portion of the Gray Whale migration. Hubbie and I have been
volunteering for a decade or so. We chat with tourists and try to
point out views of the migrating whales and provide such information
as we can about these wonderful animals.
Because we live in proximity to Cape Blanco, here on the Oregon
coast, we usually are stationed there. I love talking with folks and
sharing my enthusiasm for the grays, and I love the stark beauty of
Cape Blanco and the Pacific Ocean. But. There is always a but, isn't
there? As the decade has worn on my go-go-go attitude over the entire
activity has waned. The Pacific coast can be a weather nightmare in
winter and Cape Blanco is in contention for worst spot to be in bad
As the farthest west spot in Oregon, Cape Blanco gets the brunt of
incoming storms. If there is wind, rain, hail, or nastiness of any
kind it gets there first and best. The spot for whale watching is
totally exposed to all of that good stuff. There are days when the
wind howls through and one can't open the car door to exit the
vehicle. Tourists who venture the 5 mile drive from the highway,
circle the parking area, point cameras at the lighthouse (if they are
lucky it will be visible and not lost in the fog), click and depart.
When the wind gusts get to the 45-50mph range I insist we abandon our
post and leave. If the rain is not heavy and steady we can watch the
squalls approach over the bay and duck into the car before getting
soaked. In steady rain we simply huddle inside hoping it will let up
enough for us to see the ocean again. Whales? Not much of a chance
for spotting them in rough seas or rain.
But the weather isn't my biggest "What am I doing this for?" maker.
No. As a woman moving from mid-life to seniortude I am most
inconvenienced, nay, appalled at the lack of a bathroom anywhere
close to where we spend 3 hours touting the marvels of the gray
whales. I give up my morning coffee and sip gently at the water used
to swallow my morning pills. I rue the lack of bush, shrub, or tree
that might provide coverage for emergency situations. I consider the
distance to the campground and try to keep my swearing quiet and
minimal. The aching cold of my fingers and toes pales beside the
strain of NO BIFFY.