The Ear went WHALE WATCHING last weekend. In HAMMOND. Honest.

It started on Wednesday, March 28, with a late afternoon call from ORIOLE OLSON, who said she saw a whale from her house, near the Point Adams cannery. Oriole, MATT CURNOW and SHAWN O’NEIL went down to the Hammond Viewpoint to watch it “just swimming around” with a playful river otter. Oriole thought nobody else saw it, but nope.

The next day, RITA SMITH of Hammond asked, “Do you guys know there’s been a pod of grey whales hanging out over by the Hammond Marina the last couple of nights? ... I saw one last night around 6 p.m. come up and spout several times. Humongous! ... I can't find my darn camera! It's pretty cool, I’d never seen a whale before.”

This was too much for the Ear, a huge whale fan, who hustled over to the Hammond Viewpoint at 6 p.m. March 30. And waited. And waited. Then one whale meandered in from the direction of the bar, and started spouting. Just as the camera was poised and ready, the whale would dive. The Ear finally got one decent photo, pictured.

“This is not the first time a gray whale has been sighted in the Columbia,” TIFFANY BOOTHE of the SEASIDE AQUARIUM told the inquiring Ear. “Every few years we seem to get a report of a gray whale wandering east into the river. They usually figure it out quite quickly and return to the ocean.”

MARCIA PERRINE summed it up in a voicemail to the Ear, after seeing the whale spout and surface 10-12 times. “It was so exciting. I was thrilled.”

“Fun while it lasted!” Rita noted. It sure was.

— Elleda Wilson