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Oregon Coast with Sukuma

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Oregon Coast with Sukuma
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A Coastal Romp with Sukuma
...from the journals of CW Bryant

August 2...
    My last summer fling before school!  Mom and I along with Sukuma, our one year old German Shepherd/Alaskan Malamute/wolf pup jumped into the car--packed full of dog food, frisbee, kite, ice chest, blankets and clothes.  We were A view along the Oregon for the Oregon coast, Sukuma’s and my favorite!  From Portland we headed southwest on Hwy. 99 and Hwy. 18 through the Tualatin Valley to Lincoln City on the central Oregon coast.  
    “Wow, there’s a great white shark cruising high in the sky, that’s a tail-whipping serpent, and, look at the whirly-wig spinning a rainbow of colors--what a sight!  Kite flying is great along Oregon’s coast--a whole lot of wind!  Don’t worry if you don’t have a kite, there are some pretty cool kite shops in Lincoln City.
    Lincoln City offers plenty of oceanside activities.  Find miles of public beach, Devil’s Lake State Park, and Siletz Bay estuary.  Also, enjoy this coastal town’s colorful kite festivals.  Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau (800-452-2151).
    “There’s Nevada, oh and Utah!” yelled out mom.
    Mom and I are tracking how many different state licenses we can find.  People from all over come to visit the coast, traveling up and down Highway 101.  
    We soon pulled into the Surf-rider Resort, next to Fogerty Creek State Park.
    Fogerty Creek State Park is just south of Lincoln City.  Its 142 acres have a protected beach, picnicking, hiking trails, and fishing.  Dogs need to be leashed.
    After checking in we headed for Otter Rock, a few miles south.  The tide is at its lowest and wow, the tide pooling is fantastic!  Sukuma and I love exploring the crevices for crabs, sea anemones, hopping from rock to rock, and accidentally on purpose falling into cold ocean pools--we take our time climbing out!    
    Mom says the Devils Punchbowl has been eroded by the wind and water, it’s a really cool hole and cave--check outGreat tide pooling at Marine Gardens at Otter Rock the echo.  We joined another family looking for agates among the rocks on the beach.  I found quite a few, they were small though!  
    Marine Gardens at Otter Rock is open from dawn to dusk and is free of charge.  When exploring tide pools consult a tide table for low tide and always be careful of the incoming tide and of sneaker waves that appear out of the regular wave pattern.
    On our way back to the resort, we checked out Cape Foulweather.  Do you know that winds can blow 100 mph there?  It was pretty windy even during our visit!  I held on tight to Sukuma.
    “Captain Cook, who charted Hawaii, also sailed here and named this point Cape Foulweather,” Mom explained.
    Luckily for us, we stopped at a wayside area near Depoe Bay and saw a gray whale!  We followed his spouts of spray, trying to guess where he would surface next until he disappeared into the distance.
    From December to February gray whales, many of which are pregnant migrate some 12,000 miles from the Bering Sea south along the western coasts of Canada and the U.S. to warm lagoons in Baja, Mexico.  They return north to the rich feeding waters of the Bering Sea with their calves in March and April.  The coastal waters between Yaquina Bay and Depoe Bay provide excellent whale watching.  Some travel offshore as close as 200 yards.  During the southbound migration in early January, often 30 whales per hour are sighted.  Between 200 and 500 gray whales feed here all summer long.
    After dinner at the resort, we took off down the 85 steps to the beach below to watch the sunset.  I love climbing on the rocks and so does Sukuma!  A dead wolf eel had washed up with the tide.  Boy, was he ugly, weird teeth, too!
    “Guess what the wolf eel eats?” mom asked.  “It has a clump of long, hard buck teeth and super strong jaws--all the better to crush crabs, sea urchins and other shellfish.”
    Tide pooling at night is really fun, but don’t forget a flashlight!

August 3...

