Thursday, August 28, 2008

Heceta Head Lighthouse Part II

The next morning we woke up early so we'd have time to get ready for delicious breakfast.  We had our own private bathroom across the hall with a clawfoot tub we wanted to try out.  I went first cause I needed time to braid my hair afterwards.  It was pretty early, around 5:30-6:00, and I tried to be extra quiet because I couldn't help feeling like I was in someone else's house.  I guess I kinda was.  In any case I quietly wrapped myself in one of the provided terry cloth robes and went across the hall to the shiny bathroom.

The bathroom was preeeetty.  It had hardwood floors and a little window right next to the tub so you could look out and stare at the seagulls.  It also had one of those slopey ceilings that you sometimes see in places like attics.  I bonked my head a couple of times.  Stupid tall genes.  Timothy didn't join me for bath time.  Hedgehogs only take sun baths you know.  So I filled up the tub and had a nice soak before washing all my hair.  

Clawfoot tubs are fun.  The tall back is much better for reclining than your usual tub.  Skeeve and I stopped at a Rite Aid the day before for bath bubbles, but they didn't work very well.  Next time I bring some from home ^.^

I went back to the room to braid my hair and take my meds while Skeeve took her turn in the bath.  We were ready by 8:15 or so and went downstairs to wait for breakfast.  Breakfast was scheduled for 8:30 so by this time pretty much everyone was downstairs hanging out in the parlor.  At 8:30 this nice lady came in and rang a bell and told us all to take a seat.

We all sat down and everyone at the table took turns introducing themselves while coffee was served.  Most everyone was from Oregon or Washington.  This one couple was from Utah and they were celebrating their first wedding anniversary.  Awwww.  Skeeve and I sat next to this lovely older couple from Washington.  She got to ask them a bunch of questions about the area since she'll be moving there pretty soon. There was one couple, however, that never showed up for breakfast.  Why on earth would you stay at a Bed & Breakfast and then not...have breakfast?  Especially when it's a seven course gourmet breakfast.  The entire table just boggled over that.  Skeeve said later that she saw them sneaking out the back door, which just added to the confusion.  Oh well.  Their loss.

Lets see if I can recall everything we had for breakfast.  We had delicious coffee (or tea) and decadent berries with cream for the first course.  Next was a platter of Oregon cheeses and sliced white peaches.  After that came bagels with a choice of cream cheese, lox, onion, butter or jam.  We also had a mango lassi that was absolutely delightful.  The main course was eggs benedict with asparagus followed by nummy almond pound cake.  I guess that makes six courses.  I think there was toast in there somewhere cause I remember this interesting cocoa-hazelnut spread that I had on something.  Who cares how many courses it was, it was all numful...and now I have a sudden craving for lox and bagels.  Curses!

After breakfast Skeeve and I waddled up stairs and packed up the rest of our stuff so we could go see the lighthouse and the sea lions before leaving for the airport.  We put our stuff in the car and walked up to the lighthouse so we could take a tour of the inside.  This was now the second lighthouse I'd ever been inside and the third I've visited, the other two being of course Pt. Fermin and Pt. Vicente.  

After we had our tour I spent approximately 20 minutes taking 50 million pictures of everything while my camera had a charge.  We got to meet the lighthouse cats before we left.  I crouched down to take a picture of the tabby and she (?) trotted right over with an expression of "Oo!  Free pettin's!"  She was very friendly and got plenty of ear rubs before we left.  I found her friend the black kitty curled up under some big green leafy vegetable in the gardens.  Before we knew it, it was time to go.  So we said goodbye to Heceta and the kitties and got back on the 101 for the short drive to The Sea Lion Caves.

And now for a bit of trivia.  The Oregon Sea Lion Cave is the largest sea cave in the world.  It was discovered in 1880 by William Cox and is home to the Stellar (or Northern) Sea Lion, which is bigger, blonder, and in my opinion "poofier" than the California Sea Lion that I'm used to seeing.  We parked across the street, got our tickets, and started our walk down to the elevator.  Once we got there we were greeted by this lovely plaque.  It basically says "Hey folks, watch your step.  Geology happens!"  I'm sure it's not what some people want to see right before they descend 200 feet underground but Timmy didn't mind, he is a small burrowing mammal after all.

It took a while for the elevator to arrive, it did have 200 feet to go.  Once it reached the top Skeeve and I crammed in with everyone else and took the relatively short trip down into the caves.  The doors opened and we were greeted by the familiar smell of fish and ocean accompanied by the signature "art art art!" sound of pinnipeds everywhere.

The sea lions were viewable from a balcony type area behind a chain link fence.  Most of them were lounging around on the rocks as sea lions are wont to do.  Some of them were lounging quite close to the fence and could have right up to it if they were so inclined.  Some of the younger sea lions were bouncing around and splashing in and out of the water, much to the annoyance of a few of their elders.  I took some video while we were down there but for now I'll just post pictures.  

I'm guessing there were maybe 50 sea lions total that we could see.  It's supposed to be really packed in there during mating season.  There's also grey whales (and sometimes orcas) that can be seen outside the caves during migration.  We also saw sea lion skellingtons and other interesting artifacts.


Fossilized remains of a Stellar Sea Lion

Skeleton of a 3 year old female Stellar Sea Lion, found near Newport OR with a fatal gunshot wound.  Specimen prepared by the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport OR and is on permanent loan to the Sea Lion Caves.

We finished looking around the caves and waited in line to go back up the elevator.  Everyone crowded in again and we were starting on our way up when an infant decided he did not.  like.  the elevator.  Uh oh, everybody cover your ears  >.<  The mom was starting to panic and tried to bounce the kid a bit to get him to relax.  Everyone else in the elevator was making happy faces in an effort to get the kid to calm down when suddenly, just as the kid was about to scream, he looks up at this one guy who was maybe 6' 6" tall and just goes "Holy shit, you're big!"  There was instant silence and everybody laughed.  It was pretty cute.

Once we got out of the elevator we walked back up to the gift shop to see if there were any books or videos I could bring home to mom.  It was pretty disappointing in that regard.  The gift shop was mostly full of jewelry, Oregon jams and honey, and things that had "Sea Lion Caves" written on them.  I got some postcards a little pamphlet about the caves.  

I was kinda hoping there'd be a picture book or some kind of video I could take home for God's class, but nope.  It wasn't a total loss though.  We did find these guys ^.^  And yes, I'm pretty sure that statue is to scale.  These were some huge sea lions.  Pretty soon it was time to get on the road again.  I'll continue the rest of our last day in Oregon in a separate post since this one is now relatively picture heavy.

No comments: