ORCAS!

ORCAS!

These beautiful, majestic creatures have recently made yet another appearance in the Siuslaw River here in Oregon’s Coastal Playground.

On June 17, local resident Dan Haberly caught an amazing one-minute, 20-seconds of video footage of six or seven orcas about a mile upriver from the mouth of the river.

This is the second time a local has documented killer whales in our river this spring. During our 110th Annual Rhododendron Festival (during the third weekend of May each year) other photos showed the giant mammals at nearly the same spot.

Last year, local resident Debra Heldt Cordone captured an orca breaching repeatedly in the very same area. We’re working on getting links for you, but you might have luck searching for “Orcas Florence Oregon” on YouTube or Google.

Spring migrations bring gray whales in March, followed by dolphins, sharks, and orcas. Apparently word has also gotten out to the ocean population that the Florence area is Oregon’s Coastal Playground.

Here in Florence, the jetties, the docks along South Jetty Road, and Harbor Vista Park are prime viewing locations when this happens; though as with any wild animal sightings, there are no sure things.

There are many excellent viewing points along the coast north of town starting with the Sea Lion Caves about 10 miles from Florence. There is a string of great state parks and highway pull-outs between Florence and Cape Perpetua where you can try to catch a glimpse.

Park rangers at the Cape Perpetual visitor’s center tell of a pod of gray whales that spend much of the year just off the headlands and in the bay below. It’s not unusual to find them spouting just off shore just about any time of year. There is a rocky underwater bowl just below the visitor’s center where the whales like to scrape the barnacles off their skin during high tide.

Oregon’s state parks provide spotters at various locations along the entire coast during “Whale Watching Weeks” in March and December each year during the peak of migration, but you never know what you’ll see here in our beautiful Siuslaw River or just off shore from our 20+ miles of uncrowded beaches.