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Graceful Video of Whale Spouting on S. Oregon Coast at Port Orford; And Whale Mystery

Published 07/20/23 at 5:31 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Port Orford, Oregon) – The world of whales on the Oregon coast has slowed down to a sluggish pace most of the time, and even that giant hubbub the killer whales have been making has quieted down to a few sightings here or there. However, when the cetacean encounters hit they can be spectacular. (Above; still from Dave Foley's video)

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Still, your best bet is get onboard one of the tour boats in the region, especially in the Depoe Bay area. However, there's a couple of tour companies on the south Oregon coast that can make some definite impressions.

One of the hotspots has been Port Orford Heads State Park, where resident Dave Foley likes to hang out and catch sight of them. He is the showrunner at the Port Orford and PNW Whale Watchers group on Facebook, which provides a welcome and decidedly south coast slant.

On July 16, that rather quiet section of coastline came alive for a bit, and Foley caught some beautiful footage of a whale spouting at Port Orford. The little cinematic ditty is called Whale Blow Slo-Mo, and it's a graceful handful of seconds that shows a gray whale surfacing briefly to catch a breath of air.

It was just that one young whale, Foley told Oregon Coast Beach Connection.

Whale Blow Slo-Mo #1 Port Orford Heads July 16, 2023

Posted by Dave Foley on Monday, July 17, 2023

“Sightings have been slow, real slow,” he said. “This was was part of a Mom and Calf Duo that has been hanging around for a few days. The only ones.”

Another gray had been seen in that area on July 10, but before that there were no south coast sightings reported to the FB page since June – though that doesn't mean others weren't being seen.

Gray whales mostly stop along the region to feed, which means they're raiding kelp beds for mycid shrimp. That's likely what this young gray whale had been up to.

“I believe he was feeding in the kelp on the north end of the Heads,” Foley said. “It's usually a good spot. Lots of kelp and the whales go by there.”

The Heads are is also quite high, which assists your view of the whales whizzing by.

Depoe Bay had at least one orca encounter in the last week, but that too has slowed to an absolute crawl.

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The north Oregon coast may be getting an influx of humpback whales soon – and thus possibly more orcas from up north. About August or September, most years have at least a little run of them because of all the baitfish hitting the area around Astoria to maybe as far south as Cannon Beach.

In fact, there was a bit of a humpback mystery this week after a young humpback was seen caught in some fishing gear about 20 miles west of Astoria. The next day it could not be found, and officials don't know if it drowned, got itself freed or what happened. The US Coast Guard spotted a trio of humpbacks in the general area the next morning, and one was a juvenile.

Officials from NOAA told Oregon Coast Beach Connection they have no way to know if that was the same whale or not. Crews Get Ready to Help Entangled Humpback Whale Off Oregon / Washington Coast, But It Disappears


Gray whale at Depoe Bay, courtesy Oregon State Parks

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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