Charleston, Oregon and the Marine Life Center… A Delight

I am taking a brief break from the desert Southwest, today. Peggy and I just returned from a three day trip over to the Oregon Coast and explored the interesting town of Charleston near Coos Bay.

This toothy fellow greeted us at the Marine life Center in Charleston, Oregon. I think this was a smile, assuming moray eels smile. Maybe it was contemplating what I might taste like.

That we ended up in Charleston, Oregon was a complete happenstance. Peggy and I wanted to make a quick trip to Shore Acres State Park on the Oregon coast. The park puts on an annual Christmas display of over 300,000 lights that feature coastal themes focusing on Pacific Ocean wildlife. Normally we take Quivera, our RV, and camp at Sunset Bay State Park, which is just down the hill. This time we were motelling it and I found one named Captain John’s in Charleston. The town is three miles away from Shore Acres. It was just a convenience— until we went for a walk.

The Marina, that serves as both a center for sports fishing and a port for commercial fishing is quite attractive.
A seagull photobombed a picture I was taking of a ramp down to the fishing boats.
Calm waters made for excellent reflection photos.
The harbor was packed with boats.
Huge piles of oyster shells served as a reminder of how important the fishing industry is to Charleston.
And these cormorants, which were perching on the bridge across the bay, also make their living off of fishing! Peggy and I had watched this flock of excellent divers hard at work while we ate dinner the night before. (I liked the washed out grey backdrop. It creates a water-color effect.)
This mural was featured on a shed next to the Davey Jones Locker restaurant. Humorous, yes, but still a reminder that fishing is a dangerous business.
A powerful memorial to fishermen lost at sea in Charleston looks out toward the ocean.
The many fishermen from Charleston who have lost their lives at sea are listed at the Memorial. “To the sea they turned for life; to the sea they gave their lives.”
It was the beginning of crab season and the crab pots were lined up and ready.
Peggy shows how high they were stacked.
Crab fishermen have different colored floats to avoid confusion about who owns what.
The jewel of Charleston, however, is the Marine Life Center. It has the good fortune of being located next to and is operated by the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology.
The giant head of a humpback whale resides outside of the Center. Peggy stands in front of a portion of the skull. I couldn’t help but think of Georgia O’Keeffe and her love of bones. She would be jealous.
A number of interesting sea creatures were living in salt water tanks inside, including this unique starfish. (Peggy took this photo with her iPhone.)
Another perspective.
A great volunteer was manning the desk at the Center. She loaned Peggy a magnifying glass that attached to her iPhone and Peggy dashed around taking weird photos such as the butt of a sea cucumber. So, here’s a fun question. Do you know what this is? And no, it isn’t the butt. We asked our grandkids the same question. I’ll provide the answer in my next post.
A sea anemone.
And a closeup.
I was fascinated by the eyes on this fish.
How’s this for weird? You are looking at a snail.
A beauty here. Why am I thinking ermine?
A pair of sea cucumbers share a moment.
Check out the camouflage of this rock fish.
And now for some serious bones. You can see why most sea creatures give orcas a wide berth.
Just look at those choppers.
A “belly of the whale” look.
And here’s another toothy fellow. This time a dolphin.
But when it comes to teeth, nobody can beat a shark!
One of my favorites. I love the feet on this seal!
And on this turtle.
This guy was crabby.
And this fish was scary. I had a nightmare that featured a guy pounding on my door that had a similar look. Most dogs would find the fellow exciting, however. If you have ever cleaned up your dog after it has rolled in dead fish, you know what I mean.
I’ll conclude with another photo of the smiling fellow I started the post with. Looks like a trip to an orthodontist might be in order.

NEXT POST: Back to Georgia O’Keeffe at Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu in New Mexico.