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Orca Sightings Through the Roof on Oregon Coast

Published 05/24/21 at 6:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Orca Sightings Through the Roof on Oregon Coast

(Oregon Coast) – It's a whale of a time out there right now on the Oregon coast, to be sure. (Photo above courtesy Garibaldi Charters: killer whales wandering Tillamook Bay on May 8).

Whale sightings are through the roof along the coastline, with some of the Facebook whale groups lighting up with reports. Interestingly enough, it's the Orca sightings that are really getting the attention, which is partially because there's a new group focused just on that. Numbers of killer whale reports right now far outweigh the gray whales, but that doesn't mean there are more Orcas than grays. There are simply more means of reporting whales these days and lots more eyes out there than there used to be, along with the means to record them.

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Thus, plenty of eye-popping video has surfaced in the recent weeks, largely due to the new group Oregon Coast Killer Whale Sightings.

Among the finds:

Just this weekend, those in Gearhart got to watch grays and Orcas. First, a series of spouts from a couple of gray whales, and then there was an Orca surfacing behind them a ways.

Another report from Gearhart had some more details:

“They stayed just south of 10th for quite a while. Black backs and fins. More than one, tightly side by side at times.”

Also on the killer whale group's page, there's video of a pod of five Orcas in Depoe Bay over the weekend. Another member caught video of a couple of Orcas lingering right up against Pacific City's Cape Kiwanda.

Unfortunately, the group's settings don't allow sharing and keep all the posts private, so Oregon Coast Beach Connection cannot show all of them.

On the group Port Orford and PNW Whale Watchers, one member snapped some intense pics of Orcas in Coos Bay on May 15, showing a massive cargo vessel behind one of the killer whales splashing around.

One of the more spectacular sightings was on May 8 when at least two Orcas made their way into Tillamook Bay on May 8. Garibaldi Charters snagged one of the money shots, while a few videos are circulating showing all the action.

Reports indicate at least one did a little spyhopping, which is always spectacular.

A bit later, the Transient Killer Whale Research Project actually identified the three Orcas in the various footage and photos. According to their lead scientist, Josh McInnes, they were the cataloged whales known as T049A2, T073, and T073D. They are known to be a little more common in coastal inland waters of Washington, British Columbia and southeast Alaska.

On May 18, Orcas were reported at the Cove in Seaside, which is a rare sight.

On May 5, grays were seen feeding just offshore just a tad north of Depoe Bay, which included a bit of playful fin-slapping.

May 8 was a good day for whales all over the shoreline. On the southern Oregon coast, near Port Orford's Battle Rock, there were some reports of whales documented there.

On May 16, the Port Orford and PNW Whale Watchers showed some stunning video of whales near the docks of Port Orford – at least four grays.

May 7 was particularly spectacular for South Coast Tours LLC. They caught video of two whales coming in close to check out a couple of divers that had just dropped into the ocean for some training. The cries of joy in the video are rather infectious and understandable, considering what a dazzling encounter that must've been for the divers.

All this doesn't mean you're guaranteed spotting an Orca or two. Even spotting gray whales - which are still migrating up the coast - is a patience game, so finding an Orca will be similar. It's important to note gray whales have no dorsal fin (top fin), but killer whales do. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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MORE PHOTOS BELOW





Killer whales near Florence, courtesy Seaside Aquarium

Photos below courtesy Whale's Tail Charters, Depoe Bay



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