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What Makes Yachats Waves Turn Dreamy, Ghostly - Central Oregon Coast

Published 09/19/20 at 7:41 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

What Makes Yachats Waves Turn Dreamy, Ghostly - Central Oregon Coast

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(Yachats, Oregon) – It’s a place where the oceanic drama is constant and ever-present. Where water shoots up into the air like fireworks, and where wave after wave comes slamming in with sizable force. There’s no lapping here. It’s like one runaway train after another hitting this central Oregon coast beauty.

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.

When Yachats' Waves Turn Ghostly, Dreamy: Surreal Oregon Coast

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.

For more sightseeing options at Yachats, see the Yachats, Oregon Virtual Tour Map, and the Lane County Virtual Tour Map for the astounding 20 miles of beaches just south of town.

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