Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Potentially good weather, after yesterday’s cold rain.  got us out early to take the three capes loop drive along the coast to Tillamook then back by a slightly different route. The weather cooperated with a beautiful, sunny day. First stop was this overlook called Gammon’s Launch. Dick Gammon was a pioneer hang glider who made the sport popular in the area launching from this spot.
I couldn’t believe people were actually in the cold waters at this time of year. It was a nice day but…
At Whiskey Creek Fish Hatchery, we spoke with a volunteer who got us to feed the Chinook Salmon smolts that are about five inches long. They send 100,000 of them into area rivers each year. The most interesting aspect to this operation is that they anesthetize each little smolt and clip its dorsal fin. When they return as adults to the river, the clipped fin tells the fisherman it is not wild and can be taken. Wild salmon are presently off limits to anglers.  One per cent of the “plants”  make it back. Most are picked up in the ocean by professional trawlers.  We also fed  huge rainbow trout in a pond. I couldn’t believe trout grow to 17-18 pounds.
We poked around Netarts and Oceanside. I’m sure this set of rocks has a name but I don’t know what it is.
The seaside communities are small and colorful and artsy. We bought oysters at Netarts because they provide the cleanest oysters and clams available. Rivers that flow into the ocean near Netarts do not carry effluent and fertilizers from the huge dairy farms farther up the coast. (Other shellfish have to be moved to clean water for several days for flushing  before it can be sold.)
This is Oceanside.
At Cape Meares State Park, an Eagle perched on a rock and ate a bird it killed with a very patient vulture hovering nearby, waiting for it to finish.
In the above photo, the eagle is perched between the two small tide pools behind the first big tide pool. You can click on this photo to enlarge it.  The rangers had a telescope on the eagle. The following photo with its high magnification does reveal the eagle’s bloody prey as it looks directly toward the scope.
We watched and waited. When the eagle finished eating, it flew directly at the vulture and scared it away. A number of crows and gulls gathered on the nearby rocks and two vultures circled above but none dared to touch the eagle’s leftovers-at least not while we watched.
Cape Meares  Lighthouse is the shortest lighthouse on the coast at only 38 feet tall. However, it sits on a 217 foot bluff.  In an earlier blog, I proclaimed the Yaquina Bay lighthouse was the smallest. That was wrong. It is the smallest in that county. This delightful lighthouse was vandalized by two young men who used high powered rifles and shot 16 windows out and badly damaged the lens. The lense is still unstable and no one can go up inside the light area until it is completely repaired. A slow and expensive process. The young men have to pay $400 a month restitution for the damage, plus the original fine of $60,000 toward the effort.
The restoration person at work. We walked the hiking trails to another interesting place in the park. An amazing sitka spruce called the octopus tree.
The tree is estimated to be between 250-300 years old. No one knows why it grew in this fashion, sending out branches and growing up instead of a main trunk. It is 46 feet around at the base, and it stands 105 feet tall.
The cliff overlooks here are astounding.
We drove on to Tillamook. More on that tomorrow.
For other pictures I took, you can check out my album: https://picasaweb.google.com/106530979158681190260/20115163CapesFisheryTillamook#

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