DEPOE BAY, Ore. -- Whale watchers on the Oregon Coast reported the biggest migration spotted in five years so far during the last week of 2009.

And that's likely because of the clear skies and good weather, allowing watchers to spot up to 30 whales an hour at some points.

During the winter whale-watching week 672 of the animals were counted, according to Morris Grover, of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Whale Watching Center. lists locations of the volunteer spotters, a daily whale count, links to charter boats and a way to become a volunteer guide yourself.

Grover said the bluer skies and calmer waters were like a lake out there with great contrast.

And as of Tuesday, Grover reported high numbers of whales still heading south to the waters off Mexico.

The winter season goes for five weeks.

This season there have been more than 9,000 people out to spot whales. Grover said those numbers are usually higher in the spring, when weather is better.

Here are some very basic guides from the parks department.

-- Dress for standing out in cold, drizzly weather.

-- Bring binoculars. Focus them, but look for whale blows with the naked eye. When you spot a blow is the time to bring up the binoculars.

-- Morning light is better for spotting blows. Afternoon light reflections make spotting blows more difficult.

-- Calmer days are better whale watching days.

-- Higher locations are better than sandy beaches.

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