Dress in layers, carve out an hour of time and head to the beach to see the record numbers of gray whales and calves that have already been spotted migrating north. It's Spring Whale Watch Week along the Wild Rivers Coast
"You're looking (for) an animal that's as big as a school bus ... and when you finally see one, it's exciting," Harris Beach State Park Interpretive Ranger Angela Stewart said. "It's just something magical. I can't put it any other way. It still excites me after 26 years."
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 24 through 31 trained volunteers will be at 24 spots along the Oregon Coast ready to share their knowledge about gray whales with visitors and help watchers spot the whales.
The local viewing points are Battle Rock Wayfinding Point, Port Orford; Cape Ferrelo; Harris Beach State Park and Brother Jonathan Point at the west end of Ninth Street in Crescent City.
"But you can often see whales very clearly from the Port and any of our higher headlands," Stewart said. "The higher up you get, it's almost like being in an airplane. You can see the whales really well."
Chetco Point is a good viewing location as well, Stewart added.
The whale watch week is coordinated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) and is part of its Whale Watching Spoken Here program.
If the weather cooperates, around 200 whales will be seen from Harris Beach State Park and Cape Ferrelo, Stewart said.
A total of about 18,000 whales are headed to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea this time of year. The whales can usually be spotted one to three miles offshore.
Gray whales are the main attraction, but whale watchers might also be able to see smaller porpoises and dolphins, orca whales and Aleutian geese, Stewart said.
For more information about the program and for a map with all 24 viewpoints, please visit www.whalespoken.org.