Saturday, October 18, 2008

Changing Costumes of the Pacific Ocean

Typically, when I wander along the Pacific Ocean beaches, I walk and linger for about an hour then leave. This trip was an exception to my usual routine. Avery had said, “Take as much time as you need” when he left Ed and I on the beach with one of his ATVs. Having wheels made a big difference in how much seashore I could explore and how energetic I felt by riding, not trudging on the sand. With Ed at the wheel, I could ride along as a passenger snapping photos of the crashing waves and scenic shore.

We arrived on the beach one hour before to high tide at 12:57 PM. Our Tide Table predicted a rise of 9.5 feet, one of the highest for the month. Against a backdrop of clear blue sky, rows of five waves at a time churned the surf. Monster sized ones caused Ed to ask me how they compared to the ones I’d seen in Hawaii ages ago. What we were watching in Oregon wasn’t quite like the Bonsai Pipeline, but these waves were BIG. They were loud too making almost a deafening rhythm.

The hard packed sand near the water’s edge gave us a smooth ride in the borrowed ATV. Occasionally, one of those sneaker waves would inch close to our wheels. Ed reacted by steering clear of the water every time. He also steered clear of the coastal birds feeding on critters they pecked from the sand. Once he pretended to be heading for a beach sign steering clear at the last minute just to get a rise out of me. He let out a devilish laugh; I gave him a wrinkled nose sneer back. Yes, we were having fun. And, when we reached the boundary where ATVs weren’t permitted, Ed would turn around to drive the beach again.

Each time we made this turn, first north, then south, over and over again, I observed the changeable sky and water. In a short time, blue sky and pounding waves changed to clouds overhead and surf that from our perspective looked like a rolling field of white snow. As we headed north, the wind velocity took Ed’s hat off his head. The rush of air made my eyes sting even with the protection of my eye glasses. Sand exfoliated my face. In the distance, blowing sand created a hazy curtain restricting the long view of the beach. We debated, did we feel rain or was it the ocean spray?

At our turn around point to return south, the wind pushed at our backs. Bright glimmers of sun slipped though the parting clouds. The contrast of sun and clouds again caused the ocean to appear different. Now, it glistened like crystal in a lighted showcase.

In a window of time, nearly three hours, the sky and ocean were like Las Vegas performers changing costumes for each upcoming act and dazzling the audience. Ed and I were dazzled especially when we turned the ATV north for one more run. Where earlier we had seen a curtain of tan sand in the air, something else had appeared. It was a rainbow!

October 15, 2008

The ATV was provided by Avery Duman, President of Torex, Inc.

Sand Dunes Frontier located at 83960 Highway 101 South, Florence, OR


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