Coastal Light

The sea, eternal, infernal, a constant ever-changing state of both peace and rage. An ending for some, a beginning for others. It will always be a first passion despite my deep and growing love for the desert and all its moods.
Heceta Head, part of a network of lights strung along the Oregon and Washington coast to guide mariners away from danger and into port.
Look there! Something’s swimming down there! In churning surf, up to thirty feet high at moments, sea lions paddle as easily as a fat boy in a bath tub.
Inside their cave they retreat to rest and argue. Their incessant grumbling echoes within this monstrous cavern and makes a strange and eerie music as it blends with the crashing surf. The more you look into the dark recesses the more of these heavy characters you see.
I am de boss! Now listen to me! These characters will strike a pose like this and then hold it for hours. They laze and play in the surf and foam effortlessly. That same smashing brine would reduce any of us to mince in seconds.
When gulls gather inland take heed, it is a sure warning of foul weather to come. The weekend storm watchers were not disappointed.
The suddenly, for a while, the sky cleared, the wind was gentle, the sunlight warm. People mysteriously appeared in large numbers. This is the lighthouse at Yaquina Head.
This is another spectacular location on the Oregon coast. When there is sunlight it is always superb.
The light station is a temple of all things nautical…except making a landfall. Almost always, lighthouses are intended to warm a mariner away from danger, not beckon him toward safety.
Lighthouses are always an interesting study in architecture. Both form and function must interplay. Durability and beauty work together.
What dramas have unfolded before these windows?
A poignant salute to mariners lost at sea.
A thing of beauty.
“Please stay on the path.”
Clearly an invitation.
You are being watched. The hill overlooks the Yaquina Light. Paths angling upward conjures up stories about widow’s walks.
OhmyGawd! I forgot to set the parking brake! Not all turnouts have guard rails.

In a few days I’ll be home again. A home, that at the moment, is a place of snow and ice, of heaps of bills, a deal on my beloved ‘Seafire’ to complete and a plan about what comes next. But, that’s in a few days. I drove up the coast today toward fulfilling a very big item on my bucket list. There were patches of blue sky, and sunlight. Although the wind still roared bringing yet more rain and hail squalls, people were out and about everywhere. Trust the Americans to turn bad weather into a business opportunity. I also learned that it was a long weekend, ‘President’s Day,’  and I’ll keep my remarks to myself on that one. Checking out places I’ve always passed before, I actually enjoyed just being. When the light is good on the coast, it is amazing. This photographer, like all others, is a sucker for soft, golden light and the special clarity it brings to the visual world. Finally I turned off the coast highway and headed inland toward a place I’ve been dreaming of for years. Another pass to cross, with yet another sleet storm but this time the elevation sign read 760’, not 7600’.

As I drove into McMinnville I found a farm machinery Museum. Thankfully, it was closed.
No computers! Low profile tires. It got the job done.
Near the tractor, this is what drew me to make a U-turn back to the museum gate.
This sculptor knows horses! The work is beautiful!
I was spellbound.
There is a bird’s nest inside the nose.
I wonder if this is it? A stunning sight. Who fell out of bed and thought, “Let’s turn a 747 into a waterslide?” It must have flown poorly with those big pipes hanging out of the belly. The air museum is surrounded with its own vineyards and markets the wine in its gift shop. The Willamette Valley has become a huge wine-making area. There are vineyards and wine-tasting opportunities everywhere.
So…Having arrived too late to begin my visit, I was told to go park in the far corner with the rest of the rockets. That’s me in the corner. “Beam me up Scotty!”

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging your back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming”anon.

Author: Fred Bailey

Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor / writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer. He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs. His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lives aboard 'Seafire' the boat he is refitting to go voyaging, exploring new horizons both inner and outer. This blog is about that voyage and the preparations for it. In spite of the odds against it, the plan is to sail away this fall and lay a course southward. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact him at

4 thoughts on “Coastal Light”

  1. More very interesting photos Fred … you are almost home, but have a world of treasures in your camera, on this blog and in your head. My favorites today were the lighthouse, but especially this horse made of machine parts – very unique! You should consider posting some of these unique-looking doors from this trip on Norm’s blog, on his weekly feature about doors; I’ve included today’s post as a reference:

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