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VOLUNTEERS PROMOTE WHALE WATCHING

Four whales were spotted at Cape Ferrelo view point on the first hour of the first day of winter Whale Watch Week Tuesday morning.

Cliff Misener, who along with his wife Tigger volunteered at the view point, said people were watching about four whales spouting and breaching about a mile from shore.

Visitors were able to see the whales through binoculars, but like Sue Wood of Brookings said, they werent able to take pictures of the whales from shore.

Wood said this was her third winter in Brookings. Unlike previous years, she and her daughter, Kelly, decided to bring lawn chairs to relax while whale watching.

By noon, the Miseners guest list had at least four people from Dallas, Texas, who stopped to view whales in addition to the list of people from Brookings.

Misener said whale watching was slow, but he predicted the number of whales should pick up toward the end of the week.

The Miseners are among 240 volunteers at 29 locations along the West Coast. Designated whale watch sites stretch from Crescent Beach Overlook in Crescent City to Ilwaco, Wash.

Mike Rivers of the Oregon Parks and Recreations Department told Associated Press that whales heading south to birth their calves usually begin appearing off the Oregon Coast in late November.

The whales travel 5,000 miles from summer feeding grounds in the Bering, Chujchi and Beaufort Seas to lagoons in Baja, Mexico, where their offspring are born.

For the past two years, however, the annual migration has been delayed, bringing the creatures near Oregon shores about a month later, Rivers said.

The later migration pattern has still peaked at 29 whales per hour on New Years Day, he said. Last year, visitors made 1,362 confirmed whale sightings. Whale watching stations logged 11,000 human visitors.

The most recorded sightings of whales was in the winter of 1994-95, when there were 3,152 sightings.

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