Tara asked how much I knew about the coastal town of Newport. When I said, “Not much,” Tara insisted that it must be our next stop. After hiking Cape Perpetua, examining Devil’s Churn for signs of continental plates shifting, and climbing around tidepools, we had worked up an appetite. Our first item of business would be food. Since we were on the coast, it had to be seafood. Tara said they had heard good things about a place called Ocean Bleu.
We parked within view of the fabulous Yaquina Bay Bridge. While looking at the bridge, I noticed the mural off to the right. Tara said there were many murals in Newport, and we would go check them out after dinner.
Sated, and the weather still glorious, we walked slowly along the main street of Newport’s Old Town. I discovered that Tara was right about the murals. They were everywhere.
Tara had been talking about the sea lions and insisted we go take a look. I thought it was past sea lion season, but Tara insisted they would be there. As we got closer, we could hear them.
We walked to the end of the short dock and looked around at Yaquina Bay sparkling in the rays of sunlight.
At last the tourists had thinned out a little and gave us front row seats to watch the sea lions. Their incessant loud barking is impossible to ignore forever. We watched the gigantic elders, who had been sunning themselves for so long they were dry. The biggest, fattest ones gave themselves lots of space on their floating docks and would not share with anyone, though there was room. We watched younger ones piling together on separate docks, and the youngest of all – a small black sea lion and apparently without allies, who tried unsuccessfully to find a safe place to nap.
Leaving the downtown area, we had to climb a hill, up and away from sea level. There were tsunami warning signs all over the place. Then I spotted a tsunami message I don’t think I’ve seen before: the predicted height above sea level determined to be safer than the downtown level. It was painted onto the road as we drove up the hill.
We headed back to our yurt for the night. It had been a perfect day and in the end we had been doused in sunlight.