Martinis On The Rocks

On those wonderful Oregon coast afternoons, = windchill factor above 30 degrees F and rain not coming in sheets, I take great delight in watching the sun set into the water while enjoying a martini on the water sculpted rocks that are a 30 second walk from our cottage in Yachats.  Please join me on the rocks by e-mailing and we’ll make a plan.  You can even drink some other beverage, it still rocks!!

Contact Info:


My dirty martini is normal, however, there are no birds, no warmth, no inter-tidal animals as winter has a grip on the coastline. It’s around 30º at the water’s edge, just me and 9 crab boats out here enjoying a cloudy sunset and splashing waves.  2/12/2018


Seagulls, black shorebirds and one solitary Oyster Catcher joined me on the day before Thanksgiving for Martinis on the Rocks to celebrate the first sunny, semi-warm day in a week. Steven Seagull was not among the crowd since none of these “chickens” would come to take a chip from me. 11/22/2017

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

I finally switched from my old trustworthy flip-phone to a smart-phone. I’m not “smart” enough to understand all the differences, but it does take clearer photos. The 10/5 sunset was stunning on a cloudless day at Martinis on the Rocks.  The tidepool below my rocky perch was buried in sand five months ago but is slowly returning to normal! 10/5/2017


Martinis on the Rocks was cloudy tonight with two fishing boats on the water. It looked to be a slow night, then an old friend appeared. Over the past 8 months, none of the seagulls would approach me, but tonight, immediately after I settled myself in my seat, Steven Seagull walked right up to me and waited while I dug chips out of my coat. He literally stands about two feet from where I sit.  I needed something good to happen. Welcome back, Steven!  9/28/2017


With multiple wildfires all over Oregon, including more than 100,000 acres ablaze near Brookings, the air along the coast is smoky. The ocean mist, always present, removes the smoke smell where I enjoy my dirty martini on the basalt headland. I enjoyed a pleasant exchange with a young couple from “New Jersey but we live in Florida now”.  8/28/2017


With the moon and the sun getting all the attention for the upcoming total eclipse of the sun on 8/21/2017, I sensed a surging anger by the possibly mis-characterized “Pacific” ocean tonight:

They float through the sky like a Prince and a King,

Just waiting for praise but not doing a thing,

while I feed all the fishes

And grant sailors’ wishes.

I’ll show my disgust by the waves that I fling!     8/17/2017


Waves crashing, whales spouting, sun setting on a ‘balmy’ 61º evening. Why aren’t you here enjoying this fabulous coastal summer show?  7/14/2017


Misty miasma makes a mockery of summer. I was alone for much of my “Martinis on the Rocks” pastime until ten grey pelicans passed by headed north. Steven was absent. Two Mergansers and one Seagull hastened by but the breezy dampness discouraged even the hardiest of the inter-tidal social set. The martini warmed me.   Brrrr  6/30/2017


The usual “water shows”,  “splash-ups”  and wave-sets I mention in this blog are absent today since my basalt shelf is the apparent victim of a sand tsunami!  The area below my rocky repose is buried in beige sand clasts. It must have been a helluva storm to do this, but this, too, will change because this sea I know well!  5/8/2017

~ sand ~ sand ~ sand ~ sand ~ sand ~ sand ~

Stunning news! Apparently the 9/23/2016 Eulogy for my long-time feathered friend, Steven C. Gull, was, as WC Fields famously said, “greatly exaggerated!” It may not offset all the bad news 2017 might bring, but my feathery buddy, Steven, is well!  1/15/2017


South-wind and temp are about the same so the martini warms me up.  Dark waves crash into the basalt shelf as lowering clouds bring an early evening. I can see many rain cells across the Pacific but none falling here (whew!) 12/11/2016


I enjoy normal Autumn weather for the inter-tidal zone = 50º, South-wind, intermittent rain showers. My rocky seat is just above the crashing waves, so I think we’re seeing a pattern of higher high tides (over the years this seems to be a pattern).  Again, no Steven C. Gull, only 20+ “chickens” who are afraid to come in and take a chip from me! I’m convinced my comments of 9/23 are a Eulogy for my fine, feathered, birdie friend, Steven.  🙁  11/21/2016

