Mile 178 Report

January 13, 2008
by Brien M

Cape Cove, Sea Lion Point, Sea Lion Caves
Sunday 2:00 PM
53° F
Calm/Light from the SE
Tide Level:
9.0 ft
Humans / Pets:
Walking / Running:
Playing in surf:
Playing in sand:
Cars/Trucks parking:
ATVs/OHVs parking:
RVs/Buses parking:
RVs/Buses parking: 0
Cars/Trucks on beach, allowed:
ATVs/OHVs on beach, allowed:
Cars/Trucks on beach, prohibited:
ATVs/OHVs on beach, prohibited:
Activity Comments:
The only place to park for this beach, which has no public access, is on the shoulder of hwy 101.
Notable Wildlife:
Given it's proximity to Sea Lion Caves, naturally there are numerous specimens off shore and on the rocks mainly South of Cape Cove.
Dead Birds:
Dead sea lion
Fish & Invertebrates:
Land-based debris (picnics, etc.)·Ocean-based debris (from fishing boats, ship trash, etc.)·Styrofoam
New Development:
Natural Changes:
Landslides/major boulder falls
Given the proximity of this beach to Sea Lion Caves, there are numerous sea lions off shore and on the rocks. This concentration could also be the reason that more often times than not, I will stumble upon a dead sea lion on the beach. Most of the time the trail head of the beach is on the down-wind side, so I can usually smell it well before I see it.There are several lineal feet of repel ropes secured along the trail where it becomes very steep. Near the bottom, there was evidence of a recent landslide, as the repel rope was covered under several cubic yards of debris.This landslide also took out "Petroglyph Rock", which is now crumbled and in pieces. Fortunately, I took pictures of it back in 1992. I gave a picture to the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum to see if they could find a local person of Indian heritage who might be able to interpret what the drawings signify. I will try to scan a copy of this photo and upload it here.Several lengths of guard rail bumpers are still on the beach. These were the result of the major landslide in 2000 that closed 101 for about four months.I try to remove what I can if I am feeling ambitious and don't have my hands full with something else. If I come upon any fishing floats, usable lengths of rope, net, and of course, glass balls, I'll take those home.
Other Mile 178 Reports (23)


April 1, 2016 - Brien M
This is my end-of-quarter report for the first quarter of this year. It coincides well with the annual Spring beach clean-up that took place on the last Saturday of March. My daughter and I picked up...
  • Barrier wall construction on 101, Lane County, Cape Cove, Sea Lion Point, Sea Lion Caves
  • Sea lions at Cape Cove
  • Tsunami debris and sea lions
  • This is a picture of me checking the radioactivity level of some random tsunami debris that washed up. I am happy to report that the average level has dropped since last quarter,
  • The wave action on this rocky beach is always exposing large agates. This one is posing next to the toe of my size 10 shoe for scale.
  • Sea Lion Caves, one of the biggest landmarks on the Oregon Coast, is situated on my mile. Since this is April Fool's Day, I am gonna share with my fellow CoastWatchers a well known local joke about their billboard sign on the front of their building. If you were to look carefully at the letter "i" in the word Sea Lion, you will notice that it looks strikingly similar to a certain appendage found exclusively on a male, human body. Ownership is claiming that it is just coincidence. But many feel it was an int
January 1, 2016 - Brien M
It was New Year's Day morning, and no better way to begin 2016 than a visit to my beach! As expected, I noticed lots of landslide/erosion damage from the extreme weather we had in December. What took...
  • This bundle of fish net had just washed up on the sandy part of Cape Cove.
  • Since this bundled up fish net is so pourous, I thought it would be most likely to contain radioactivity. If you can zoom in on the digital readout, you can see that the Geiger counter is giving a reading of 22 clicks per minute.
  • Several more cubic yards of real estate has slid down the cliff along the westside of hwy 101 and onto the beach.
  • This freshly-fallen clump of land is about one cubic yard in volume. It is just one of the many that slid down the cliff in December.
  • Look at all these plastic baskets and totes that I picked up within a quarter mile of beach! Many of these contain Japanese writing on them.


