Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium captured pictures of the Humpback whales close to Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach and multiple photographic encounters along the Columbia River at Astoria.
Humpbacks have never been seen so far inland along the Columbia River according to biologist Deborah Jacques and experts believe it may have resulted from a food shortage in the whales’ natural habitat.
Scientists say they’ve been spotted near Astoria just downstream from the bridge to Washington.
However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has also suggested that the waters have seen highly more increased temperatures than it’s common, and the growing El Niño may be adding to the problem.
As the humpback whales continue to swim, breach, and feed amongst the waters of the Columbia River, many passersby have stopped their vehicles near the bridge to take a look, grabbing their cameras and smartphones and snapping footage of the mammals.
“The lack of upwelling, which brings nutrients and the cold water at the bottom of the surface, is sort of what fertilizes the ocean and garden if you will, and it makes the whole food chain explode”.
“That’s where resources are”, said Bruce Mate, the director of the Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, according to OregonLive. However, they are usually 5 to 15 miles offshore. It would require a pair of powerful binoculars or a boat to travel close enough to them.
Humpback whales can be seen along the Oregon and Washington coasts during their migrations between northern waters and their breeding grounds near Hawaii. Many sightings have already been reported, including one of two babies, and adults swimming happily beneath boats.