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Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.

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Killer Whales Photographed off Central Oregon Coast

Photos by Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium

Quartet of Orcas photographed near Florence

(Oregon Coast) – An employee of the Seaside Aquarium – on the north Oregon coast – spotted and photographed a quartet of Orcas on the central coast, near Florence on Sunday evening.

The somewhat rare occurrence was documented by Seaside resident Tiffany Boothe, who works for the Seaside Aquarium and spends much time documenting natural events on the north coast or at the aquarium for regional media. She managed to snap some spectacular shots of this curious visitation by a species not normally seen in Oregon’s waters.

Sea lions on cliffs near Sea Lion Caves

The sighting astonished employees of the Sea Lion Caves, who had spotted some Orcas there in recent weeks, but were unaware of their presence on Sunday.

Boothe was returning from Eugene and on a whim decided to take the long drive up the coast from Florence to Seaside. She pulled over at one of the pullouts between Sea Lion Caves and Heceta Head, where the cliffs plunge a few hundred feet into the ocean, while still providing perches and rookeries for sea lions.

A group of four killer whales had been spotted here on May 16 by Sea Lion Caves employees, and then another pair were seen later in the month.

“I had been admiring how calm the ocean looked for a while and decided to stop off at the next pull over, which was looking out toward the light house,” Boothe said. “I thought that with the surface of the ocean resembling glass, if there were whales out there to be seen I would see them. It's that time of year when the grey whales migrate up to their summer feeding grounds in Alaska. When I turned off my car engine, I immediately heard the roaring of what could only be sea lions. Sure enough there was a small colony of California sea lions just below.

“After I stretched my legs a bit and took a few photos, I heard a splashing and wooshing sound, and I thought, ‘No way, it can’t be.’ But sure enough, as I looked down, I saw four Orcas cruising on by.”

Sea Lions basking in sun on secret beach neighboring Heceta Head Lighthouse

BeachConnection.net checked in with the Sea Lion Caves to see if they had continued to see the whales, or if it was the same group they had spotted before. Mary Jacobson at the Sea Lion Caves was amazed to hear about the sighting, and no one there had seen anything on Sunday.

It does appear it’s the same quartet of killer whales they had spotted in May, as Boothe reported the small pod looked as if it was made up of three adults and one juvenile. Jacobson’s first question was if it looked like it was comprised of three adults and one baby whale.

“Though they weren't the whales I expected to see, it was an amazing sight,” Boothe said.

Boothe used a camera that zoomed in by a factor of 150, and reported the whales were very close to shore. She watched them swim northward, but was unable to follow them because there were no more tall cliffs to the north.

Jacobson said the Orcas that had been in the area have not alarmed the sea lions nearby, although they often hunt these creatures. Jacobson said the Orcas had been seen swimming and diving near a group of about 50 sea lions that were swimming in the ocean, doing what she said looked like “training maneuvers for whales.” But the sea lions did not move onto nearby rocks and didn’t seem threatened, she said.

Boothe also reported the same thing, saying she saw the whales swimming near the sea lions but not alarming them.


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In Awe of AstoriaASTORIA
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Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
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Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and many manmade attractions
Divine Depoe BayDEPOE BAY
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Nature in NewportNEWPORT
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
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Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks
Aargh, there's no alliteration with Yachats - but it IS unbelievableYACHATS
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale
Unsurpassable Upper LaneUPPER LANE COUNTY
25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders
Fine Times in FlorenceFLORENCE
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes



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