I would say the best secret of the central coast of Oregon is whale watching. The most excited moment was watching a gray whale up close. It swam across the water by the whale watching center at the Depoe Bay State Park. At first we had no clue where to look. After standing in the chill pacific wind for quite some time, a guy spotted a whale by the huge rocks on the shore. Stephen saw it, too. I looked over that way and searched real hard for any signs of whales, but didn’t see anything except the crashing waves. After a while, I saw a spout of water coming up from the water nearby, then the back of the whale appeared above the water. Wow! I saw it for the first time ever!!! The giant gray whale swam along the shore and crossed the water beneath. It spouted water, arched up its back, waved its tail, and dove down. I recorded it on the camcorder. That was way cool!
The whale kept swimming by the shore and further away from the watching center. We still saw it spraying water and up and down the water. Now I knew the first sight of whales is the spouting water. There were whale watching boats heading out to the sea. Usually we saw the spouts near the whale watching boats in the distance. 25 whales were seen yesterday. The gray whales spend their summer and fall along the Oregon coast, migrate to the south for breeding in winter. Other good places to watch whales are Rocky Creek Wayside and Boiler Bay.
After a delicious seafood lunch at the local restaurant, we walked back to watch the whales again. Adding to the fun was the sight of two black birds with long red beaks landing on the rocks. The afternoon sun warmed up the cool air. It was pleasant leaning against the rock wall and listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the huge black rocks on shore.
We left Depoe Bay and stopped by the Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint. The little Whale Cove doesn’t have a public access but we could see it afar from the viewpoint. The sky was hazy. It might be the smoke blown from the wildfire in central Oregon. Some brave people climbed on the cliff by the cove. There are some huge houses sitting on the terrace facing the ocean. What a great place to live watching the whales and the seascape! We saw whales again in the distance.
We walked through a narrow trail down to a huge fine sandy beach. The sand was hot under the bare feet. Walking closer to the ocean, the wet sand was easy to walk on and was cooler. Huge white waves rolled over roaring to the beach. Facing the coming tide, I deeply felt the enormous power of the ocean. The sea water was cold even in the hottest summer day. Mists floated above the beach in the distance. A lighthouse was barely visible from afar. Kids were playing with dogs. People were running around, chasing the waves, sliding on the beach, or just watching the waves coming and going.
We stopped at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area to see the lighthouse. But what lit up our eyes was not the lighthouse. There are some big rocks in the Tidepools. Lots of black seabirds were resting on the islets by the shore. We saw the whales in the water again! As I was enjoying the grand vista of the ocean, Stephen walked around. A moment later, he signaled me to go over. “Seals! There are seals on the rock!” He spoke excitedly in a low voice. From the binoculars, I saw about a dozen mammals on the giant black rock down there in the water. We were told those with grey dots were harbor seals and a couple of brown ones were sea lions. The best kept secret of this place is wildlife watching!
A seal was lying on a tiny rock next to the big rock. After a while, it left and swam towards the big rock where other seals and sea lions were hanging out. After several tries, it finally jumped onto the bigger rock with the help of the waves. It crawled on the rock awkwardly, and found a good spot to lie down enjoying the warm sun. Another seal also climbed up to the big rock. It was a lot more fun to watch seals in the wild.
There were lots of kids and adults in the Tidepools by the pebble beach. I joined them and climbed up to the rocks to watch another group of seals and sea lions. A couple of seals were playfully swimming in the water. Their cute round heads stuck out of the water once in a while. Kids were searching for sea stars, shells, crabs, mussels, and more. The pebble beach is covered with black round pebbles. Nothing should be taken away from this natural area to preserve its beauty and wilderness.
We crossed the old Yaquina Bay Bridge twice today and got some pictures. Watching the sunset from the east bank of the Alsea Bay was the last beautiful moment of the day. A few seagulls flew on the water, and a couple of seals were in the bay. The color of the setting sun was as red as the watermelon. It emitted soft lights and set peacefully without brilliant arrays of color display. We were so happy to find some of the secrets of the central coast of Oregon and glad we are here.