Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Top Oregon Coast Tourism Stories of 2006
(Oregon Coast) – Since December of 2005, BeachConnection.net has been operating in its current state as not only a resource of coastal knowledge, like beaches, lodging, dining, etc., but as a daily updated travel news source as well. BeachConnection.net has publishing articles of interest to anyone looking to visit the coast or to those living there who want to be more informed about its fun aspects, entertainment and other more pleasant sides.
It’s been an interesting year for news stories about the coast, even if BeachConnection.net isn’t usually a place for hard news, like crime and such.
Two themes dominated the most popular stories at BeachConnection.net during the year: articles on paranormal aspects to the coast and the odd things that washed up or happened on the beaches. The latter, in the natural events vein, also grabbed enormous media attention for the coast from other organizations. Sometimes, this media attention resulted directly from BeachConnection.net getting the word out first – like the time half the papers in the state talked about some odd changes to Agate Beach in Newport after BeachConnection.net wrote on the subject before anyone else.
The other most read news stories involved the massive storms and the commotion they would cause, as well as natural aspects, some man-made attractions, the presence of Hollywood on the coast and some real estate pieces.
In the spring, a few seals wandered up onshore at different times to essentially molt, which garnered intense attention from the press and from beachgoers.
At the end of November, one story captivated thousands, clocking in as one of our most read stories, largely because it was syndicated on a couple of other high-profile websites. Snow covered the Oregon coast’s sands during one storm, as well as brought some strange sights up onto the beaches of Seaside. Masses of bull kelp washed up on shore and a rare, tropical fish was tossed up by the tide.
It was some of the biggest landings of bull kelp the crew at Seaside Aquarium had ever seen, they told BeachConnection.net. Meanwhile, the weird fish that washed up was not only covered in snow as well, but it’s something that’s normally found in warmer waters.
The deceased fish is an Ocean Sun Fish, technically referred to as a Mola mola. “They are not uncommon to this area, however, because they live a ways off shore,” said Tiffany Boothe, of the Seaside Aquarium. “We don't see them on the beach that often. They usually frequent the northern coast in the summer or fall when the ocean is a bit warmer, so for the Mola mola to wash in during this time of year is a bit odd.”
Boothe said these kinds of fish can reach lengths of up to 10 feet and weigh as much as 3,000 pounds. This one was found on Sunset Beach, north of town, and was only about three feet.
Back in October, the Aquarium had an exceptionally crazy 24 hours, with a sea lion, a barn owl, a live shark and a beached whale all grabbing their attention.
The strandings included two rare events: a shark that was still alive, but ailing, and a Humpback whale, which has never washed up in this region before.
It all began one Wednesday afternoon when reports started coming in about the Humpback corpse slowly beginning to roll in on the surf at Klipsan Beach, along the Long Beach peninsula. Seaside Aquarium manager Keith Chandler spoke to BeachConnection.net in the early afternoon, saying they expected it to hit the beach at any time. The body did indeed beach around 3:30 p.m., and aquarium staff got there around 5:30 to photograph it. They later turned over the study to an organization in Washington, which conducted a necropsy to determine the cause of death.
Within the day, a sea lion corpse was reported on the north coast, and a live shark was found languishing at the tide line at Seaside. The poor creature had likely been injured by fishing nets and was greatly weakened. They didn’t expect it to survive, and it did die within hour, in spite of great efforts to rehabilitate it.
People loved to hear about the stuff that could wash up, like “whale burps” or “ocean burps.” Plenty of that stuff was coming up on shore in the spring, along with some weird creatures called velella velella, otherwise known as Purple Sails. These intriguing little critters started showing up en masse and just kept coming throughout the spring. They created an interesting sight, but just like clockwork, they start rotting on the beaches and begin to make a nasty stench. This wasn’t too bad in the spring, but in early June or late May, when the sun got pretty warm, that added an accelerated decay to the mix and it was often hard to keep your windows down while cruising past places like Arch Cape or north of Newport.
Periodically, the ocean churns up sundry items from its depths and dumps them onshore. Everything from live hermit crabs, cockle shells, squid eggs, shells from other freaky creatures and a variety of other things make it onto the beaches of Oregon in these episodes. Those are ocean burps.
The Seaside Aquarium found 30 live cockle shells, numerous moon snail shells, and a few squid eggs, which are now on display at the aquarium. Many of the eggs later hatched.
Whale burps are bundles of straw-like material bound made from beach grass, which are so tightly wound together they’re almost as unbreakable as bricks.
The wildest discover this year happened in late summer when the aquarium happened across a very rare fish called King-of-the-Salmon (Trachipterus altivelis), which normally lives around 1600 feet under the sea.
“He belongs to the family of Ribbonfish,” Boothe said. “There are four other species of Ribbonfish along our coast, but the King-of-the-Salmon is the largest; growing up to and possibly exceeding six feet. This one measured almost exactly 6 feet. They can be found down as far as 1600 feet from Alaska to Baja and along the Coast of Chile.”
The aquarium’s Keith Chandler said this was the first time he’d ever seen this in his 27 years of a marine science career. He said he did not know what conditions could’ve brought the creature up this far above its normal environment.
The fish is currently frozen at the Seaside Aquarium. They will eventually preserve it and put it on display, as they did with a unique species of squid found by Aquarium staff.
That story made the world news as well, and was insanely popular on our website. But Boothe and Chandler later reported doing interviews from media as far away as Japan, along with it being on some national networks and all the local media broadcast and print media.
