The Lone Whale

Posted by Leora Starr / December 29, 2009

About six years ago my family enjoyed a family reunion on the Oregon coast. My family set off early so we could come into Tillamook and enjoy some fishing, cheese-eating, lighthouse touring, and of course, seeking out the best cup of clam chowder. We had rented a couple of beach houses in July for the reunion, but the weather was cold and windy. Still, I enjoyed letting go of seashell prospecting and found my new love of agate gathering, though my sister seemed to spy them before I. The cold weather brought with it the fog, and beside spotting a number of sea lions at Yaquina Head Lighthouse, we saw neither seals nor ships in the ocean. The reunion ended and our people went back to their home towns, some near Portland, others to California, and us to Colorado. I realized the California coast does not compare to the Oregon coast and I wanted to go back. In October of the same year I was headed to Portland on a business trip. I arrived several days early, rented a car, and headed for the coast, stopping only to submit a resume at the state college. I was hoping for turbulent storms on the coast and expected to find many treasures washed up to shore. What I found was beautiful, warm weather. Not like the cold and fog of July. Starting about at Waldport, I headed north up the coast and saw many things I had missed on my reunion trip; ships and sealions, shops and birds. I stopped at most tourist points of interest, trading stories with the shop owners. At one stop, north of Newport, south of Tillamook, I stopped to enjoy the ocean view, for this time, I could see for miles. The sun was warm and there was almost no breeze. And suddenly, there it was, a lone whale enjoying a swim down the coast. I watched it as it moseyed along, its tail gliding into and out of the water – a sight I had never seen before. There’s a community college in Coos Bay. When I get back to the Oregan coast, I will certainly submit my application. I would love to enjoy these treasures more often.

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