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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Seagulls and Shipwrecks

Lately I've had a fascination with the Oregon coast.


Looking across the Columbia River to Washington

Normally on the mountain this time of year, I never visit the ocean beaches.  But still barred from skiing, in early January, I set my sights westward.  It all started with an excellent New Year's Day afternoon at Cannon Beach.  That trip whetted my appetite for further exploration.


Seagulls in flight

The following weekend, I convinced my hubby to join me for another coastal excursion.  Having spent most of the fall salmon season fishing at the mouth of the Columbia River, Roger wanted to show me his favorite lucky spots.  We headed to Fort Stevens State Park, on Oregon's north-westernmost tip.


One is more friendly than the others

It was a dismal, rainy day.  The minute we left home, dark clouds opened up, and continued to follow us most of the drive.  Arriving at Fort Stevens, Roger picked the furthest road west, where vehicles were allowed to drive onto the beach.  It was nice to explore the shoreline from the comfort of our truck.  With raindrops still pelting the windows, I didn't venture far from it's warm, dry interior.


Squabbling over stale popcorn

Drab, low-lying clouds obscured most views.  Across the Columbia River's wide channel, I could glimpse Washington's Cape Disappointment.  The Astoria Bridge was barely visible through the fog (if you look real hard you can kinda see it on the far right of my first photo).  A lone fisherman's boat bobbed in the waves.


I caught one guy in flight

A huge flock of seagulls provided some afternoon entertainment.  They were gathered near the water's edge, all lined up in rows.  Venturing closer to get some photos, I disturbed a huge flock, and had fun trying to capture them in flight.  Roger found a bag of stale caramel corn in his truck, and trying to attract the gulls, scattered it across the sand.  The birds came in droves!  Being a lazy photographer, I stuck my lens out an open window, and got some great shots of seagulls fighting over the loot.


Jetty overlook

After several minutes of seagull-watching, it was time for a change of scenery.  Back on Fort Steven's main road, Roger turned down another side road to see where it led.  We came upon a parking lot next to a huge jetty.  A short trail led to an elevated viewing platform.


Where the Pacific and Columbia meet

What could we see from on top?  Of course Roger and I had to find out.  Grabbing both my DSLR and GoPro cameras, I scrambled after my hubby.  The platform gave a wonderful panoramic view of the very place where the Pacific Ocean meets the mighty Columbia River. 


Wild waves

A tall jetty stretched far into the horizon, providing protection for ships as they entered or exited the Columbia Bar.  This is an especially treacherous part of the ocean, earning it's nickname as the "Graveyard of the Pacific" for the large number of shipwrecks that have happened over the centuries.





We had a grand time watching waves crash into the jetty's rock-lined shore.  I tried out my new GoPro camera, and captured a bit of wave action.  Check out the short video above.  I was pleasantly surprised by the sharpness of this footage, despite being shot in such dark, gloomy skies.


Peter Iredale shipwreck

Speaking of shipwrecks......there was one final attraction I wanted to see.  One of Fort Steven's beaches bears the rusting remains of an old sailing ship - the Peter Iredale.


The ship's hull is nearly rotted away

It took some searching down the state park's many side roads to locate the correct beach.  We'd almost given up, when I spotted a small sign that said simply "shipwreck" with an arrow pointing down a road.  Following it to the end led us to a waterlogged parking area.


Water rushing through the hull

Climbing to the top of a sandy dune, I spotted what was left of the ship.  Only it's rotting hull still visible, the rest of the ship had long weathered away, blasted by harsh winds and ocean waves.


Rusted remains

The Peter Iredale ran aground on October 25, 1906.  It had sailed from Mexico, bound for Portland, with a crew of 27, including two stowaways.  As the ship waited for a pilot to guide them across the Columbia Bar, a strong wind blew it into the breakers.  The Iredale ran aground, hitting so hard that three of her masts snapped from the impact.  Luckily, no one was seriously injured, and the crew were quickly rescued.


Tiny shorebirds

Since that day, the Iredale has remained stuck in the sand.  An immediate tourist attraction, crowds of people flocked to the beach to view it's wreckage.  Over a century later, these rusted remains continue to draw many visitors.  A picturesque bit of history, it's an often-photographed landmark.  I walked around the beach, snapping photos of the rusting shell from all angles, until heavy rain, and an aching foot, forced me back to Roger's truck.


Shipwreck reflections

Although the weather was less than cooperative, it was still great to get away and see some new sights.  Oceans, beaches, rivers, waves, seagulls, and shipwrecks.  My coastal itch was satisfied - at least for another week!


(Note to my readers:.  I like to make leaving a comment as easy as possible, but two spam attacks in as many days has forced me to activate comment moderation.  Sorry for the inconvenience.)


Sharing with:  52 Photos Project and Saturday's Critters

42 comments:

  1. How fascinating to see the shipwreck ruin right on the beach! Glad to know the story and thankfully no one was injured ! Loved going through the photographs :)

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  2. One of my favorite places in Oregon! Great photos and it was fun hearing your voice on the jetty video:) I was there one time when a park ranger was showing historical photos of the Peter Iredale. It was really interesting seeing them.
    Blessings, Aimee

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  3. Amazing photos Linda, you've really captured everything that I love about the Oregon coastline. I have only seen it a couple of times in my life but I fell in love with it at first sight. Great post!

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  4. Waves, gulls, waders and wrecks - what more could you ask for? (OK, snow, mountains and healed bones I assume!)

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  5. A great find on the beach, which is very interesting even in grey weather. Love these atmospheric shots.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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  6. Really enjoyed stopping by and seeing your very nice photos of the beach! The shipwreck is amazing! Great photos of a historical piece!! Its so nice to still find the beauty of things even on those gray and rainy days!

