Whale Watching At the “Best U.S. Harbor”: Depoe Bay, Oregon
At just a touch more than 100 miles from Marathon Coach Oregon, Depoe Bay makes for a great day trip or an extended weekend. Named Best U.S. Harbor 2020 in June, Depoe Bay, Oregon, also known as the “world’s smallest harbor,” constantly bustles with fishing and crabbing charters, commercial vessels, recreational boats, sightseeing tours and a large number of whales. Approximately 232 summer resident gray whales, a plethora of winter and spring migrating whales, seals, seabirds and occasional sea lions and dolphins provide myriad wildlife to investigate in this quaint seaside town.
With a fleet of boats, a sea life museum, two cafes and two ocean-themed overnight rentals, Carrie Newell is more than an entrepreneur, she’s a resident expert with four degrees: fisheries and wildlife, biology/geology, invertebrate zoology/paleontology and biological oceanography. The enthusiasm of this life-long fan of Jacques Cousteau is contagious, and Carrie and her team at Whale Research EcoExcursions provide more than entertainment – they provide an education.
Having observed and worked with the summer resident gray whales since 1992, Carrie knows both their behaviors and their names – and she also knows what makes her clients happy.
“When we’re out there, we’re first looking for the blow – it comes out at 200 miles per hour,” said Carrie. “Gray whales have two blowholes. If a female is seen, her blow is going to go up 12 feet. One of our males, his blow will go up to nine feet. Now, if a whale is coming toward you, or away from you, you’re going to see that beautiful, heart-shaped blow. And that’s what people are just blown away by.”
Each boat seats up to 16 people, is safe and comfortable and comes with a unique back story: The 36-foot Comet and 25-foot Eagle Eye are both former Navy Seal boats; the 22-foot Sea Star is a former Coast Guard boat; and the 26-foot Kida Girl is Jimmy Buffett’s former boat. Follow up an exciting whale watching excursion on one of these quick and agile vessels with a tour of the museum and a snack at the award-winning Whale Bites Cafe.
Visit oregonwhales.com to learn more or to book a whale watching tour.
Click here to learn more about Carrie’s field guidebooks available at her shop.
See Carrie’s Jean Michael Cousteau video here:
Watch Marathon’s docuseries trailer here: