A Couple O Grommets

grommet [ˈgrɒmɪt], grummet 4. (Individual Sports & Recreations / Swimming, Water Sports & Surfing) Austral informal a young or inexperienced surfer (from the Free Dictionary.com)

Billy here:  We just got back from our last foray to the coast, surfing, hiking and sight-seeing some beautiful beaches. The weather forecast of rain didn’t bother us, neither did the lackluster surf data showing small waves right on top of each other. We just went out there and learned a lot about each beach, our boards, our own attitudes about our abilities and relationship with the water. As OregonSurf.com says:

All of the info available to us these days is great, but obsessing over the data is going to make you crazy and cost you a lot of great surf sessions. And it is important to keep in mind that most of Oregon’s surf spots are beach breaks, not reefs, and are therefore very fickle even under otherwise predicable conditions. Basic rule of thumb, just go!

Our friends Jane and Maren, along with their baby Pomeranian Salty, joined us for a couple of days to surf. We have been coming up with names for our surf gang (which my sis Shannon is an honorary member) ranging from “Meat on the Bone” to “Escuela Vieja”, but Maren’s suggestion, Platypi, just might stick. The platypus is a weird anomaly of a water creature. Seems like a good fit.

We surfed all along the coast from Cannon Beach to Otter Rock, soaking up sun and rain alike and discovering hidden gems (such as Hebo Lake) and shady detours (such as the good ol’ boy Sand Lake overrun with 4x4s, “Those sands dunes aren’t going to destroy themselves!” our friend Maren quipped). My favorite place by far was Devil’s Punchbowl at Otter Rock. It is a sandstone formation at the tip of an ocean headland at Otter Rock, which was carved out by the sea. Underneath one side is open to a tide pool designated as a marine garden, where you can walk inside the sandstone “bowl” and watch the waves crash through an arch into the ocean. At high tide, the bowl fills with water and submerges the tide pools. There is something otherworldly and dreamlike about the place, like slot canyons in Utah. All in all, we have had a fantastic time surfing and getting in shape hiking sand dunes and up and down capes.

Now we are getting ready to hit the trail tomorrow!

spence here: its hard to remember all the things we have packed into the last few days.  i have been living so presently, lately, that memories and the future seem to feel like the same thing.  did i dream we went surfing and saw seals and cormorants? we definetly did that. did i almost lose my cool during a sandy, rainy, tarp gone wild situation?  yup. did i finally stand up on my surfboard and feel the rip tide pull me into a sink hole? yup. have i walked 15 miles and seen the mountains open up before me at 6,000 ft up?  not yet! maybe this week!

one of the highlights of our second surf mission for me was the beach called otter rock. the surfers/people seemed really laid back, and even though it got crowded on a sunny sunday afternoon, it still felt like an expansive beach, with room for everyone to flop around. there were a lot of people that really knew what they were doing out there surfing, which was inspiring to watch.  but none of those people scoffed at the beginners and i had one guy tell me he was glad i was there.

another highlight was our epic “walk” around the bay ocean spit. i love this place.  if you are ever taking the three scenic capes loop drive along the coast between cape meares, cape lookout and cape kiwanda, you might not want to miss this little town and gigantic spit.  it is just south of the town of garibaldi.  it ended up being a much larger spit than we anticipated, thus our “walk” was a bit longer as well, turned out to be 12 miles. but i’ve always wanted to see more of it, since i haven’t been there for a few years, when i took my birding class. awesome. flowers, birds, large-leafed prehistoric looking dripping stalky plants, hidden trails, rocky beach, strange overgrown old campgrounds.

yet another highlight was our time with jane and maren. playing cribbage in their sweet euro-van with a sliding glass window was a good time. cape lookout beach and our beach combing discoveries,  pacific city and the pelican brew pub.  i ate some fish and chips. i’m very thankful that they lended us their extra surf board as well.  it enabled billy and i to go out on the water together, and i must say, i’m a fan of the zebra-striped “pig-board” (a name i’ve given to it from the movie “point break”).  i caught a lot of waves on that thing.  finally getting the hang of it.

lastly, before going on our hiking segment of the summer, i am feeling extraordinarily appreciative. surfing and exploring really helped me clear my mind and enjoy more of what comes to me. going out into the water and feeling the power of the waves, appreciating the sun and sea smells. i also wanted to say a great thanks for all the wonderful support and enthusiasm we’ve received from all our friends and family. i think that has been my favorite part of all this. happy solstice! and here we go with the photos…

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