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Extraordinary Encounters: Shark Off Oregon Coast, Dolphin on Washington Coast

Published 04/18/2019 at 5:23 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Extraordinary Encounters: Shark Off Oregon Coast, Dolphin on Washington Coast

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(Seaside, Oregon) – Two rather extraordinary encounters with oceanic wildlife occurred recently along the Oregon coast and the Washington coast, respectively. In one case, a charter boat from Newport got into a bit of a fight with a shark, and another incident involved a somewhat rare find of a striped dolphin on the southern Washington coast. (Dolphin photo above courtesy Keith Chandler, Seaside Aquarium).

On April 13, the Seaside Aquarium responded to the stranding of a striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) at Ocean Park, on the Washington coast. It was a female, nearly full grown at about 6.5 feet. Males get up to 8.5 feet, according to Tiffany Boothe of the Seaside Aquarium.

The aquarium is part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network on the north Oregon coast and Washington coast, assisting authorities when a seal, sea lion or other ocean-dwelling creature washes up. They regularly look into the stranded corpses as well as live specimens of turtles, whales and sharks, among others.

They also assist in the scientific research about why these creatures have died.

"Though sad, it give us a unique opportunity to learn more about this animal and its activities along the Oregon coast," Boothe said.

Striped dolphins are fairly rare on the Oregon coast and Washington shoreline, as they prefer warmer waters and are typically found in the offshore waters off of California and Baja. Though they are uncommon to the area, they appear every one to three years, it seems.

Their sharp teeth are used for snatching up small fish such as herring or cod; squid also make up a majority of their diet. Striped dolphins occur either individually or in small schools.


Photo courtesy Newport Tradewinds / Richard Hall: a 12-foot shark attacks a fishing line

In the waters off the central Oregon coast, the charter boat biz Newport Tradewinds had an incredible encounter with a shark.

The Sea Venture 1 was out at sea with a few fishermen at the end of March, with one customer starting to reel in a ling cod. Out of the blue – the deep blue, that is – came a massive Great White shark, according to boat captain Richard Hall.

"All of a sudden a big mouth comes up and grabs it," Hall said. "We've seen quite a few sharks out here around five or six feet but this was the biggest we'd ever seen. It was about 12 to 14 feet. It was the biggest I've seen in the 20 years I've been out here."

Hall estimated the shark to be about 1,000 pounds.

After the shark grabbed the hook and the ling cod, a fight ensued. It turns out the shark not only had hold of the fish but the hook was stuck in its bottom snout. For about 15 minutes it was a battle between human and shark. The Great White went down a few times and the fishermen managed to yank him back up each time.

Finally, the great beast snapped himself free.

"He broke the line," Hall said. "We were able to get the ling cod back but it was shredded."

Hall said the Great White lingered around the boat for a total of 20 minutes, including the battle of wits with the customer. By the time Hall was able to get his camera out, he could only snap one photo of the creature before it disappeared into the depths.

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Below, more photos of striped dolphins courtesy Seaside Aquarium




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