Sand Levels Pulling More Surprises on Oregon Coast
(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Much of this past summer has seen some extraordinary sights and rare accessibility because of unusually high sand levels in a lot of places. And it seems the trend hasn't let up, even in what is called the “Second Summer” along the beaches – referring to the fact it's warmer in September and early October than any other time of year.
Earlier this summer, extremely high levels kept the tide farther away than usual at places like Oceanside, Yachats, Pacific City and Gleneden Beach. Sand levels returned to normal for a while, at least, during the last few weeks. But they've risen again in spots like Cannon Beach and Arch Cape to reveal some quire rare facets of those beaches.
Case in point: the big fin-like rock at Arcadia Beach near Cannon Beach, which is normally immersed in the tide line. This weekend, you could walk out a nearly unprecedented 50 feet beyond the structure and look back at it (as in the photo above).
Large pools of water collect around these big rocky blobs, often showing off plenty of starfish and other creatures.
Tidal and wind conditions have remained considerably calmer than usual as the weather has stayed quite warm along the beaches. Calm wave conditions keep bringing in sand onto the beaches, while winter storms will scour out the sand.
This could well mean less trash to picked up off the beaches for this weekend's SOLVE Beach Cleanup, as lots of garbage and debris could remain buried.
This faux low tide situation is caused by lots of sand piling up, and in this case it's been forming a barrier to the ocean farther and farther out.
Another rarity now visible is the arch at Arch Cape, which the village was named for. Sand levels are keep the tide so far out it's easy to walk along the tide pool areas and around the point – which is normally smothered in raucous waves.
Around that point is the arch.
Arch Cape, like many of the beaches affected this fascinating phenomena, has those sort of checkered patterns all along the sand, looking a bit like mud flats of a bay after the tide has gone out. These flat but patterned features are often a telltale sign you're dealing with really high sand levels.
These were very visible this summer and in the summer of 2011 at Waldport, Tillicum Beach, Cape Kiwanda and Lincoln City. At Oceanside, sand levels were so far out for a time you could walk out well beyond Maxwell Point. This disappeared for a while in late August, but it's likely to return on and off again.
At the very southern tip of Cannon Beach, this rocky blob is normally right in the middle of the waves. But this weekend there was at least 30 feet between it and the tide line.
These conditions may not last for long, or then they may reappear should there be a good run of calm, warm weather. Sometime in the middle of October you can expect weather patterns to change to the more blustery, stormy situations common to fall and winter. For now, however, it's a good idea to take advantage of the coast during the “Second Summer” and see if your favorite spot has some unusual, spectacular accessibility.
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