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Round Up of Eerie News From the Oregon Coast

Some eerie and strange things have been happening on the Oregon coast these past few weeks. While mostly mundane in nature,there's an aura of weirdness about these events. Climate change, global warming, weather patterns, the aftermath of BP's disaster in the Gulf, toxins in the ocean, and general earth rage-madness have come together, sending us signals that things are very wrong, and very different from what we've known. Things are wilder, more chaotic, sadder, and stranger. Warnings and omens that are wake-up calls to be sure.


A November 6th item in local news: Oregon crabbers in the Tillamook area are facing a dangerous season, more so than the usual: Dangerous crab season puts rescuers on alert Tillamook has a history of wildness; dangerous ocean, haunted waters, the deaths of men fighting the rough ocean while building the Tillamook Lighthouse in 1880. Native American legends of the area tell of spirits in the water and haunted underwater/underground tunnels. The lighthouse is now privately owned, but that hasn't stopped the tragic and haunted history, for it became a columbarium. But, even that is not entirely true, according to Our Oregon Coast website:

After interring about 30 urns, the columbarium's license was revoked in 1999 by the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board and was rejected upon reapplication in 2005. The board said the owners have not kept accurate records and, because urns sit on boards and concrete blocks and not in niches, the lighthouse does not even qualify as a columbarium.

As for the crabbers in the Tillamook area, fishermen know of the dangers and that's not news, but the danger has been escalating:

We've lost a lot of boats," said Mike Saindon, master chief petty officer in Garibaldi. "It is a very dangerous place and it has been for awhile. Conditions are bad and they have been getting worse over the years. No one knows why that's happening."

The Tillamook Bay bar — the place at the tip of the jetties where the calm bay waters meet the sea — has been growing progressively worse for about 20 years.

"Traditionally when you get a lot of water flowing it clears the channels out," said Saindon. "That isn't happening here. The sand builds up on the bar and causes waves to break more frequently and in a larger area. That creates a larger surf zone and not a clear channel."

Some suggest dredging, others say it's not a solution; too shallow. Meanwhile, crabbers risk their lives and their boats:

Skipper Darrin Mobley knows as well as anyone how dangerous the bar can be. His commercial fishing vessel, The Network, capsized there in November 2008, claiming the lives of two crewmen. He said the accident occurred when the boat was hit by an unusually large series of waves that no one had seen coming.

Pink Sea Stars

In September, sea stars (star fish) washed up on Oregon beaches. I posted about that on my blog Octopus Confessional at the time:

Hundreds of star fish -- "sea stars," more correctly -- have washed up on an Oregon beaches and scientists don't know why. Heceta Beach, well known to myself, since I live roughly fifty miles from there and visit that area frequently, witnessed the mysterious die off of sea stars this past Thursday. So far, no other Oregon beaches have reported mass beachings of sea stars; just Heceta Beach:

"We found it very curious," said Justin Ainsworth, shellfish biologist with the wildlife agency. "We haven't had any calls like this in my time here. We contacted past biologists from this office and they couldn't recall anything like it in the past 30 years."

Even more curious was the fact that, after they made calls to the coastal wildlife offices in Astoria and Coos Bay, they realized that Heceta Beach seemed to be the only place where the phenomenon occurred.

Theories include the recent storms in the area as a cause for the sea star deaths, but the article points out that other scientists disagree with that idea since the storms affected other areas, which didn't report any incidents of washed up animals. See Die-off of sea stars at Florence unexplained:Heceta Beach appears to be the only spot along the Oregon Coast where the creatures washed up.

Infected Sea Lions

November 6th bought us news that sick, dying and dead sea lions are coming ashore along the Oregon coast. Infected with leptospirosis, which can be transmitted to humans and dogs, agencies are urging people to avoid wet sand, as well as the sea lions. From my post on Octopus Confessional:

Sick, dying and dead sea lions are coming ashore along the Oregon coast. Rise in sea lion deaths traced to disease.

The sea lions are thought to have leptospirosis. There are warnings to avoid wet sand, and to not touch the sea lions, dead or alive (which is a given anyway, one would think) as leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans.

A sharp increase in the number of sick and dead California sea lions has been reported along the Oregon Coast in recent weeks, and necropsies conducted on dozens of the animals suggest that many may have died from leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease found in a variety of animal species and can be transmitted to humans, said Jim Rice, an Oregon State University scientist who coordinates the statewide Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

"We are now getting calls for multiple sick or dead sea lions daily, which is higher than normal," said Rice, an OSU Marine Mammal Institute researcher who works at the university's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. "The overall number of sea lions also has risen, so it's difficult to compare mortality rates from year to year, but certainly we're seeing an increase in animals that test positive for leptospirosis."

Dogs can be infected with leptospirosis through contact with stricken seal lions. Rice said coastal visitors should always avoid sea lions on the beach and during outbreaks of leptospirosis should keep their dogs on a leash. The disease can be transmitted by direct contact, or even through contact with damp sand, soil or vegetation contaminated by the urine of infected animals.


Then there was the recent article about Stonefield Beach and its association with UFOs and "greenish tide pools." According to some researchers, the aliens are "reaching out with signs." I posted about that on Oregon LOWFI's website on November 3rd: UFOs at Stonefield Beach, Oregon Coast.