Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Velella Velella Return to Oregon Coast: Oddities and Space Junk?

Published 3/07/24 at 3:25 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Velella Velella Return to Oregon Coast, Along with Puzzling Oddities

(Oregon Coast) – From weird to wacky, to kind'a sad and potentially smelly: the Oregon coast has been tossing a lot of oddities up lately. West winds have been quite active, resulting in a wide array of interesting beach finds. (Photo Seaside Aquarium)

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials in winter
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some specials for winter
In Lincoln City:
Some specials for winter
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Newport:
Look for some specials
In Waldport
Some specials for winter
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials for winter
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

It's a good time to go beachcombing, both here and on the Washington coast. That area has also seen some unique stuff – look for an article on that on Oregon Coast Beach Connection soon.

Those colorful yet sometimes stinky velella velella have returned, and the reports differ in numbers depending on location. West winds have been bringing them in as well.

Around the Gold Beach area, Curry County Aquatic Safety reports seeing “millions” of them on the beach, but it is not clear which part of Oregon's Curry Coast that is. Oregon Coast Beach Connection was not able to confirm by deadline.

Others like CoastWatch and Seaside Aquarium report seeing large amounts but not those numbers. On March 1, a CoastWatch volunteer spotted quite a few, still with their colors intact.

Photo Seaside Aquarium

Seaside Aquarium's Tiffany Boothe sent out more photos earlier today of the Seaside area. They show the little critters drained of their color, a sign the jelly-like creatures have been around a bit.

In 2017, there were enormous numbers of these washing up all over the Washington coast and Oregon coast, so often that even tiny baby ones began showing up late in the year.

Boothe said there are not those kinds of numbers now. But just wait....maybe....

“Nothing like 2017 but we have been seeing quite a few,” she told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “They vary in size from a grain of rice to about 2 inches. As the wind continues to come out of the west, I suspect we will be seeing more.”

Also known as by-the-wind sailors, among other things, they are not jellyfish.

According to Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, they're closer to different creatures altogether.

“By-the-wind-sailors are hydrozoans, a class of predatory animals, distantly related to corals, sea anemones and jellies,” the aquarium said. “They range in size from a few millimeters across to seven centimeters and appear brilliant blue and purple when at sea or freshly washed ashore. After time in the sun, the Velella dry out and lose their pigmentation. Beachgoers will often mistake the dried animals for thin, clear pieces of plastic.”

Unfortunately, they start to stink really badly if the sun hits them for a bit. This was an intense problem around 2007 and periodically afterwards.

You’ll notice the clear, triangular sail at the top of the creature, which is strangely enough its only means of moving around. These creatures begin popping up when west winds kick in and the right currents have brought them closer to shore. They have no real means of propelling themselves, so they are at the mercy of the winds.

Courtesy Curry County Aquatic Safety

West winds have been working overtime lately. One of the latest curiosities was spotted in recent days near Gold Beach at Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint. Both CoastWatch and Curry County Aquatic Safety noted this bit of wacky stuff that looked like space junk.

Both organizations agreed it was likely part of a buoy, however. It is approximately 8 to 10 feet in diameter and 12 feet tall, which is bigger than it looks in photos.

“The bottom is open and large styrofoam tubes are exposed,” reports CoastWatch's Shari Botermans, who took the photo.

Photo CoastWatch / Michelle Schwegmann

Both organizations have already reported it to authorities on a federal and state level.

About a month ago on Manzanita's Neahkahnie Beach, CoastWatch's Michelle Schwegmann found something rather disturbing on a variety of levels: a giant plastic dwelling-like object which turned out to be a veal crate. This is how they raise young calves to make veal.

Oregon Coast Hotels for this event - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

Coastal Spotlight

Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Baby Gray Whale at Bandon Confirmed Killed by Orcas, Rarely Documented on Ore...
No doubt now that orca season is in full swing. Marine sciences

Yay For More Daylight: Sunset is Now Past 8 pm for Oregon, Coastline
Tonight Portland sees sunset at exactly 8 p.m. Weather

Lincoln City's New Brewery Trail Allows Digital Discovery of Oregon Coast Beers
Tap and Brew Trail lets you explore beverages and win

Freaky, Rare Fish from 3,000-ft Below Found on Oregon Coast near Cannon Beach
Pacific football fish: only 30-some found ever; video. Marine sciences

Rarely Documented on Oregon Coast: Baby Gray Whale Killed by Orcas, Revives T...
Coquille Tribal culture considered this a blessing. Marine sciences

Oregon Coast / Washington Coast Answers: Those Strange, Snake-like Whips or T...
Bull kelp are a fun mystery on Northwest beaches. Marine sciences

Fragile Snowy Plover Nesting Brings Restrictions to Handful of Oregon Coast L...
Only 40 miles of 362 miles are affected. Sciences, south coast

Eclipse Weather for Oregon, Washington, Coastlines - How Clouds May Help Some...
Oregon and Washington will only get 23 percent or less of the sun. Weather, sciences

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on Oregon Coast Beach Connection
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted