Things I Saw on a Beach in Oregon

Last week I went to Oregon with my family, which involved a lot of driving around and not paying sales tax, though we also spent a day, a night, and another day on the coast in a small town called Newport.  On our second morning, during low-tide, I had a chance to do some lone-man walking and thinking on the beach.  My destination was this one lighthouse in the distance that was supposed to have a golf course attached to it but it turned out to be much further away than I anticipated and I never made it.  Here’s a few low-tide curiousities I encountered along the way:

This is a dried-up sea anemone.

I generally try to stay away from things that look like this, though I found out much later that this is just kelp.

This is also kelp. I learned kelp can grow up to a foot and a half a day in some species. That bulb is called a pneumatocyst and (when the kelp is alive) is filled with gas in order to help keep it buoyant.

Kelp is an important part of coastal ecology. It provides food and shelter for a variety of animal speices, and prevents coastal erosion by damping incoming waves. Kelp has also been explored as a possible source of renewable energy due to its efficient yield of methane.

For more info on kelp check out The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s kelp forest exhibit, which includes a live kelp web cam.

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