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Two Wild Sights of Oregon Coast Summer: Extended Sands and No Waves

Published 08/01/2018 at 6:41 PM PDT - Updated 08/01/2018 at 6:51 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Two Wild Sights of an Oregon Coast Summer: Extended Sands and No Waves

(Oregon Coast) – There’s a lot to summer on the Oregon coast, but it’s safe to say there’s a lot more to it than most people know about.

Two exampls stand out. One is a rarity that is wild because – paradoxically – of its lack of wildness. The other is a fairly standard occurrence that allows you access to parts of the beaches you normally can’t get to, and to top of it it’s an interesting illusion. (Above: Bob Creek area near Yachats with virtually no wave action).


The Startling Sight of Non-Existent Waves. It’s rare, but it happens. Even then it’s more likely to happen either in late summer or especially the famed “Second Summer,” where September and October feature the warmest and calmest weather of the year. (Above: what Bob Creek normally looks like, even on a calm day).

Sometimes, the waves get so mellow they’re more like a lake. They’re so small they almost don’t exist.

Wave action along the Oregon coast can indeed get to such a becalmed state. No major breakers. No large waves crashing in on the sand. Just a strange kind of tranquil, really laidback lapping. In fact, it's been described as like a “lake” out there, and some locals on the coast have said the waves can be so small and insignificant that at times it's like a “pond.”

It's not happening all the time, but some summers it occurs more than others. You're in for an eye-popping moment if you've never seen it.

The culprit is lack of wind – both close to the coast and far offshore. But mostly far out to sea. Regional weather experts and beach naturalists say it's weather hundreds of miles away that dictates the size of waves around here.

According to meteorologists, if the winds are coming from the east that can also help cool the wave action. Portland meteorologist Steve Pierce talked to Oregon Coast Beach Connection several years ago about how this works.

“Additionally, it is summer and there is a big ridge of pressure off the coast,” Pierce said. “In other words, no storms to 'kick up' the waves.”


Extremely High Sand Levels and Faux Low Tides. Summer always brings higher sand levels to the beaches of Oregon, and this year means some remarkable changes for some parts of the coast. (Above: Oceanside in such a state).

When sand levels get extremely high they can create a sort of faux minus tide look: it seems like the tide is farther out there all the time.

Above: what the point at Oceanside normally looks like (seen from the other side)

Places like Oceanside are really noticeable. All of a sudden, you can walk around Maxwell Point with considerable ease instead of having to tread through the tunnel to get to the secret beach and its many tide pool options.

The Devil’s Punchbowl near Depoe Bay empties out, and there are times the tides are kept so far out you can actually walk inside.

Popular beaches like Manzanita or Newport have extended much farther out than usual, sometimes by hundreds of feet. Another extremely striking spot is Cobble Beach just below Newport’s Yaquina Head. There, the tides don’t come up to the rocks anymore and make that odd rattling noise. Instead, there can be a good 100 feet or more of rocky slabs (often covered in sea goo and teeming with life because it’s normally been underwater the rest of the year). Oregon Coast Lodgings for this - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

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