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Oregon Coast Whale Sightings Stellar, Including Stunning Orca Encounter

Published 04/01/2019 at 8:53 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Whale Sightings Stellar, Including Stunning Orca Encounter

(Oregon Coast) – Whale sightings continue to be a bit bonkers along all of the Oregon coast, with outstanding reports coming over the last week. The highlight was a killer whale spotted on April 1 in Tillamook Bay. (Above: Orca sighting from a previous year, courtesy Whale's Tail charters).

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It is still the great migration northward for gray whales so there continue to be plenty of those. Both the Central Oregon Coast Cetacean Watch and the Clatsop & Pacific County Whale Sightings groups on Facebook are coming up with astounding appearances.

Early on April 1, the crew from Kelly’s Brighton Marina near Rockaway Beach caught a magnificent moment with an Orca in Tillamook Bay. That group has had some astounding encounters in the past with its Nehalem Bay facility. One was documented in this YouTube video back in 2014; another incident made the regional media in 2008.

It’s believed Orcas are showing up on the north Oregon coast because they’re either chasing salmon or they are the mysterious pod of transient Orcas that maraud up and down the west coast chasing baby gray whales and large groups of sea lions.

Indeed, the north coast has had the most vocal reports in recent days, with quite the run in the last few days of March, with numerous sightings around Hammond, Cape Disappointment on the Washington coast and at Cannon Beach’s Silver Point.

Also on April 1, photographer Sam Clark caught some amazing shots of gray whales breaching in the Newport area. Clark reports the whale breached three times, close enough to get a photo, then moved on. That can be seen on the central coast group site.

Other reports came in from Fort Stevens on March 31. Silver Point seemed to be the hotspot for awhile on March 28. See the links to those Facebook whale groups to see the photos and videos.

As long as weather cooperates, it should remain ideal conditions for spotting whales around the Oregon coast. Gray whales are still migrating in heavy numbers, though it starts to taper off over the next two months. Orcas, in the meantime, often show up about now looking for the baby gray whales, and it’s only a matter of time before that pod starts making appearances that can be confirmed.

For more on Oregon coast whales. Tips for spotting Oregon coast whales.

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