November 26, 2015 - Brien M
It was Thanksgiving morning 2015. I went to my beach to get photos of king tide at precisely high tide. Because my beach is nearly submerged during events like this, I was very limited as to a...
  • I tried to get a picture of the beach, but the sun glare was too much.
  • King tide; Lane County, Cape Cove, Sea Lion Point, Sea Lion Caves
September 19, 2015 - Brien M
It was the annual Great Oregon Fall Beach Clean-up event today. I knew there was going to be lots of debris to pick up, so I brought along my daughter and another helper. Debris was the usual garbage...
  • Everyone packed as much trash as we could carry, then, went back for more.
  • Physically, it is exceedingly difficult to pack 80lb crab pots up a vertical cliff, then throw one over your shoulder and hike a quarter-mile over rugged terrain to get them to a vehicle. Hence, I have had to leave crab pots on the beach when doing my clean-ups. Now, there is such an accumulation, I think I will talk to the Coast Guard and see if I could coordinate with them about their removal. Their helicopter would be the perfect tool.


September 27, 2014 - Brien M
The annual Fall beach clean-up was today, and weather conditions could not have been better. I filled all three of my SOLV bags, plus an arm full of loose, larger items. Afterward, I was still in "...
  • This is the trash I packed up the cliff and brought to the beach clean-up headquarters at Washburn Park.
  • At first, I thought this was an odd-looking agate, but it is actually a chunk of beeswax that I found during the beach clean-up. Maybe it is from the iconic beeswax shipwreck of Nehalem 300 years ago.
  • I've adopted beach mile 178 for the Coastwatch program, and decided to adopt the corresponding highway mile for ODOT.
August 24, 2014 - Brien M
My coast mile has many areas that can only be accessed by water. I have done it that way before, but given it's difficulty, I decided to study my mile from a whole different point of view. I...
  • Looking down at Cape Cove from the East, high over head.
  • Looking down, from the West, at Cape Cove (left), Sea Lion Point (center), and Sea Lion Caves Building (far right)
  • In the center of this picture is the opening of  a natural "tunnel" that leads to an in-accessible cove on the other end. Most likely, I am the only human that has ever swam through it.
August 16, 2014 - Brien M
It was a very comfortable Saturday morning low tide. Warm, with light cloud cover. I was able to do a follow-up survey on the sea stars that live on the off-shore rocks. And sadly, SSWS was very...
  • This male red rock crab was upside-down on the beach when I came upon it. When I flipped it over, it was very responsive, so I released it into the nearest tidepool.
  • It looks like every sea star within this group are wasting away
  • This picnic table is from a local State park, not tsunami debris. I will need to disassemble it in order to remove it. Look closely through the fog, and you can see Heceta Head lighthouse in the background.
May 31, 2014 - Brien M
It was a minus tide, and it allowed me to observe the invertebrates living on the "off-shore" rocks. There was a huge presence of purple shore crabs climbing about on every boulder. They were hard to...
  • These two sea stars don't look healthy, and the inverted one in the background has already expired.
  • I love these Purple shore crabs, but they are sure hard to take pictures of. There were seven crabs in this scene, but only two remained by time I clicked the photo.
  • I packed some of these buoys home.
March 22, 2014 - Brien M
It was an awesome morning on the Oregon Coast for the annual Spring beach clean-up. There was lots of garbage on Cape Cove beach. I got a head start on the clean-up last weekend by hauling out two...
  • The moisture and freezing temperatures the coast had recently, caused this large boulder to break off the side of the cliff. Notice the dark colored area on the cliff where the boulder used to be.
  • I requested four trash bags from the volunteer at the local beach clean-up HQ. I had no problem finding enough trash to fill them. But is it my imagination, or are the SOLV bags getting smaller?


February 12, 2010 - Brien M
It is early 2010, and I can now access my beach, because the sea lion invasion is over. The sea lions left lots of evidence about their presence, and it was not pretty. There were six dead sea lions...
  • This poor animal was barely alive. A large wound like that may have been from a collision with a boat propeller.
  • Notice the large piece of fishing tackle dangling from the monofilament wrapped around it's neck. I wish I had a tranquilizer gun to sedate it, then use my pocket knife to cut it free.