+ * + * + * + * + * + *+ * + * + * +

Waves higher than usual as I sit in my rocky seat, waiting for my feathered buddy, Steven C. Gull, to make an appearance. Just before I make an exit, a rascally “splash-up” drenches me from the back!  10/16/2016


I fear for the mortal well-being of my long-time feathered friend, Steven C. Gull.  For the 2nd consecutive visit, he has failed to join me to break bread (OK, chips).  It could be that he is just busy or on vacation – it’s just unusual.  Temp was about 70º. High tide combined with very active wave-sets to provide an exciting water show! 9/23/2016


A sunny, blustery day with a chilling north-wind whipping up crashing waves.  A perfect day to bundle up and enjoy Martinis on the Rocks with my friends, RB Williams and my photo-taking son, Chris Fender.  7/30/2016

Martinis with friends(1)


Pleasant enough day for a Martini on the Rocks, but a storm is approaching. Steven and his buddies are elsewhere today – they know when bad weather is near.  I’ve been suffering a long-term (3 weeks so far) flu-like illness. Maybe my buddy didn’t want to be exposed to it?  The whales are close offshore, dozens of spouts & two of them are rolling on the surface.  7/6/2016


As I approached my basalt monolith to enjoy an intertidal martini, the regal bird himself slowly strolled ahead of me to a spot 5 feet past my normal seat.  He waited for me to settle in, then immediately approached to about 2 feet while waiting impatiently for me to open the crackily plastic bag containing the chips. Could this be just any gull? NO, because his trust in coming up so close to me is that of an acquaintance.  Steven C. Gull:

Steven C. Gull

We also watched a strange something bobbing up and down vertically in the water. The inter-tidal zone can be interesting!  6/10/2016


Martinis on the Rocks with a “twist” today.  The gulls are settling in and tucking their beaks under their wings in the face of a brisk north wind – unusual (the beak tucking, not the wind!).  Sunshiny but chilly today. 5/17/2016


Something seems to be happening to the sea levels. For the past 5 days water levels have been higher, splashing up onto my rocky perch. This is normal during storm surges but the storm is a few days away so maybe this is the beginning of new normal?   2/29/2016


Sunshiny day w/temps in the mid-30’s.  As always, life in the inter-tidal zone is interesting. Humpback whales lob-tailing as they migrate south, brown pelicans stopping for lunch and Pacific sea lions surfing the big wave sets.    11/28/2015




Light cloud cover painted orange by the setting sun with warm temps and a gentle northwind – everything normal at the inter-tidal zone. Five southbound brown pelicans and dozens of hungry gulls bear witness to the relentless caress of the briny surges from the big deep on the indifferent basaltic shoreline.  9/24/2015


Another fabulous sunset at the ocean’s edge!  62º and a light north wind.  Playful wave-sets splashing against the basalt headlands make a relaxing backdrop to enjoy my usual martini on the rocks.  Steven Seagull wanted his usual snacks!  9/22/2015

0922151825 2


WOW – One of those spectacular Oregon coast days!  Fender family from California and Montana stopped by for a mini-reunion and a tour of my rocky perch for “Martinis on the Rocks”. After a hike on the historic 804 to the Spooky Forrest, we retired to Luna Sea Food for a yummy dinner.  After family departed, I returned to my rocky perch where Steven Seagull joined me for the usual hand-held snacks. As if this wasn’t enough….the sun set into an absolutely cloudless sunset where the sun showed a touch of GREEN as it slid softly into the languid liquid.  7/23/2015




I’ve been absent from my seat at “Martinis On The Rocks” while traveling in Peru – but my buddy, Steven C. Gull, didn’t forget me.  When taking chips from my fingers, he (she?) never touches my fingers but is always precise in grabbing the snack!  It is so amazing to have the trust of a wild bird to come so close, knowing I won’t harm.  07/03/2015


Seagull poop on the rocks

Sometimes, there are unexpected perils when pursuing Martinis On The Rocks!   02/25/2015

 @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @ * @

Martinis On The Rocks did not happen today due to excess water in my special seat on the basalt headland  – Yikes!  10/12/2014

