Sightseeing Ideas: the Ghost Waves of Yachats, Central Oregon Coast
(Yachats, Oregon) – One of the more remarkable spots along the entire Oregon coast is the little town of Yachats, where the waves are in a state of drama that is constant and more intense than any of those bad soap operas on TV. Being largely an area of rocky shelves, the oceanic explosions happen just about every second that you're gazing out over this wild, blue watery wonder. The waves don't lap at the shore here: they abruptly hit the basalt like a runaway train.
Sometimes, however, if you photograph these untamed monsters just right you get an unusually tamed and surreal representation of them. Long exposures condense this dynamic display into what can only be termed as the “ghost waves of Yachats.” The jagged but fluffy crashes become soft, silky mists.
It is time compressed into a single image, where those moments are sort of squeezed through the time travel device known as your camera, briefly allowing you to glimpse a side of this perfect little place that's a bit like having sped light years to another world, or perhaps some alternate universe where the tides of Yachats work differently under a whole other set of physics.
Most of this fuzzy fun lies along the 804 Trail, where a handful of chasms cause the waves to bundle up their energy as they come in quickly and suddenly release in sometimes enormous jets of ocean.
Photographed this way, however, they look like eerie but pretty, otherworldly beings rising up from the surf.
Some sections where these waves happen fire off larger than others.
In other spots, the cracks and chasms in this ancient basalt show the surf rising and falling, sometimes by five feet or more. With long exposures, you sort of get a sense of that, as the borders of the mists' top and bottom are somewhat defined.
All this, coupled with the extraordinary shadings of a post-sunset Yachats make for some striking sights.
What kind of ghost waves you get differ greatly from day to day, as well.
Above, the minutes after dusk on a winter's day are painted purple in a variety of wondrous ways. This section is more on the 804 Trail's northern end.
Sometimes the best sightseeing is done when there's not much to see. Here, those viewing telescopes people use to see the surf are only useful for getting your bearings in this thick but awe-inspiring soup.
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