Ellen Steen

Ellen Steen

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Beachgoers were out in droves to enjoy the minus tides over Memorial Day weekend. Children looked for sea anemones and starfish in the tide pools, adults pried mussels off the rocks or fished for surf perch, and everyone hunted for sand dollars and agates. The weather was perfect to spend hours out on the sand, and many did. Hope they remembered their sunscreen! Razor clamming was closed, but all other activities appeared to be in full swing. With many residents vaccinated and masking lifted for outdoor activities, it was great to see this near-normal gathering of family and friends here in Cape Meares.

Kate Merz was dismayed to find her five-speed, blue beach cruiser bike stolen in the early hours of May 26 after she had parked it at the south end of Cape Meares beach to check out the tide pools. She publicized the theft on our local social media site, Nextdoor. Lo and behold, neighbor Wendy Burroughs found the bike leaning against a signpost at the north entrance to the beach and returned it to Kate. As Kate says, “Goodness wins out yet again!” We love happy endings.

Volunteer firefighters from Cape Meares responded to an emergency Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend. Two boats carrying 13 individuals had become stranded in the mud in Tillamook Bay. Shortly after 10 p.m., the page-out for a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) sounded. The Tillamook County Sheriff's Office (TCSO), Tillamook Fire Department (TFD) and fire departments from Garibaldi, Bay City and Netarts-Oceanside responded. TCSO launched two vessels to rescue eight of the stranded individuals and bring them to the Memaloose boat ramp. Bob "Olli" Ollikainen and Mike Smith of Cape Meares rushed to get the Chevrolet Suburban from Station 73, a vehicle new to our fire station that is designed for rescue work and medical response and can even drive on the beach, if necessary. When they first arrived on scene, they helped two exhausted and very hypothermic swimmers out of the bay and into a waiting ambulance. Three other swimmers made it to shore on their own. Dave Audet and Jonathon Hedden, fellow volunteer firefighters, also turned out. The foursome from Cape Meares continued to triage victims and warm them up with blankets and hot packs. Ultimately, three individuals were transferred to Adventist Health Tillamook Hospital with hypothermia. Fortunately, no lives were lost in this event. This was the first MCI page-out our Cape Meares firefighters had ever experienced. It is reassuring to see that major disaster preparedness plans are in place and well executed. Someday, the MCI will be the long-feared earthquake and tsunami; our community and county are doing their best to prepare.

A word of warning, folks: Check the tide table before you head out on an outdoor adventure. And regardless of the tides, be careful of the ocean. Yet another youngster lost his life, swept out to sea while swimming in the ocean near Long Beach, Wash., over Memorial Day weekend. Take care and be safe out there!

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