Monday, April 02, 2007

Weekend in Newport

We spent this past weekend in Newport, OR.  A few months back Heidi mentioned that it would be cool to go to the beach and do some whale watching.  Never seen a live whale before.  The great lakes don't have fish that large.

Luckily I had Friday off work because new office furniture was being installed.  Drove down Friday afternoon.  Note that government hybrid car - very crunchy granola.


Love to stay at Bed & Breakfast instead of hotels.  The Newport Belle B&B is a riverboat.  It never leaves the dock but it's still cool to have spent 2 nights sleeping, technically, on the ocean.  It's amazing how high the boats rise and fall each day, twice a day, because of the high and low tide.


It was a pretty simple room.  Queen bed and a private bath with a shower.


We had read before hand that Zach and the band, formally known as the Pieces of Eight, were playing at the Drift Inn.  We saw these guys back in November when we came to the beach for my birthday.  They are just as good and even better with the bass player on hand this time.  Drift Inn food, Fish & Chips, was just as good as before.  They also have great desserts.  Marrionberry cobbler.  To die for.  At the end of their show I talked to Zach abit; new CD in July, changing their name to '? of the Realm', and they do play private parties.  Perhaps they might be willing to play at this gig on the coast in September where two people are going to have a celebration party ... to celebrate a non-wedding wedding.  [For those reading into this, yes, we have 3 beach houses rented right next to each other - weekend after Labor Day (weekend of Sept 8th, 2007) - book your flights - stay the week]


The next day we had a nice home cooked breakfast and headed out to Depoe Bay to try and catch some whales.  It was overcast and raining.  Visibility not so good.  According to the guy at the whale watch center we could only see about 1/2 mile out (you can 12-13 miles out on a clear day).  So may hope was trashed.  We watched a video on how to spot The Blow, when they come up for air, it looks like your breath on a cold day - the vapor hangs in the air for abit, even if it's windy.  I got bored watching and went to the top of the center to read some on the history of the town Depoe Bay.


Then I watched some amazing ship navigation as they to entered the Bay.  Full throttle to prevent being washed up against rocks.  I guess it's world's smallest harbor.



Suddenly I overheard someone saying they saw The Blow.  I rushed over and sure enough.  I saw a few different whales doing The Blow.  Then to top it off I saw The Dive.  Basically the tail of the whale just before it dives down for food.  Heidi missed it but luckily we got to see another a few minutes later.  Very cool.  So next year I want to see these guys up close.  Time for a boat ride.


Afterwards we headed back into Newport for some tourist walking around on the docks.


I guess these guys, sea lions, like to lay around all day.  They're protected species so no one can do anything about it.  And there's plenty of free food in a fishing harbor.  You can also see them above on the rocks if you look hard enough.  I missed em the first time I looked until I heard em barking.  Yep.  Sounds like dogs.


Stopped and had some mead (pretty good actually) and bought some local micro brews.


After a rainy morning, the sun came out for the rest of the afternoon and it turned into a beautiful day.  This little place called The Coffee House serves a great spiced chai and awesome crunchy granola (organic, etc) breakfasts'.


We went out to the Yaquina lighthouse.


And then walked down off the cliff to the waters edge to check out the tidepools.  Very cool.  I saw starfish (sea star as it's now called - it's not a fish! - whatever), sea urchins, sea anemones, and all sorts of other stuff I have no idea what it was... where were the bluegill, crappy, walleye, crayfish and northern?


That kind of exploration and adventure generates some thirst.  So we parked the car at the B&B and walked over to the Rogue brewery.  On the way there, we saw their new distillery and decided to stop in since it had a nice view facing the harbor.  We had fun chatting up the bartender (an old surfer from Hawaii) and a fisherman (who spends months at sea on huge 250ft+ ships in the Bering Sea - off Alaska).


Hungry we finally stopped at Local Ocean for some fresh Roasted Garlic & Dungeness Crab soup, Mako Shark taco's and some Rogue ale.  Then zonked out back at the B&B.

Sunday was beautiful again.  After breakfast and another spiced chai tea at The Coffee House, we were going to head to the Aquarium.  However, since I had to be back at the office in the afternoon to finish up the move, and we only had a couple hours we decided to walk up and down the beach instead.  So here comes a few gushy romantic shots.





You can make fun of me in person in September when you come out here.


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