April 26, 2012

Sea Creatures, Lighthouses and Bridges

After a long, rainy day, we awoke this morning to bright blue skies.  What a pleasant surprise since the forecast had predicted more rain.  We took our time getting ready to leave and enjoyed our pretty view for as long as we could.  It was tempting to stay another day, but we needed to move on.

We Can See Clearly Now, the Rain Has Gone
Alsea Bay Bridge Is In the Distance Behind Us
We Love This Spot
The Ocean Is Even Visible In the Distance
Tim suggested that we stop at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon, and that turned out to be a wonderful idea.  We had recently enjoyed our visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the granddaddy of all aquariums, but the one here had its own special features. For one thing, it was the interim home to Keiko, the orca whale and star of the film Free Willy.

Walking through the underwater tunnels of the Passages of the Deep exhibit was very cool, but my favorite exhibits were outdoors.  Here, the sea lions, seals and sea otters (my favorite) frolicked, or slept, in a series of pools.  Multiple viewing areas made it so easy to get a close look at them.  There were even quite a few places where there was no acrylic barrier to block our view.  This was also the case at the outdoor aviary, where we watched cute puffins and other sea birds playing in the water.  For me, it is these numerous “up close and personal” viewing opportunities that set this aquarium apart from the others we have visited.

The Tunnel Through Passages of the Deep
Taking a Snooze
Sea Otters Are So Cute
Tufted Puffins Like to Entertain
We Could Almost Touch the Anemonies
What Colorful Creatures They Are
On our way out of Newport we stopped to see the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and learned that it was near here where Captain James Cook made landfall in 1778.  News of Cook’s voyage aroused Thomas Jefferson’s interest in the Pacific Northwest, which led to the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
The bluff on which the lighthouse is located provided us with a dramatic view of the historic Yaquina Bay Bridge, which was completed in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration. This Art Deco landmark is one of twenty or so bridges designed by Conde McCullough, and we have been admiring them on our drive along the Oregon coast.  Unfortunately, his Alsea Bay Bridge in Waldport was demolished and replaced in 1991.  The new bridge is the one we could see from our campsite last night.  Although it is a lovely bridge, it just doesn’t hold a candle to the historic bridge it replaced.

Yaquina Bay Bridge
Dramatic coastal views continued to impress us as we left Newport.  The Oregon coast has certainly lived up to its reputation for beauty, drama and history, and it’s been a spectacular ride.  As we turned inland near Lincoln City to make our way over the Coast Range to Salem, it started to rain again.  Just another day in Oregon.

A Spectacular Coast
A Historic Coast
A Beautiful Coast
Even Kitty Wanted a Closer View of the Oregon Coast


  1. The west coast is a geological wonder! You can certainly see the big picture there. Just beautiful. LV

    1. LV, The west coast is certainly spectacular. It's just one amazing view or place after another. You could spend months here and not experience it all. Sarah