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  7. I love the beach scenes, gulls and cute Sanderlings.. The shipwreck is a cool scene.. I believe hubby and I have stopped at this park during our Oregon trip.. Great post and thanks for sharing.. Have a happy day!

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  8. The ocean appears to be a magical place in winter. I find Lake Ontario, while not an ocean, to be special this time of year too. I especially like the photo of the shipwreck. Funny, but I was thinking just the other day about a shipwreck I haven't photographed for a while. Hmmmm.

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  9. Wow, what an incredible outing! "Graveyard of the Pacific"...so eerie. These images truly portray the intensity of this area. And I think the weather was perfect for the theme of this post. Stunning photos! I would definitely stop by to see this shipwreck, but I'm also glad no one was injured.

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  10. The gulls are really lovely birds, but can be pesky. I really like your shots of the old ship. It's hard to imagine that something constructed of steel can float!

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  11. Oh I'd love to see that shipwreck. Is that spot near where Louis and Clark ended up? I thought they were someplace near the river. Do you know?

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    1. Hey Kim, Yes, this is very near Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark spent the winter. I haven't visited the place in years, but I'm thinking it's time to stop by with my camera.... :)

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    2. Must be nice to have beaches like that within reach to explore! Maybe I need a go-pro camera; it would show the waves of Georgian Bay so much better!

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  12. I rather like these almost monochrome shots of winter, very atmospheric.

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  13. Love the images even though it was cold and dreary. It seems like when you and Roger go on a road trip it rains..lol.

    love the shipwreck.

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  14. Makes me want to take a trip! Your photos are awesome:)

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  15. Beautiful overcast light for some winter coastal scenes. And I'm not surprised by your husband's lucky fishing spot. I saw so many boats there last fall!

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  16. Seagulls and ship wreck captured brilliantly. Wish I had your eye for snapping winners.

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  17. I really enjoyed your photos of the gulls! Great captures! We used to live in Oregon, and so my parents have photos of us with one of the shipwrecks--a different one, I think. Good shots of the Iredale; glad no one was hurt in its wreck. Now one of these days I need to return to the Pacific NW to see the coast again! Thanks for the view!

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  18. I understand about spam attacks. Glad you have it under control. Great shots of the shipwreck! I like the one with reflections especially. :-)

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  19. The OR/WA coast can be quite gloomy at that time of the year. Still I enjoy your gull shots very much and found it fascinating to see the remains of that ship. I've been to Ft. Stevens before but have never heard of this shipwreck.

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  20. Dearest Linda; Amazing pictures from your coastal excursion. Yes, the gulls' flying shots are wonderful♡♡♡
    Oh, I've never seen the scene (haha) of the shipwreck, happy that no was injured.
    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend, xoxo Miyako*

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  21. I was excited to see this jetty on the Columbia River. We were up in that very jetty last spring looking out. I recognized it immediately and have some very similar photos. Sorry that you are still unable to ski and know you must be missing it. I am going to have to have a rotator cuff repair done on my right arm in the near future, so can already feel how you must be missing some of the stuff that you love. Hope your recovery is progressing and loved your shots! Your photos are lovely

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  22. The rusty hull is very interesting and I love the gulls.

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  23. A lovely outing with the husband- I would travel to this shore often if I lived close enough! Nice shots, and the shipwreck is just COOL, there is no other word for it!
    What kind of "spam attack" is happening? That worries me, I have never had heard of that on blogger.

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    1. Hi Terri - I was getting a bunch of nonsensical comments with links embedded in them. The spammer hit 10 of my most recent posts for two consecutive days. Activating comment moderation seems to be slowing them down. Hopefully this won't happen to anyone else.

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  24. You find the best out-of-the-way places! I like the bones of the shipwreck on the rainy beach. All those gulls remind me of the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

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  25. Good Morning, Linda... thank for sharing this post and linking up. Wishing you a happy weekend!

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  26. beautiful shores. love the gulls and shorebirds. neat rusty wreck!

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  27. Wonderful photography of the shore birds and the ship wreck ~ I would be fascinated with the Oregon coast too!

    Happy Weekend,
    artmusedog and carol

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  28. I rally enjoyed this post, the images specially the close ups of the old hull and the waves in the video. Have a lovely weekend.

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  29. The shore in winter has its own beauty. I love the old shipwreck. what a neat sight.

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  30. Linda, the rest stop is about midway between the Hood River bridge and the Dalles bridge on WA-14. It's about the most thoughtfully planned rest stop I've ever seen!

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  31. Ah, the sunny Oregon coast! Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  32. I like shipwrecks...I mean I don't like sea or any disasters, I just later get impressed of how the ship look after many years. I was relieved to know at least that nobody got hurt in that disaster.

    The beach look beautiful eventhough it's cold, it gives a lovely atmosphere.

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  33. I'm glad you went to the ocean. There's something about the sea that is irresistible.
    ~

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  34. I love the photos of the old wreck and the video of the waves!

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  35. That shipwreck must be huge beneath the sand to stand that tall!

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  36. What a scenic coastline - I love the beach, even on a rainy winter day.

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  37. Great pictures of a favorite beach... I remember visiting it as a pre-teenager, and there was much more of the wreck then. I especially like the seagull photos.

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  38. That picture in which the bird is about to take flight is just awesome. Great timing!

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  39. We have been up and down the oregon coast several times, mostly for the lighthouses. but I have never seen that beauty! We are planning another trip out west next year, I will have to see if we can find it! thanks for sharing!

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