Friday, August 11, 2017

Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Cape Kiwanda is a National Recreation Area packed with cars on the beach, people and dogs. People are swimming, surfing, and climbing the sand dunes to slide down or surf down on boards. It was quite a place.  There is also a huge rock about a mile out from shore they call a Haystack Rock. This is one of three Haystack Rocks on the Oregon coast. The two most famous are this one at Cape Kiwanda and the other is at Cannon Beach, pretty far north on the coast and a place we are not going to (so I found some pictures online to post here).

Cape Kirwanda - Haystack Rock

The origin of Haystack Rock in Pacific City isn't as certain, but scientists believe it's the result of a massive flow that once filled a canyon here, then eroded away into that shape in the distance. It's believed to be the same kind of basalt that comprises Cape Lookout about 15 miles to the north, though no serious testing has been done on this Haystack. 

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is actually known as an “instrusive,” meaning the lava flow that it’s a part of shot its way back into the ground, probably in softer ground like mud or such, and then re-erupted again a ways away. This left blob structures that were eventually worn down into shapes we know today like the ones around Cannon Beach.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
Both have been Oregon landmarks for – literally – millions of years. Both appear to have originated from volcano eruptions some 16 – 25 million years ago that took place in what is now Eastern Oregon. Back then, due to the way the continents have moved, there was a massive weak spot in the Earth's crust that created lava flows so enormous they slogged along for hundreds of miles, until they reached the ocean. These are known as the Columbia Basalts, since they created the Columbia Gorge as well as much of the landscape of the Oregon coast. 

Here are two more pictures of Haystack Rock as the mist came in from the Pacific. I took the first picture when we first walked onto the beach and just a few minutes later the mist came in and the rock was almost covered over. Then by the time we were leaving the mist was starting to abate, leaving the Rock split by mist.

Another interesting fact of this area is the Pacific City Dory. For more than a century, boats have gone to sea from this sandy beach and shelter of Cape Kiwanda. There is no other harbor, port, or fishing fleet anywhere in the world exactly like this. It's truly unique how it evolved. The dory's origins came from the turn of the 20th century surf dories and Nestucca River gill net boats that sold their fish to the salmon cannery established in 1887 near the mouth of the river. 

After 1927 commercial fishing was only allowed in the open ocean. Since the Nestucca had a shallow dangerous bar accessible only at flood tide, a new larger surf boat was needed to be launched in the lee of Cape Kiwanda.

This larger dory was called a "double ender" because it was pointed at both ends. It had two sets of oars, able to be rowed through the Pacific surf and out to sea. Later double enders had a motor well near the stern. There, small outboard motors were installed after negotiating the surf, for fishing during the day and then removed when rowing back to the beach.

When ocean conditions allow, Pacific City dories fish the waters off Cape Kiwanda, launching from and sliding back up on the beach in the lee of the cape. Many dorymen trailer these rugged dories to ports all along the Oregon coast. 

The dory fleet is renowned for its incredible safety record. Dorymen are often the first responders to distress calls and other marine emergencies. For 100+ years only six known dorymen have lost their lives at sea, making The Pacific City dory and the men and women who sail them some of the safest mariners in the marine environment. The success of the Pacific City dorymen belong to the stalwart and visionary dorymen and women who recognize how versatile it could become. 

There is a trail off to the left in the above picture that Hayley, Lucy and I walked up to see what was on the other side, as I did not want to walk straight up. This was the sand dune that people were walking up to slide down. You will have to look very close at the dune to see the people that are on it.

On the other side of the dune was another aspect of the Pacific Ocean. The waves slammed against the rocks and caves to form the beautiful rock formations. Some of the pictures are hard to view as the mist was rolling in and I wanted to try to get some pictures. I wish it was a bright, sunny day, but I was told by residents that this weather pattern was normal for this area. Yuck. It's cool - high 60's and very high humidity and damp.  Not our desired area for living. 

We'll be in this are until near the end of August before heading inland to warmer and hopefully drier weather.

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