Summer Trip to Newport – Day 1

Date of visit: July 15, 2018

It was a hot weekend in Portland – up in the mid 90s. Thank goodness we had planned to go to the coast. Back around Christmas we read an article in The Oregonian about things to do in Newport so it has been on our radar for a while. The biggest draw is the Oregon Aquarium – which I’ll cover in the next post. Newport is not the closest coastal city to Portland but it is a nice – non-weekend – drive down Highways 99 and 18 over to US 101 and down the coast through Depoe Bay and Lincoln City.

We stopped for lunch at Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay – which is up on a bluff overlooking the ocean – and we got a treat – whales! There is a pod of whales that stick around the Oregon coast rather than migrating as north and south. That’s a treat for us.

After winding our way down a busy US 101 through Lincoln City we hit our first stop – Yaquina Head and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Here is a Google Maps view of the area. Yaquina Head is a National Park – so entrance is free if you are senior citizen with a lifetime park pass. Otherwise I think the cost is less that $10 per car.

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 1.38.37 PM

Overview of the Newport area

We were blessed with a beautiful calm blue day and could see far down Nye Beach to the south.

A7R01892

Looking south from Yaquina Head

We could see maybe 3 to 6 whales working the buffet off the coast. They seemed to be setting bubble nets by going in a circle leaving a trail of bubbles – which I think they do to catch their food – then swim through the circle to feed. I tried and tried to get pictures of the whales but most all you could see is big gray humps occasionally breaking the surface. Twice we saw whales blow a bit. The best picture I could get is this extreme zoom on a whale that seems to have one of his pectoral fins out of the water.

A7R01924

Whale lifting one of its pectoral fins

We were also treated to a flock of brown pelicans skimming the water.

A7R02103

We took the stairs down to Cobble Beach to get a closer look at the water. Cobble Beach is a young beach – the ocean hasn’t broken the basalt rock down to sand yet – the closer you get to the water’s edge, the smaller the rocks are.

Basalt Rocks at Cobble Beach

The main attraction is the Yaquina Head Lighthouse which has been in operation since the Gilded Age – late 19th century. Before the lighthouse was built, ships moving up the Oregon coast would have to anchor each night because they couldn’t navigate the rugged shore. For this reason, lighthouses are under the Department of Commerce

A7R02049

 

A7R02040

A7R01897

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

There are tours every hour – our docent knew his history and walked us through the lighthouse. He was dressed in the uniform of a Lighthouse Keeper – note the embroidered “K” on his jacket lapel. We were applicants for the job of second keeper.

A7R01977

Back in the day the lamp fuel was refined lard – pig fat. It was stored in three 100 gallon vats.

A7R01978

The vat room is on the ground floor always had a small fire going in order to keep the lard liquid. It would be carried up to the lamp a few gallons at a time.

It was time to head up the circular stairs attached to the inside walls.

A7R01988

Circular stairs to the top of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse

I was so excited I forgot I hate heights until I was on the third step. This is an old staircase and we had to ascend in groups of six. After the first group of six make their way to a landing the next group could start.

Eventually we made our way up to the light room. It is now lit by a halogen light rather than pig lard – but it still uses the original 1st order Fresnel Lens which focuses the light so it can be seen 19 miles out to sea.

A7R01987-Edit

First Order Fresnel Lens of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse

After spending a few hours it was time to head a few miles south to our vacation headquarters. Walking back to the car I couldn’t pass up this final view looking up to the Yaquina Head bluff.

A7R01991

More adventures await; please stay tuned

 

About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
This entry was posted in National Parks, Oregon Coast, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Summer Trip to Newport – Day 1

  1. WhyToStop says:

    Amazing post and very interesting to read… 😊👌

  2. Pingback: Summer Trip to Newport – Day 2 | 2for66

  3. Pingback: Summer Trip to Newport – Day 3: Leaving | 2for66

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.