But that is not what the fuzzy bear caterpillars tell me

Ladies and gents I am getting spoiled! The weather has been nothing but amazing this entire month. (Funny, the one real rain we had, Michelle and I were in Portland at the zoo!) Aside from those days, October has looked like this

Blue sky, sunshine and warm… 

I started thinking today, Michelle and I were here on vacation last year during this exact week. Early on it was like this

we were amazed how nice it was.

By the end of the week though, things had changed with a high surf warning, still one of the most awesome displays of nature I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

This week, though, the forecast is calling for more blue and nice at least until next Tuesday. Their aint even a shower predicted let alone Wavemageddon!

Given this, Michelle is doing her best to get me out on the bike. We know someday soon the weather will force me into the garage to ride, and we know that doesn’t make me all that happy!

Sunday, last,  I was out, and spotted this guy just sitting on a rock

I was excited to see them since when I spotted him I realized I hadn’t seen bald eagles in over a month or more. I have no idea where they went.

I also spotted these guys just hanging out and enjoying the sun

I know I have told y’all more than once I like to share what I know with others. There are people here on the coast who have never seen a whale, or even a bald eagle. Once you spot your first spout, you can pick out a whale even in rough seas. So when I see people I make sure to share.

On Sunday I was up on Cape Foulweather, checking out the light house and the view. There was a younger couple there, checking out the rock formations below. 

And they were having a pretty heated argument. Now me, myself, I know enough about geology to follow along when most people discuss rocks, rock formations, and geologyeeze. Not with these two! I barely understood every third word. the crux of the argument seemed to be the age of the ocean floor and how it compared to what they were looking at. They were getting mad at each other.

Folks it was WAY too nice a day to arguing. Well it just so happened I spotted a whale. and said, “Hey! Did y’all see the whale over here?”

Magically the argument stopped. They moved quickly over to me, and I helped them spot the first one. From there on they were pointing out multiple spouts and close in whales to each other. The argument was over and they had their arms around each other and smiling. Spread the Love Valente they call me!

Well as much as I know and have learned since I have been here, I know there are others who know more. Today, at Rocky Creek, I had a chance to talk with a Nature Sensei.

I didn’t catch her name (I need to be better about that) but she has lived in Oregon for 35 years and 15 on the coast. In the 5 minutes we spoke I learned a lot! Here is just some.

Lately I have spouted whales showing there flukes (fins) 

As they swim around. She says this is called ‘sharking’ as the fluke looks like a shark fin. Then she explained the gray whales, who use baleen to filter their food, can sometimes filter better on their right or left side. So they swim sideways like this.

I had no idea.

She also pointed out a circle in the water I see frequently, is a fluke print. A whale will move its tail in a certain way under water that causes the circle. She told me it helps to keep track of the them if they have been under for a while.

She went on to say this last year was the first time ever she’s seen whales every single month. Normally the food gives out and they leave in the winter. Last year they didn’t….  Then there was the year the food source didn’t appear in Depoe Bay, my favorite whale watching area.

It was a year without whales in the bay… I didn’t know that was even a thing.

I was wishing I had a chair and pad to take notes! We discussed the fact that eagles had been gone for a month or two. She was happy they were back, but she was wondering what they were away eating.

She told me pelicans migrate south in the winter and would soon be gone.

But there was that one year they hung around and ended up getting their breeding plumage, that would be cool to see!

We then got to the weather. She told me in all her time here (and I picture her having a spread sheet at home for reference) she has never seen this many incredible nice days in a row.  We both agreed we were enjoying them, but it was time for rain.

She then got a knowing look in her eyes and said, “So I have read that this should be a mild winter. But the fuzzy bear caterpillars I have seen are telling a different story. I think the winter is going to be nastier than they think!”

After all I had learned from her in a short time, there is NO way I will argue with her! People might pshaw it, but back home when I see this, lenticular clouds over Mt Rainier

I knew to have Gortex ready for the bike commute the next day. It was never wrong. But people have told me it is nonsense.

This lady has been here 15 years, and you can tell she knows her nature…  I might need more Gortex…

I had to cut the talk short though. I had 12 miles, with a bit of a headwind, to ride before dark. This meant I had to get going. Luckily, I made it back to town in time to enjoy sundown.

Being a cyclist and a lover of nature, I make a point to stop and enjoy when I see the beauty in the world. Being a science geek I could explain HOW these colors happen. But there is a time not be a scientist, but to just enjoy. This was one of those times.

But, I found out tonight I have MUCH to learn to be a true coast kid. I will do my best, and share with others, including y’all, what I learn!

I am SO glad I am a coast kid!

One thought on “But that is not what the fuzzy bear caterpillars tell me

  1. I have found over the past couple of times on the Oregon Coast in October that it can be really nice in the first couple of weeks!

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