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Wednesday June 15- Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Otter Rock, Cape Foulweather, Nye Beach

When we woke up it was raining, but the sun quickly came out, and we expect it to go back in again! Happens like that in this area. We drove north to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. This is the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast at 93 ft. It stands 162 feet able sea level.

It was first illuminated in 1873.  We first stopped at Quarry Cover, where there were supposed to be Harbor Seals. Nope, it turns out, that they go out before low tide and come back just before high tide. It was quite a hike down, but worse hiking back up, especially since it started to rain. So much for my hair, which is just my luck, since I was having
a rare good hair day!  So we went to the Interpretative Center, which was interesting. This is a picture of one of the book cases.

The lighthouse supervisor visited every 3 months. The light keepers and their families did not know when they were coming and the supervisor would do a surprise inspection. The supervisor even  checked every inch of the house, making  sure that the wife was keeping the house spotless, in addition to the light keeper keeping the lighthouse  spotless. The supervisor brought this bookcase with him and traded it with the one he left last time he visited. The lighthouses, even though some of them were close to town, were still isolated, due to the light keeper being extremely busy, keeping the lighthouse up to par. He had to clean the Fresnel lens daily, keep oil ready to burn, repair and paint the windswept buildings. The wife has to cook and clean, as well as grow much of their food, tend the chickens, cows ,care for the children, etc. It was a busy, but lonely life. We ran past the lighthouse, since it did not open until noon.

Our next stop was at Otter Rock. This is a quaint little area. There was a small Mo’s there but it was too early for lunch. We ran out as far as we could in the car. Jumped out, looked at the scenery,

and then went back a block to the Flying Dutchman winery for a tasting. This is the western most winery in the continental US, because Otter Rock juts out into the Pacific. We tried the 2009  White Riesling, the 2006 Pinot Noir, and the Coastal Blackberry. They were okay, but not great.

We took the back road, which is right on the ocean, a few miles north to Cape Foulweather.The little store was full of junk, but it had a nice view.

We could see the Yaquina Head Lighthouse from this point.

Farther north, we drove through the coastal town of Depoe Bay. We purposely drove through, not stopping, so that we could return at high tide. Our next stop was Lincoln City. We pulled into a Rite Aid, and I bought a barrette to pull up my hair. We stopped at “Shirley’s” for lunch. The food was okay, but the price was a little high. We had turned around and were now heading south.

We arrived in Depoe Bay, just at high tide, 1:22 PM. There is a “sprouting horn” there. A spouting horn is where water shoots up like a geyser if the water comes in at just the right direction. The guidebook says it sprouts in the winter, and we think that is because the winds are coming from the southwest. Unfortunately, the winds today were coming from the northwest, so we did not see anything.

This is also a big whale watching area. There is a pod of whales who spend the summer in this area, but I guess that no one told them we were coming to watch them! The gray whales migrate from the southern coast to the Bering sea, and should have been passing by the area. We crossed the street and went to a ‘clam chowder’ tasting. I thought it was pretty good, especially since I don’t like clam chowder. Bob thought it tasted too much like potato soup.  We went next door to the Depoe Bay Winery and tasted the Peach, Blackberry,  Apple  Jack, Niagara and Sweet Red. We were going to buy the Blackberry, but it was $25 and we thought that was too steep.

We continued south, back to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

The tour is done by volunteers in period costumes, but it was going to be a long wait for the tour so we skipped it for today. We walked out back and looked at Colony Rock where the Common Murre birds nest.I could not get a decent picture, so this is borrowed, with permission ,from Nick Russell’s blog. Picture taken by Terry Russell. www.gypsyjournal.net The ranger told us that she has been up there when the rock was so crowded that she did not think another bird could land on it, when a bird would drop down to the rock, and the other birds would move to make room. “The Common Murre are gregarious, clustering in dense colonies on the flat tops and wide ledges of islands. They nest shoulder to shoulder and may be so tightly packed that the birds returning from sea often land on the heads of others to settle in. They have a stark white breast which contrasts with sleek black feathers to create counter-shaded plumage on a bird that stands upright. Murre’s lay a single pear-shaped egg on the bare ground. (The ranger showed us that the egg has a pointed shape, so that it spins in circles, instead of rolling away). At 4 weeks of age, the still flightless chick jumps from the cliff into the sea to join its father who teaches it to fish and avoid predation.” From the brochure Seabirds of the Northwest.  Yes, they look like penguins, because they are cousins of the penguin.

We went over to look at Cobble Beach. The beach was formed by cooling lava, which due to the cold ocean, formed “cobble” type rocks. There were a few sea lions and seals on the rocks, but again I could not get a decent picture of them with my little camera. This is seal island.

So we moved back to Quary Cove, where the majority of the sea lions and seals are supposed to be at high tide. According to people who were walking back up from the viewing area, there was only one lone seal. So here some more of Terry Russell’s pictures from yesterday.

On the drive back south, we cruised through Nye Beach. Nye is actually a part of Newport. There is a Newport beach, but Nye seems be in the middle of the ocean coast in Newport. Nye is a very little town, with narrow, one way streets. There is a nice park right on the ocean.

We returned to the motor home, grilled chicken and watched TV until bedtime.

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