Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Oregon coast: better than Disneyland!

Sea palms (Postelsia) or as I dubbed them, miniature Lorax trees at Rocky Creek State Park, north of Newport. Copyright (c) 2012 Wendee Holtcamp 

I took Sam to the Central Oregon coast two weekends ago (and this past one, we went to Astoria, Cannon Beach and the north Oregon coast, but those pics will have to wait until another day- maybe tomorrow!) The Devil's Punchbowl shown in this photo can be seen in the tiny town of Otter Rock. At high tide, the ocean splashes up through the hole in the rock. We went at high tide, but it didn't splash so much. Maybe it was a lowish high tide. Sam wondered why the water inside the "bowl" is a different color than the ocean. I think it's probably an effect of the depth but I'm not sure.

Another view of the Devil's punchbowl and the gorgeous rocky coastline. We arrived on Friday night, on a cloudy, drizzly (aka typical) day on the Oregon coast (I took these punchbowl photos on Sunday, actually) and it was pretty cloudy all Saturday too. We were the guests of Dick Cutler and the Inn at Otter Crest, an awesome condo and hotel/resort in Otter Rock, Oregon where I'd stayed on my last year's trip also. I didn't get a photo but it has the coolest "tram" that takes you from the parking lot at the bottom of the hill to the lodge units which are placed up a steep mountainside. We were at the very top! It is sort of like an elevator, and it went pretty slow, but it was kind of a fun experience. Especially when a group of kids were in it with us, and we were going downhill, and one of the young ones said, "is this moved by people power?" Out of the mouths of babes! Ha!

The first order of the day was to see the Japanese dock that washed all the way across the sea to Newport! It has become a popular tourist attraction! See it soon, though, as they are about to cut it up and haul it off. It originally had seaweed growing all over it and other images on the web show it in all its glory, but they "torched" it to kill everything, after collecting samples for scientists to study. They thought an oceanic journey would kill everything but no... at least three species are potentially invasive, so they were concerned about economic and ecological repercussions. I also attended a meeting of the two U.S. Oregon Congressmen and representatives of various boating and fishing industries, to discuss what to do about possible repercussions if ships at sea run into some big debris like this floating dock.

People clearly do not wish to obey the No Trespassing signs. :)

Just below the Inn at Otter Crest, there's a nice beach where a lot of people go and have campfires.  I love campfires so much, and only wish we could have had one. Nothing is more awesome than hanging out by a campfire with friends or a loved one.  People also look for agates which are common on the Oregon coast especially in this area. We looked for agates but I couldn't remember what they looked like in the unpolished form and I was confusing them for geodes in my mind.

So he was trying to crack them open...

Another view of Otter Crest beach

A nice bench!

Later, we stopped by Rocky Creek State Park to do some tide pool explorin'. When I got there, I realized I had been here before, but only as far as this. I had taken some photos on last year's visit.

Sam found this ginormous skunk cabbage leaf on the trail down to the tide pool area. Of course, he has to hide his face behind it... He so loves his photo taken...

A view of the vista at Rocky Creek State Park.

Then we climbed down onto the rocky shore below. 

Sam walking on the volcanic rock. It reminded me of the Galapagos Islands. Minus the iguanas. And Sally Lightfoot crabs.

And then... I spotted them. What the heck? Miniature Lorax trees growing on the rocks?

I got closer, and marveled at the awesomeness that is the mini-Lorax tree seaweed. OK really they are called sea palms, or scientific name Postelsia. And they're edible and very nutritious! While Sam explored, I sat and watched and photographed the waves splashing the Lorax trees, er, sea palms, for a long time. I had such a sense of peace.

A cool shot of the ocean splashing on the rocks and the sea palms.

They are just the coolest things ever!

A fun shot of a wave coming in. It was cool how the color in the wave is more green than the deeper blue/aqua of the rest. Kind of similar to how the color inside of the devil's punchbowl was more green. It must have something to do with the reflection of the sun and the depth. See, I'm solving the conundrum using my own photographs!


I had this tiny daisy in my hair, as I am inclined to do, and it fell into the water, and I thought it looked kinda cool. There were also mussels all over the place.

Later that day, we stopped by the Whale Museum, just opened in Depoe Bay, and since there was a second low tide later in the day, we decided to go tide pooling at Boiler Bay at the recommendation of the people at the Whale Museum. It wasn't a super low tide, and we had to totally bush-whack through the freakin jungle to get to the rocky ledge, but it was cool once we did. Then on the way back up we discovered an easier path up the bank.

It's so named because of a schooner that ran aground and then the oil tanks exploded. Some of the metal is still present in the bay, including one of the engine oilers - seen here - that is visible at low tide.

I just love me some starfish.
More starfish!

This is such a funny photo of Sam throwing a piece of seaweed at me!

Another view of Boiler Bay

Sam found this very bizarre hollow tube of some sort of seaweed. Reminds me of the weird horn-like hair growths on some of the Star Wars characters.

I wanted to add a few images I took with my phone. We ate at Oceanbleu at Gino's in the historic Bayfront area of Newport, on the recommendation of Yelp, and it didn't disappoint. Both Sam and I agreed it was the best seafood we had on our entire Oregon trip. I decided that even though I've been vegetarian since the beginning of the year, I would have some of the locally caught wild salmon while here. It didn't disappoint! Their clam chowder was delicious too.

I took a similar photo of this shop last year but love this one because you can see Sam and my reflection in the image. Ha ha! The shop was open this time and I got some pretty funny gifts in here...

I took Sam to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, and we saw some pretty cool tide pools but it wasn't that low of a low tide this day - not anything like when I went last year. Anyway these are the cobbles on the cobblestone beach that I think are so cool. I didn't take pics with my good camera because it was super drizzly.

We also went to the Sea Lion caves near Florence, where we not only saw Steller sea lions but we bought and then consumed enormous quantities of fudge.

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