Sea Lion Caves (United States)
Sea Lion Caves - United States
Sea Lion Caves are a connected system of sea caves and caverns open to the Pacific Ocean in the U.S. state of Oregon. They are located 11 miles (18 km) north of Florence on U.S. Highway 101, about midpoint on the 400 miles (640 km) Oregon coast. In this area Highway 101 follows a steep and undeveloped seascape 300 feet (91 m) above sea level. Human access to the caves are through a gift shop building.The cave system is at sea level and the ocean continually washes into the main cavern which has a floor area of about 2 acres (0.81 ha) and a vaulted rock dome about 125 feet (38 m) high. Southward from the main chamber, a low passage runs 1,000 feet (300 m) to a sea level opening. This corridor is flooded at high tide and free of water at low tide. The western entrance is a short, high passage through which the ocean washes at all tide levels. From the north, a third entrance opens into the main cave, about 50 feet (15 m) above the ocean. This entrance serves as an elevated observation area from which one may view the entire underground cave system and its wildlife.Lichens, algae, and mineral stains cover the cavern walls with greens, pinks, purples, buffs, and reds, forming on the rough surfaces such easily distinguishable features as Lincoln's Head, the Indian Maiden, and The Goddess of Liberty.The sea level portion of this cave and the sea cliff rocks just outside the cave have become, over the centuries, the only known mainland rookery and hauling area (wintering home) of the Stellar Sea Lion, and, to a lesser extent, the California Sea Lion.The high vault is a natural resting place for sea birds. Many birds make their home at or near the Sea Lion Caves such as the Pigeon Guillemot, Brandt's Cormorant, Western, Herring, and California Gulls, Tufted Puffins, and the occasional hawk or Bald Eagle.The Sea Lion Caves is one of the great sea grottos of the world, comparable in size and coloration to the famed Blue Grotto in the Mediterranean. They contain a wide variety of marine life.
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