December 2, 2009 - Brien M
It's New Years Day 2014, and I am finally back on the cyberspace grid! I've resolved to get caught up on my mile reports. I am gonna start by going back about four years. Mile 178 was making...
  • A ground-level view of the visiting population of sea lions in Fall of 2009
December 1, 2009 - Foggy
As previously reported by FriendOfStrawberry on November 14, there's a huge collection of sea lions on the secluded beach just north of Sea Lion Caves. A Eugene Register Guard article on December 1...
  • Closer view of the sea lions at Cape Cove, close enough to see their faces.
November 14, 2009 - FriendofStrawberry
There is an overlook between Sea Lion Caves and north to the tunnel where a number of cars can park and look north to see Heceta Head Lighthouse. Today about 12:30 pm we saw thousands of California...
September 22, 2009 - Brien M
Hey folks, I am still trying to play "catch up" with my mile reports. This one goes back to fall of 2009, just before the famous sea lion invasion. It was Fall Beach clean-up, and my daughter and I...
  • This is the most spectacular fossil I ever found. It is a fish, about 12 inches long. And the rock, about three feet long, and 100 lbs plus.
  • This big chunk of Cedar was actually still burning. I don't know how it could have ignited, but my guess is that it was human-caused
  • My daughter and I drowned the smoldering wood with tide-pool water till it was completely out.
May 31, 2009 - Brien M
I was treated to another beautiful late Spring afternoon on the Oregon Coast. Two months after the Beach Clean-up, the beach was still pretty clean. Some crabbing gear washed up and I brought it home...
March 28, 2009 - Brien M
It was beach clean-up day on the Oregon Coast, and as usual, it was held in tandem with the "Whale Watching Spoken Here" event, of which one viewing location is along mile 178. When I checked with...
  • My 14 year old daughter has been doing the beach clean-ups with me here since she was eight. Here she is filling another bag.
  • This is the hardest part, packing the bagged litter up the cliff. It's necessary to use the series of repel ropes to get up and down, so if you need to pack more than you can carry in one hand, you may need to make multiple trips.
  • Heceta Head Lighthouse taken from the hwy 101 turnout by Sea Lion Caves. The seagull in the foreground was greeting visitors for the whale watching event taking place from the same place.
March 20, 2009 - Brien M
On my visit to the beach today I found one thing to be most out of the ordinary, it was the complete lack of sea lions. There were none to be seen on the rocks or in the water. Typically, there is a...
  • Waves coming in and pounding on this monolith of a rock on a relatively calm day. The Northerly entrance to Sea Lion Caves is on the far left.
  • Looking Northward at the lighthouse with rocks of Sea Lion Point in the foreground.
February 28, 2009 - Brien M
I had all kinds of weather on this visit. Shoreline wildlife was scarce. I had to travel as far South as Sea Lion Point to encounter any sea lions; they used to be so thick on Cape Cove Beach that I...
  • A view of Heceta Head Lighthouse, looking North, from Sea Lion Point.
  • Some more crab pot floats and rope that washed up on the beach in Cape Cove.
  • Lastly, no report for mile 178 would be complete without a sea lion's portrait. I snapped a photo of this guy enjoying a brief moment of sunshine on top of a rock on Sea Lion Point.
January 18, 2009 - Brien M
The sea lions weren't so stingy with the beach today. Maybe it was the gorgeous weather. I was able to explore to the southernmost end of Cape Cove, a place I haven't been in a while, because the...
  • One of the two red light bulbs from off the beach actually worked!
  • I didn't notice this sea lion pup until it noticed me first, so I took its picture and didn't seem to cause it any alarm.
  • A view of one recent landslide looking South
  • The same recent landslide, looking North.
  • Again, the same landslide, only looking upward and to the East. Notice the inverted, dangling tree at the top of the slide area.
January 5, 2009 - Brien M
The beach was not as congested with sea lions as it has been in the past,so I had a little more beach to myself. There were about 40 or 50 of them on the rocks on the South end,so I had to stay away...
  • I was sneaking up on this sea lion to get its picture and then I left, without it noticing.
  • What is up with these red light bulbs? This is the second one I`ve found.
  • One dead Cormorant, along with crab pot and guard rail bumper.
  • The guard rail bumper is the remains of the year 2000 landslide.
  • This landslide just happened a few days ago. This must be equivelent to two dump trucks full. The white stuff is not snow,it's surf foam.


December 21, 2008 - Brien M
For the past three months I have not been able to observe my entire beach because there have been from one to two hundred sea lions hanging out on the South end of Cape Cove. As everyone knows, it is...
March 29, 2008 - Brien M
Well it was Beach Clean-up day, so my daughter and I hit the beach with four trash bags in hand. We filled them all, quickly. It was the usual stuff: plastic bottles,styrofoam,fishing float fragments...


September 29, 2007 - Brien M
My daughter and I have been doing the beach clean-ups twice a year at this site since 1997. This is the first time I've reported here. The gist of this summary can be found on the previous three...