Spotting Orcas Off the Oregon Coast  

Spotting Orcas Off the Oregon Coast  

Spotting Orcas Off the Oregon Coast  

19 May 2023
Orcas on the Oregon Coast
Courtesy of Garibaldi Charters

Seeing orcas off the Oregon Coast is a rare treat; however, sightings have gone up in recent years as the population of transient orcas has increased thanks to conservation efforts that are helping restore populations of prey animals – like sea lions, seals, and gray whales. In fact, last Monday, May 8th, whale watchers along the coast spotted a pod of orcas hunting prey together in an organized group in the waters between Cape Foulweather and Gull Rock.  

Interesting fact – Commonly called ‘killer whales,’ orcas are actually the largest member of the dolphin family. 

What are transient orcas?

Transient orcas are a different subspecies from the famous resident orcas located around the San Juan islands in Washington. 

Transient orcas stay in smaller pods generally made up of less than 10 orcas and eat primarily marine mammals. 

How to spot an orca

Orcas are most often spotted in the waters near Depoe Bay and Newport. The first thing you are likely to see is their dorsal fin. Male orcas have a dorsal fin that can be up to six feet in height, while females and juveniles have shorter fins.  

Newport offers several high vantage points ideal for orca and whale watching – the lighthouse at Yaquina Bay, the Yaquina Head area, and Cape Foulweather. The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay is another great place to spot orcas.  

Prefer to get up close and personal?

There are several great whale charter companies in Depoe Bay to choose from. Their experienced and friendly crew will make sure you have a memorable excursion! 

Book Your Next Coastal Getaway with Us! 

Meredith Lodging has an amazing collection of Oregon Coast vacation rentals to suit all sizes and budgets. Many of our homes have ocean views, hot tubs, and welcome pets, too! We hope to see you soon!