Martinis-on-the-rocks problem


I’m writing a story that involves building sandcastles on our local beach but I had no photos of sandcastles so my wife convinced me to go build one and take a photo of it.  Anyone built one lately?  It’s harder than it would seem to be.  Those turrets and parapets always tend to crumble! On the way to the beach on the old 804 Trail, with all the buckets and toys, I found myself explaining what appeared to be “odd” behavior.  Finally, a British woman laughingly told me to just say, “Hey, I’m old and I just want to go play in the sand, OK?”         10/9/2014


A brisk North-wind blew away the local fog and gulls, leaving only crashing surf. Still a fabulous “Martinis on The Rocks” evening!  9/4/2014



Double martinis were no match for my friend, Denny Hargens, and I on a sunny, windy day on the basaltic headlands of Yachats.  The whales were spouting and the sunset was spectacular!         8/16/2014



                       p o d   o f   w h a l e s   r e p e a t e d l y   s o u n d i n g

                       s e t s  o f   w a v e s   n o i s i l y   p o u n d i n g

                      b r o w n   p e l i c a n s   s k i m m i n g   t h e   w a v e s

                       l o c a l   t i d e   p o o l s   g e t t i n g   r a v e s

                          . . . . . m u s t   b e   J u l y   i n   Y a c h a t s     7/5/2014


Seagull cameo

My wife, Maureen, and I have been traveling on the East Coast of the USA so I haven’t been able to commune with my inter-tidal friends recently. It’s a sunny, breezy day and my buddy came to welcome me home!   6/10/2014


The Italian Exchange student, Cesare Bigolin, who is staying with us, is now at the Yachats house with us enjoying the incessant Oregon rain (boo!)  He has pointed out that I should post what I do at the end of every “Martinis on the Rocks” visit.  It is my tradition to toss the last of my martini to the waters as I offer an old seafarers toast: “To the winds that blow the ships that go, and the lass who loves a sailor!”  I haven’t drowned yet, so Neptune must like dirty martinis, too!    3/25/2014


Did I mention that the thermometer claims it is 70 degrees in Yachats (on the Oregon coast)?  Sunny and warm while much of the nation is enjoying another polar vortex.  Amazing weather here today.  Must go enjoy a dirty martini on the rocks before the Beachside Writers event starts tonight.  Might not be the sharpest but I guarantee I will be relaxed~~~~~ 2/28/2014


The “green flash” is real!  I saw it with new friend, Dick Melville, as the sun set tonight, 12/27.  I’ve heard that it happens but haven’t seen it in all the years I’ve watched the sun set from my Basaltic throne on the raw edge of the Pacific ocean.  The sea otter watched us feed popcorn to the cadre of seagulls surrounding us as the sun sank low.  This was a fantastic evening on the Oregon coast…and the martini was tasty!  12/27/2013


Although it’s almost dark at 5 PM (!!), an almost balmy 55 degree day made for a relaxing seat at the tidal zone.  Steven C. Gull and flockmembers were absent so maybe they’re closed for the winter?  I’ll check on Thanksgiving to make sure he has dinner!  A Happy Thanksgiving to those who follow this page from the denizens of the inter-tidal zone!  11/26/2013


While sitting in my usual niche in the intertidal rocks, Steven C. Gull finally decided to trust me enough to take a potato chip from my hand….not just once, but 5 times!  Eventually, he/she stood at my shoulder and waited, impatiently, for me to take the chip out of the bag! SUCCESS, finally, after years of trying!!  Coupled with a minus tide that had to be approaching -2.0, this was a remarkable day!  The photo of the Overleaf Lodge was taken from a location that is usually under many feet of water!  11/1/2013   


Thanks to a break in the rainy, windy Fall weather, Thursday, 9/26 was a delightful retreat to my perch on the basalt headland at the edge of the briny deep!  Then….two days later, with a windy deluge outside, I joined dozens of other authors at the Florence Events Center in (surprise) Florence, OR.  Sold a few copies of “Infinite River” and “The Legend of Fender’s Garage”.  The Grants Pass Chamber of Commerce, the gateway to the Rogue River, is interested in carrying “Infinite River” to sell to tourists.  EXCITING!!  10/1/2013


The lowering clouds and crashing waves are anything but welcoming, yet the tidal zone has many attractions.  Steven C. Gull became bold enough to take a snack just a couple of feet from my niche in the basalt headland.  Six brown pelicans performed their traditional “wave skimming” show.  These birds are so impressive!  Although they are about 5 feet long from bill to tailfeathers with a wingspan of about 8 feet, they float gracefully on air currents a mere foot or so above the churning water.  If you haven’t spent an hour on the edge of land, you should!  8/31/2013