    Sukuma and I are up early with the sea gulls to see what the tide washed in--another wolf eel!
    Yaquina Head Lighthouse is a working light station--really cool.  And, below is Cobble Beach, full of black cobblestones.  The waves wash across the smooth round rocks knock-ing them together making this real soothing Tidepooling at Cobble Beach.sound.  The tide pooling here is real fun too!         
    Harbor seals are everywhere, mostly basking on nearby rocks.  Sukuma didn’t know whether to play with the seals or eat them--they bark like a dog but really look like overstuffed sausages!  
    Everywhere were bright green sea anemones, red starfish, purple sea urchins, iridescent sea plants, barnacles, mussels, small fish, and hermit crabs.  A new find for me was a nudibranch--a bright yellow sea slug with graceful fins running along its sides and lacy tentacles peeking out from its head.  Lots of birds, too--gulls, pelicans, and murres.  
    A watercolor class was scattered about the beach painting the landscape, maybe even Sukuma and me!
    Historic Yaquina Head Lighthouse, considered one of the most beautiful lighthouses in America was first lit in 1873.  The 92-foot-high tower stands 162 feet above sea level.  Keepers maintained the lighthouse until it was automated in 1966.  Tours are available. Enjoy spotting whales, Harbor seals, and a variety of birds that use the headland for nesting.  Explore the many trails, tide pools, and an archaeological dig.  Yaquina Head Natural Area (541-265-5679)
    Further south, we picnicked at Agate Beach.  Sukuma dug out piles of sand and rock and I sifted through them looking for agates.  We make a great team!
Yaquina Lighthouse and beach
    Then it was on to Newport.  The Hallmark Inn is on a bluff overlooking the beach and ocean.  I grabbed my kite and was off to catch some wind!
    Bayfront Historic District in Newport is a fun spot.  There’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Wax Works, Undersea Gardens and The Taffy Shop with a taffy pulling machine!  The air smells of fish and the docks are lined with big fishing trawlers.
     While we ate dinner and watched the sunset, the last of the fishing trawlers cruised in with their day’s catch.  We also saw large sea lion bulls plop themselves up on the docks below us and bark loudly, an-swering barks from friends across the bay!

August 4...

    The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the greatest--seals, sea lions, otters, a jellyfish tank, giant octopus, tufted puffins, lots of fish, a tide pool, even a wolf eel!
    There’s one seal that sucks onto the viewing window upside down--he looks pretty goofy!  
    I remember when Keiko, the “Free Willy” whale was living there.  He’s in Iceland, now.  I watched him from below in his huge tank playing with a piece of seaweed.  He cruised the windows and several times  came right up to me smiling--he liked looking at us kids!
    Newport is between the Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay. Besides an important commercial fishing port visitors can find lots of activities--an
Marine volcanic basalt formations. estuary, wildlife reserves, forest trails, both bay and ocean beaches, tide pools, whale watching charters, the haunted  Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Bayfront Historic District with shops, galleries, and eateries, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Hatfield Marine Science Center, and the Oregon Coast History Center.  Newport Chamber of Commerce (800-262-7844).
    “There’s Montana, and oh, oh, oh... Alaska!” I was finding lots of different license plates.
    The road is very curvy and it overlooks the deepest blue ocean and miles of sandy beach--sometimes scattered with huge chunks of rock.  The rocky cliffs are worn into really awesome shapes.
    We pulled into Yachats at the Holiday Inn Market and Mote
Kite flying on the Oregon coast.l.  I grabbed the kite and we headed off to the beach.  Wow, was the wind great.  My kite soared, then took a nose dive, pulled up at the last moment before almost bombing into the water--boy, is this fun!
    “Look what Sukuma and I found,”  Mom said as she showed me a 6 inch wide Dungeness crab!  “We found him in the surf...  hors d’oeuvres tonight.”
    And, that’s what we did, we cooked the crab--it couldn’t have been any fresher!  At the little grocery store next to the hotel we picked up some hot dogs and “S’mores” fixin's. This is a yummy graham cracker sandwich of marshmallows and chocolate bars.  Then we hoofed it back out to a huge driftwood pile on the beach.  Sukuma and I explored, while mom started a campfire.  It wa
s so-o-o fun roasting marshmallows under the stars on the beach!
    Yachats is a small community that offers a variety of quiet beach lodgings as well as several celebrations--music festivals, the oldest kite festival and the world famous Smelt Festival.  The smelt, tiny sardine-like fish come to shore in large numbers to spawn between April and October.  Enjoy the annual “Smelt Fry”  in July.  Yachats Chamber of Commerce (541-547-3530).


Where was Solomon born?

This is Solomon, a new born Humpback whale. He provided hours of entertainment for our group of whale watchers. Where was Solomon born? Click here to find out.

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