12.30.2003

Newport and the Coast

On 12/29, we left for the coast. We were going to watch the whale migration and do a little geocaching and letterboxing before the new year.

The morning we left, it was snowing in Eugene. Bug had to sweep some snow off the truck so we could get started. The snow was coming down pretty hard, but by the time we got halfway to Florence on 126, the snow was gone, and it was barely raining. In Florence, the weather was sunny and bright, but still pretty cool.

We headed North on 101, the Coast Highway and stopped for a virtual cache at the Sea Lion Caves. From here, we could see the Heceta Head lighthouse. The cache was Smash-a-Penny, and to log it, you had to document coordinates for one of those smashed penny machines. We picked the Sea Lion Caves because we love the pennies that you can get there. :)

Then we headed north again and stopped at Strawberry Hill just after noon. We picked up the Strawberry by the Sea letterbox at this wayside about 5 miles south of Yachats, OR. It was a cute little strawberry stamp. This was our fifth letterbox that we have found.
The next letterbox we found was above Newport. We went back to the Devil's Punchbowl State Park and found the letterbox there. The stamp was of a drinking some sort of hot drink with a punchbowl in front of him. It was a very cute stamp, and one of the best that we have found.
The last letterbox of the trip was at Boiler Bay, where we first saw whales with Harland and Mom. It was a small stamp with waves on it.

After letterboxing, we headed back down to Newport to check into our hotel. We stayed at the Whaler and had the most beautiful view of the ocean from out window. The sunset was great that evening!

We looked around at the Hatfield Marine Science center and saw alll kinds of tidal pool inhabitants, including anemones, sunstars (starfish), and sea urchins. We also got to see lots of information about whales and the yearly migrations.

The next day, we got up really early and went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. They have a fabulous facility that houses thousands of ocean creatures! As we went into the display areas, there was a great sculpture of sea turtles carved from a tree. We saw many different reef fish, blennies, leopard eels, jellyfish and crocodiles.

We saw lots of sunstars, which we normally think of as starfish. Some were huge, almost 3 feet across, while others were soft and pink. Bug really liked seeing the tidal pool tanks and getting to touch the animals.

These are some of the amazing animals that were at the aquarium.
Yellow Tangs 1 & 2
Reef Fish 1, 2, 3, & 4
Stranger Things 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & the weirdest thing I've ever seen!

After exploring the aquarium, we found the geocache that was hidden on the grounds, and headed out to explore Newport and the surrounding area.
We picked up shells and rocks on Agate Beach just north of the city. From the beach, we could see the Yaquina Head lighthouse to the north.

After an exciting trip, we headed back to Eugene to ring in the New Year!

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