Depoe Bay, OR does not just have the reputation of being the world’s smallest harbor; it is the “Whale Watching Capital of Oregon’s Coast.”

In this six-acre harbor (also called Depoe Bay) you can come see whales almost year round. During the winter migration, gray whales make the journey south, leaving the waters of Alaska in favor of the warmer water in northern Mexico.

Migrations

This migration usually occurs in late December to February. During the spring migration that begins in March, whales head back up north to Alaska.

While these two migrations are the ideal times in which to see whales, it is almost certain you can see a whale in Depoe Bay any time of the year. This certainty is largely due to the group of gray whales that comprise the Pacific Coast Feeding Group.

Summer Feeding

Instead of making the journey all the way back to Alaska, this group of gray whales spend their summer feeding around the reefs in Depoe Bay. Around 18,000 gray whales pass through Depoe Bay over the course of the winter and spring migrations.

Grey Whale spout – photo taken by Rowland Willis

The most common whale seen off Oregon’s coast is the gray whale. Around 18,000 gray whales pass through Depoe Bay over the course of the winter and spring migrations.

Blue whales and humpback whales can also be spotted but in much deeper waters (usually no closer than 10 miles off the coast). If you’re really lucky, you might even be able to spot a pod of orca whales (also called killer whales). These beautiful predators are most likely spotted during mid-April when they come to intercept baby gray whales.

Charters

Charters like Tradewind Charters, Dockside Charters, Whale’s Tail Charters LLC, and Whale Research EcoExcursions LLC will accommodate any experienced or novice whaler’s needs with an up to two hour long tour, depending on the season.

Information for this post was sourced here.

Oregon is home to nearly 30,000 black bears, Ursus americanus, America’s most common bear species. They can grow up to six feet long and weight anything from 125 to 500 pounds. In fact, the name “black bear” is misleading, because they can have brown or gray coats.

If you’re on the lookout for bears in Oregon, you’ll only find black bears, since grizzlies haven’t been seen in the state since the 1930s. They make their home in Oregon’s abundant forests, where they create dens for hibernation, climb up trees, and forage.

If you’re really looking to find one, try visiting areas that have been clear-cut and allowed to grow for a few years. They are easier to spot, and they feed on the grass and brush.

They also feed on berries, nuts, and fruits; they can eat small mammals, insects, fish, and amphibians, but they are not usually actively hunting.

The best time to spot a black bear is in the middle of the summer, when their breeding season begins. Males and females will be more active, and yearling bears are becoming independent and can be seen roaming around roads and clear cuts. They are also independent animals, so don’t expect to see many in the same place.

Sources:

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/black_bears.asp

http://www.oregonwild.org/wildlife/black-bear

http://ouroregoncoast.com/coast-notes-list/159-news/1309-black-bears-on-the-oreogn-coast.html

Dungeness crab (Cancer magister)

The Dungeness crab is an important species on the West Coast, where it thrives in chilly Pacific Ocean waters. This species is a major driver for the fishing economies in  California, Oregon, and Washington.

These crustaceans have eight walking legs and two claws and prefer sandy bottom habitats in the intertidal zones to a depth of approximately 750 feet.

History

Dungeness crab have been harvested commercially on the West Coast since the mid-1800s when San Francisco fishermen began the fishery. For more than 100 years, the fishery has been regulated by size, sex, and season in order to preserve this important resource.

The commercial Dungeness crab season typically begins in early December and continues through the spring. Recreational crabbing is a popular, year-round activity on the Oregon Coast.

Regulations

Just make sure you’re aware of the regulations next time you head to the beach or the docks. Knowing how to play will help ensure this animal continues to provide a delicious food source and an important economic opportunity for coastal communities in the region.

Many coastal bait and tackle shops along the coast will help you get set up for an enjoying crabbing experience!