Susan said, “there’s a creature over there, a mink” and pointed toward the rocks we were photographing. Looking I saw what appeared to be a large mink on a small rock. Then the much larger mother swam up. We both immediatly knew that it was a mother and child River Otter. 

It may seem odd that an Otter seen in the ocean might be a River Otter. However, it is not uncommon. In fact, if you see an otter along the Oregon Coast it is most likely a River Otter and not a Sea Otter as Oregon has not had a viable population of Sea Otter since the early 1900’s. 

It is possible to see a Sea Otter in Oregon. I saw what I believe was a pair of Sea Otter while off shore fishing a month ago but did not have my camera. Yesterday, a report was made of two Sea Otter being seen in Cannon Beach and photos were made for evidence. So sightings happen but when they do, it is new worthy.

Anyway, back to our encounter…

We spent a total of 38 minutes photographing this pair. They would disappear behind a rock and then come back out into the tide pool for a snack and to check us out. 


Our initial sighting was of the pup eating a small fish.

I may be anthropomorphizing but some moments appeared to be very affectionate.

A lttle kiss for mom.

River Otter are very intelegent and curious creatures.

Even though she was curious, mom seemed a bit more cautious than the youngster. 

For a day that I wasn’t sure I wanted to get up early, this one turned out great. Eventually, the rain began and the River Otter were loosing interest in us. We decided it was best to head back to our room for breakfast.

This type of surprise is why it truely pays off to keep going out. Just as in Fishing where one can’t catch anything if their line isn’t in the water, we will not encounter these treasures is we don’t go out. And, as a corrilary, the more one goes out into the wild, the higher the likelyhood of an encounter happening to you.

Happy shooting

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