The thing that strikes me about these Oregon beaches is how vast they are. One after another, they line the coast. All with deep, soft sand and tides that have huge tidal variances of about eight feet. They also seem so pristine to me. There are no shells or debris; just occasional driftwood. And even though this is the busy season, it’s relatively uncrowded. There is plenty of time to interact with the knowledgeable park rangers.
The small town of Depoe Bay bills itself as the world’s smallest navigable port, and it is an active fishing village and jumping off point for many whale-watching excursions. Normally, I’m a fanatic for the whale-watching trips, but since we’d recently been on one in California and have seen so many whales from our hotel, we opted for other activities. We enjoyed the views and chatting with a local fisherman. The port may be small but it was certainly very active on this day.
We headed back down the coast to see a few more of those amazing beaches. First stop was Cape Foulweather, named by Captain James Cook in 1778. The whales were out and we spent some time just watching from the lookout house/ranger outpost at the summit.
At the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area we visited Yaquina Head Lighthouse, at 93’ the tallest lighthouse in Oregon, and spent some time hunting for sea life in the beautiful tidepools at Cobble Beach.
With seals lounging on nearby rocky outcroppings and bird colonies nearby, we found large numbers of anemone and urchins, as well as a few ochre sea stars and a bright yellow sea slug.
After another great seafood lunch, this time at Nye Beach in Newport. Newport is a really nice town with several areas to walk around. They have a lot of activities to offer including an aquarium and marine science center, but we chose to visit another lighthouse, this one the only wooden lighthouse in Oregon, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, which was only in service from 1871-1874 and actually sits on top of the lightkeeper’s home.
Another observation – everyone we have met here is so nice. Helpful, calm, happy to answer questions; it’s a pleasure to be in Oregon.
This has been a lovely day. We’ve journeyed down the coast to Depoe Bay, and are staying in an absolutely wonderful B&B on Whale Cove (Whale Cove Inn). In addition to more wonderful views, we had a terrific lunch in Pacific City at the Pelican Pub & Brewery in a perfect place by the dunes at Cape Kiwanda. Cars can be driven on the beach, and the dory fleet of small boats also land on the beach; there is a lot of traffic on this beach. We did see a couple of beached dory boats but, regrettably, I did not get pictures.
We stopped in Otter Rock and saw the Devil’s Punch Bowl. The tide was high and the wind was howling, it was beautiful. Pictures do not do it justice; the golden rock formations are so solidly massive and in stark contrast to the swirling sea.
We continued on to (the west coast) Newport and its quaint Nye Beach and Historic Newport Bayfront on Yaquina Bay. The Bayfront area is home to a busy working fishing fleet, in addition to a U.S. Coast Guard Station, NOAA’s Pacific research fleet and all sorts of shops, galleries, and restaurants. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner of Dungeness Crab soup and fresh tuna at Local Ocean as we watched the last boats come in for the day. This is known as the Dungeness Crab capital, and our timing was good since crab season ends in mid-August and they are already in short supply.
The icing on the cake was returning to our room and seeing a Gray Whale hanging out in the cove outside our window. As it rolled to feed, it kept showing one side of its tail fluke, known as “sharking.” Perfect.