180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Colored Waves on Oregon Beaches Cause Confusion
|Brown foam at Seaside (photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)
(Seaside, Oregon) – Mysterious brown waves are freaking
out visitors to the Oregon coast – especially the Seaside area.
But there’s nothing inexplicable about it.
“Those folks unfamiliar with this phenomenon may
think that the water is polluted or the beaches are dirty,” said
Tiffany Boothe of the Seaside Aquarium. In fact, tourists have been enquiring
at local businesses about the brown goo.
“Seaside is experiencing a large diatom bloom, which
is painting the surf brown and littering the beach with foam,” Boothe
|Close up of diatom-caused brown foam (photo Boothe)
Diatoms are the tiny phytoplanktons that actually form
the sea foam that you see on the beaches.
With the calm conditions the coastal beaches are seeing
now, after the stormy winds and high, broiling surf of Monday that churned
up lots of foam, there’s a large amount of stuff all over the beaches.
But especially foam and its creators – diatoms – have been
roughed up and agitated into making a big appearance.
The result is waves with a lot of brown in them, brown
goo lying around the beaches in the form of foam, and large tracts of
dark, oily-looking spots on the sand.
|Foam coalescing on the beach (photo: Boothe)
The phenomenon is happening all over the coast, but especially
around Seaside. In Gearhart, Cannon Beach Fultano’s Pizza owner
David Johnson spotted quite a bit of the ruddy stuff in the waves earlier
He also saw it in Cannon Beach.
“It’s there,” Johnson said. “You
can see it on the waves and on the beach, although it’s hard to
tell as much now because the tide has gone out. But I’d say it’s
a little less than in Gearhart – but not much.”
On the central coast, fossil tour guide and beach expert
Guy DiTorrice said there was some in the Newport area. “Some here,
but no where near what we've seen with bigger and longer-term storms,”
he said. “The north coast really got slammed a lot more than we
|Seaside's brown waves, seen from above (photo BeachConnection.net
and Seaside Helicopters)
“Is it oil? Sewage? Nope, it’s just diatoms,”
Boothe said. “It’s one of the most important food sources
in the ocean. In the spring and early summer, the diatoms multiply at
the rate of one to two hundred billion in just 30 days.”
Boothe said they eat eat large amounts of nitrates and
phosphates and leave behind carbohydrates, fats, proteins and vitamins
– often in the sand. “Their bodies also store oil to live
Everything in the ocean feeds on diatoms and other plankton,
either directly or indirectly, Boothe said. “Even the great baleen
whales filter planktons and diatoms depend on them for part of their diet,”
|Brown foam in Lincoln City
Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside
Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites,
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When diatoms get so abundant in the ocean, they may wash
ashore during storms or westerly winds. This usually happens early spring,
mid summer and early fall.
“When they do wash ashore, and being microscopic,
they look like crude oil,” Boothe said. “If you look very
closely at a thin layer, you will see it is a dark green, and not a crude
oil at all.”
similar massive bloom of phytoplankton happened in spring, again concentrated
in the Seaside area. There, the waves were thick with the stuff, causing
the water to be very brown.
Cannon Beach also had quite a bit, and the diatoms were making an impression
all the way down to the central coast, although not nearly as prominent.
After about a week, the rest of the coast lost the foamy phenomenon, while
Seaside’s run of russet ripples remained.
Boothe said this isn’t that uncommon. “It
happens a lot, really,” she said. “A couple weeks ago, we
had a lot of people asking if it was pollution.”
Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family
vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with
over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection
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Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked
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171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.
Cape Property Services.
Dozens of homes in that dreamy,
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POINT Newport - Offers only the finest in luxury condominium
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City Vacation Homes
Something for everyone: smaller homes
with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront
or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and
fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to
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sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes
– ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have
seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230
per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com.
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
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523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938.
At Spanish Head, Lincoln City. Lincoln City’s only resort
hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled
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in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight
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4009 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City. 1-800-452-8127 or 541-996-2161.
at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south
end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by
the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach
strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering
gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms.
Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly.
Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine
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Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.
Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built
like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean
front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun
(nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent
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888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon.
for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The
little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they
run across your feet
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports
- Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings,
along with weekly lodging availability reports