Oregon – Day 4 – Where to Find Parking Lot Whales

The plan, as much as we were making plans, was to have a bit of a down day, or at least a slow day. I decided to splurge on brewing two pots of espresso. Sitting in the trailer enjoying the java, movement caught my eye and there near our fire pit was a twenty pound turkey! I should have known then that the day was going to be full of surprises. But whales from a parked car?

Cape Blanco

I did want to head down to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse and see if against the odds I might get the drone up in the air for some stock footage. We had visited this place on before and the winds were howling. As a matter of fact we had grabbed our littlest daughters hands and flew her like a kite. This place holds the record for the highest winds recorded on the west coast.

Coming down Hwy 101 things were hopeful, sunny and calm winds. However once we turned down the lighthouse lane I could see that not only were the winds picking up but there was a hugh marine layer just ahead.

Sure enough as we rolled up into the parking lot winds were gusty at what I’d estimate 40+ knots with the fog so thick that at times you couldn’t see 3 car lengths. No flying today, but it was nice to see the lighthouse even if it was through peeks from under the hood. How did lighthouse keepers put up with this much wind on such a regular basis? I would think it would be enough to drive you mad!

Port Orford

Once finished at the Cape we decided to head down to Port Orford and grab such lunch on the city pier. This spot is one of the most unique little seaside communities I’ve ever visited. There’s a headland protecting a small bay with a large sea stack marking the boundary. Sometime in the past the residence build a small breakwater and al landing with a dozen or so commercial vessels. Now, the unusual thing is the vessels aren’t moored at docks; they are all in the parking lot on wheeled saddles. I’m talking 20’ to 50’ fishing vessels with outriggers and all. I remember watching how this fleet is one of only a few where the two massive cranes, one rated for 15 tons, the other 25 tons, lower and pluck the boats from the water on a daily basis. Wild.

Gray Whales

We had a traditional ‘fish and chips’ lunch in Giffs On The Dock then headed back to the FJ to see what was next. Just in front of our bumper which was pointed westward is a little cove no more than 100 yards across and didn’t appear all that deep. Theresa was looking a local newspaper, me on the iPhone looking up points of interest when I happened to glance up. There, no more than 35 yards away I spotted whale blow and the role of a back!

Of course as soon as I mentioned it to Theresa she quickly retorted that she wasn’t gullible and knew I was attempting to pull her leg. Seconds turned into a minute as i frantically willed the whale to resurface. Looking to my left I notice a lady sitting upright at attention staring intently out her windshield binoculars in hand. Not trusting my own eyes, I opened my door and approached her with a puzzled look on my face. Once she notice me, I shrugged my shoulders and pointed seaward mouthing whale? She confirmed that yes, indeed a whale had just surfaced off the parking lot!

Finally the whale surfaced for another breath and I made sure that Theresa saw it this time. The first one I spotted was the calf and I mentioned that I thought it was small and seemed to be separated from its mother. However, it wasn’t long before massive mom joined the calf from deeper water.

Over the next half hour Theresa and watched as cow and her young frolicked in this small cove for our amazement. It was just unbelievable to be watching this from our front bumper.

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