February Adventures Along the Oregon Coast Part II

Today’s adventure, as we leave Depot Bay heading south, has us traveling once again along the Coast Highway 101. It’s not long before we turn off onto Otter Creek Loop Rd which soon turns into a narrow, one-way road above the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately, it goes our way! We pass some beautiful coast homes as it goes. The north coast was developed with houses and hotels and motels before the State of Oregon declared the beaches off-limits for building and belonging to the people of Oregon. The areas that are built up are now required to give access to the beaches for the public and do.

We are on our way to one of my favorite places, Cape Foulweather. Captain James Cook traveled around the world several times. On his third trip in March of 1778, he spotted this outcropping on the Coast. It is 500 very steep feet above the Pacific Ocean. He gave it its name because of the really bad weather he encountered there.

There’s a wonderful gift shop on the point with breathless views. Unfortunately, it is closed right now as are so many places. There are a lot of things to see here also. Spend some time walking around this area and you will see a variety of sights. Sometimes you can spot seals and sea lions. There are many kinds of marine birds but crows are everywhere, including here in the trees.

The view off to the south shows how the beaches of Oregon go on for miles.

Where you find beaches in Oregon, you will also find surfers. They may not be distinct in this photo but they were there waiting to catch a wave!

Traveling on this back road you come to the turnoff to the Devil’s Punch Bowl. A local resident must have spent much time collecting these colorful boat ‘bumpers’ to hang near the entrance.

Arriving at the end of the road is this view looking north.

And this one directly out to sea.

And then….the Devil’s Punch Bowl, so called because the water swirls and splashes around as it comes in. Of course, high tied is the time it is most active.

I lucked out to spot these Cormorants roosting on the rocks just south of the DPB.

There are signs posted stating that drones are now allowed because they scare the birds, interrupt their flight paths and chase them away from their nests. Of course, some idiot brought his drone and sent it flying. I just gave them ‘the look’ as I don’t confront people like that. It doesn’t do any good and can create quite a scene. But I did want to strangle him on behalf of all the many birds.

Again, the Oregon beaches are vast. And this one was filled with surfers. It didn’t look to me like the surf was very good and most of them just fell when they tried to ride a wave. But this one fella made it up. He was standing backward on his surfboard for most of the ride before finally turning around for a bit before the ride was over.

I had the opportunity to visit with a surfer who was done for the day and changing from wetsuit to clothing for the drive home. I mentioned that the waves didn’t look very conducive to this activity. He said but you could catch one now and then and smiled. Surfing in the Pacific Northwest isn’t the romantic picture painted by surf films in Hawaii and California. The Pacific never gets above 55* and this time of year it’s even colder. Thus the wetsuit and not some cutesie swimsuit. You have to be hardy to surf off the Oregon Coast. But, too, they are all very young. You just don’t see the ‘old’ Kahunas hanging here.

We now get our first glimpse of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse just outside of Newport, OR. The clouds conspired with the slowly setting sun to create some nice colors.

On down the road a ways is the entrance to the lighthouse. All of the lighthouses on the Oregon Coast are historic, as is this one. They are all in official parks and you need to pay a fee or have a National Park pass for this one. Well, I have one but I couldn’t find it. She gave me a plastic hanger for when I found it. I actually did find it in the passenger door in its own hanger. I was relieved as I’d forgotten where it was and was concerned that it might be lost. Since all I wanted to do was take a few photos and leave, I didn’t want to have to pay the $7.00 fee. The ranger was really nice to believe me and let me in.

All of the coast lighthouses have been restored but need continuing maintenance on occasion. This one is closed, including the grassy area around it, for maintenance. I think they are closed anyway due to Covid 19. I’ve toured most of the Oregon Coast Lighthouses at one time or another, some more than once. I never get tired of visiting them.

South and East of the lighthouse (but not far) you can walk down to the tide pools. My family and I did one year. We got out of bed at like 2 am and on the road by 3:30 to make the 6 am low tide. It was worth it as we found all the creatures of the tide pools there. It wasn’t low tide this day so you cannot see all the many rocks that are exposed at low tide. There are also volcanic rocks on the shore that are precarious to traverse in order to get to the tide pools. Not much sandy beach here.

There is an old rock quarry as part of this park. It is an experimental intertidal area carved out of the quarry at Quarry Cove to see how it would deveop when left alone to become colonies of marine life. The experiment continues to this day. The quarry is fully accessible to the handicap, as well as the rest of us. It is closed right now due to flooding but we have been down to visit it when seeing the lighthouse and tide pooling here.

This is another picture showing the vast expanse of the Oregon Coast Beaches as you leave the park. I did stop and thank the ranger and show her my pass. She smiled.

There were a lot of boats out and coming and going everywhere I went. I think because the ocean was so calm! Most of them were fishing boats. They go out whenever they can as they make their living fishing.

A real treat, although not an unusual sight. Two Bald Eagles as we leave the park. You can’t miss or mistake these white heads for anything else. Sighting them never loses its joy!

Stay tooned to join me next time for a visit to Newport, Oregon.

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