south to the waters off the Baja Peninsula. Although some may come as close as a half-mile from shore, most stay farther out to sea looking for the fastest passage south.

The parks department coordinates winter and spring whale watching weeks in partnership with Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center and Marine Mammal Institute, the University of Oregon's Oregon Institute of Marine Biology and Washington State Parks, which operates Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

Details, including locations of other whale-watching sites, are at

— Staff reports

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