One story in particular charmed audiences of this website and of the Oregon Coast Show. While editor Andre’ Hagestedt was helping to film an episode for the Oregon Coast Show in Seaside, the Seaside Aquarium folks received a call a baby seal had wandered up onto the beach to rest. The crew from the show and Hagestedt followed aquarium staff out there to film them planting signs to make sure the seal was not disturbed by humans.
The result was the cutest pictures by far for any story on this site, with this tiny, fuzzy creature periodically opening its sleepy eyes to look at the hubbub around it.
Paranormal stories, about ghosts, goblins, rumors, legends, UFO’s and whatnot went through the roof for BeachConnection.net. These were by far the most read stories we’d done throughout the year.
Case in point: one story about the surreal and strange aspects of tiny Neskowin drew thousands of visitors to our site. In this article, you find out about the geologic oddities called the “Ghost Forest,” the history of the adorable village, some strange firsthand tales of something unexplainable and how numerous regulars to the area talk about a weird sense of peace and serenity that envelopes you in a very unusual way.
The various articles on ghost tales and paranormal rumors snagged tons of attention, getting syndicated onto other big, high-profile spots on the Net, like the personal tale of editor Andre’ Hagestedt’s research into the subject and the large collection of hauntings our website discovered over the years.
By far the most read story on our site captivated thousands, inspired the Oregon Coast Show to do a segment on this subject and made its way into being referenced by other media around the state at times. An odd, slightly paranormal rumor about a little town on the north coast called Wheeler, known as the “Wheeler Moment,” made a big splash this year, and continues to do so.
The town is a little like that island in “Lost,” where weird coincidences just seem to happen. The whole idea of serendipity is given an intense new dimension, and the rumor is that if you make a wish there – it just may happen. The story documents dozens of locals’ stories on the subject and has apparently brought some interesting publicity to the wonderful little village by the bay.
One big point of interest to many, which was somewhere between the celebrity stories and the paranormal ones, was the filming of an H. P. Lovecraft story in Astoria. “Cthulhu” is the name of the latest bit of celluloid to cash in on the atmosphere of Astoria and the north Oregon coast. The film is the brainchild of Seattleites Grant Cogswell and Dan Gildark, based on the spooky story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” by horror vanguard Lovecraft.
The movie stars Jason Cottle, Tori Spelling and Brian Padilla.
One scene on Del Rey Beach, south of Warrenton, included some 200 extras dressed as monsters coming out of the water. BeachConnection.net discovered a former former Astoria resident told producers he believed Astoria was the real Innsmouth, pointing to some 40 aspects of this area of Northwest Oregon and Innsmouth that were very similar.
According to Fangoria’s website: “There was a Coast Guard cutter tied up near a dock where we were shooting called the Alert. In Lovecraft’s story ‘The Call of Cthulhu,’ the crew that discovers the lost city of R’lyeh is on a merchant ship called the Alert. We didn’t notice until we were editing the film. What the hell are the chances of that?”
Storms on the coast were big news all over the state, and BeachConnection.net had its reports from many beach towns from Seaside to Yachats.
Back in early November, flooding was the big news during one massive storm, which also knocked out lots of power. The southern part of Seaside was flooded, closed to all but larger vehicles that were high above the ground. Other road closures because of water or landslides included Highway 53, parts of Highway 101 between Tillamook and Manzanita, and Highway 6 between Portland and Tillamook. Homes at the Salishan spit near Lincoln City nearly fell into the surf because of extreme erosion, and in one day six inches of rain was reported in Seaside while Astoria documented a record fall of 2.8 inches.
The craziness wasn’t without its humor, however. Folks in the Nehalem Bay, like Peg Miller, saw some wild things. “We just saw a beautiful red Adirondack chair floating down Nehalem Bay and out to sea,” Miller said. Her boyfriend, Garry Gitzen, made some other observations. “Garry just saw a boat going out to sea attached to a dock. Shortly after that came another boat chasing the first one to try and retrieve it. Personally, I'd just call my insurance company. The bay is loaded with stray logs and debris right now, so it's dangerous.”
Naturalists and other kinds of tourists loved BeachConnection.net for its pet friendly lodging and wedding articles, sucking up those pieces with great fervor to this day. Articles on hiking secrets have proven enormously popular, as have stories on hidden beaches that the locals may be trying to hide from visitors. One of the big mega-hits on BeachConnection.net was a piece on two coastal residents catching some rare phenomenon in their cameras: a man in Newport caught the elusive “green flash at sunset” and a woman in Seaside snagged a shot of two near-microscopic bioluminescent phytoplankton shooting off their tiny fireworks. The latter was an enormous feat, considering how faint these are, and the importance of this not lost on our readers.
Also in the natural world, a female Rubescense octopus at the Seaside Aquarium got the attention of regional media and many readers on this website when she laid 3,000 eggs and was about to become the mother to thousands.
Other goodies that made the hit counter go nuts at BeachConnection.net was a story about Seaside Helicopters, and a trip above the coast that editor Hagestedt took. The story about the summer outdoor fish market at Pacific Oyster in Bay City was a big catch for readers as well.
Some of the real estate and resort articles really made a splash, like the one about Olivia Beach in Lincoln City. This new collection of vacation homes is from the creators of Bella Beach, who are bringing a similar but more refined concept of “new urbanism” in vacation homes and rentals to the southern end. 19 acres will contain somewhere close to 90 homes when the entire area is finished in the next three to five years.
As of Christmas Day
this year, BeachConnection.net’s news service was a year old, and
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