Sunday mornin’ comin’ down (thanks, Kris Kristofferson) after the fun poker weekend!  The morning started cloudy but by sundown, enjoying martinis on the rocks, there wasn’t a cloud in the robin egg blue sky – even the daily cloud bank was so far out to sea that the sun set into the horizon.  Note to self: beware a poker competitor who is “obviously going low” when he suddenly bumps the “obviously going high” player for absolutely no reason….because there is a reason!  7/28/2013

$ – ¢ – $ – ¢ – $- ¢ – $ – ¢ – $ – ¢ – $ – ¢ – $ – ¢ – $ – ¢ – $

With inland temps above 80 degrees, Oregon coastal temps of around 50 degrees are much more agreeable.  Martinis warm the inside while jackets perform the same function on the outside!  Lots of sun and breezes, but few clouds – all-in-all, this is a great place to be in the summertime!  7/4/2013


We’re taking a trip from the left coast to the right coast.  Steve said, “Let’s take an 8 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail.”  I said, “Sounds great but it’s raining, maybe we should go another day.”  Steve said, “It’s light rain and will stop soon.”  I said, “Hmmm, well, OK.”  “Besides,” he said, “the radar shows no rain.”  As we slogged through mud bogs (which used to be the Trail) and continuous downpour, Steve said, “Well, you can say you waded the Appalachian Trail!”  6/11/2013


A solitary figure sits in a natural depression in a rocky perch above the crashing waves, contemplating the artistry of the one-legged seagull who slants into the wind and alights with only one small hop (a 9.6).  How does he maintain his position in the face of such intense and variable wind surges?  Probably by maintaining his grip on the martini glass and nestling down into the rocky depression.  Fooled ya, didn’t I?  4/8/2013


January is supposed to be blustery and cold on the Oregon coast, but the past five days have been almost summery.  60 miles inland, it is 35 degrees and foggy but we coastal folk have an unexpected treat.   1/19/2013


OK now – seriously!  My entries give you a glimpse of how inspiring the tidal interaction can be but, until you sit for an hour becoming part of the picture, you won’t understand.  Add this to your bucket list as a very doable essential.  Today, with the chill wind at my back, and a martini in hand, I watched a very active ocean splash water near the snuggled-down seagulls until they gave up, one by one, and flew away, shrieking angrily at the inconvenience. 11/11/12


Big time rain coming to the Oregon coast tomorrow so tonight was the last chance for “Martinis on the Rocks” for a while.  Single-file line of brown pelicans flying north; seagulls flying south; crows flying everywhere; wave sets smashing into the rocky headlands; it all appears chaotic but there is a repetitive harmony that emerges during the course of imbibing a large martini.  10/11/12

o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o

The fog finally cleared in time for a fabuloso sunset!  While watching the fiery orb slowly sink into the horizon, I tossed corn chip pieces to Steven Seagull and enjoyed the long line of brown pelicans flying north as they dipped in and out of the wave sets.  The waves were unusually large due to a 6.9 earthquake southwest of Adak, Alaska.  I did not see the legendary “green flash” that accompanies the sun’s disappearance but the full moon was a nice consolation!  9/27/12


A change of pace – Touring with the Vesparados!  On Sundays, our scooter group explores a couple hundred miles of Oregon’s back-roads.  Eagles, red-tail hawks, and other birds of prey entertain us by wheeling around the sky, waiting to find a careless rodent running about.  Turkey buzzards float on the updrafts, hoping to clean up whatever the other birds leave.  Streams, rivers, meadows of wildflowers and other unexpected pleasures greet us at every turn – what a joy!! 7/22/12

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + –

As the sun works it’s way down to the horizon, a gray mist bathes the coastline.  A dark form, about 10 feet long, is stationary and slips beneath the water as the incoming tide washes over it.  Whale?  Sea Lion?  Shark?  The gathering darkness makes identification difficult.  But wait!  A red splash of setting sun bathes the tidal denizen and reveals…..a slippery smooth piece of basalt!!  7/6/12


The sets of mountainous waves keep rolling in,

Frothy monsters hammering, gnawing, ripping at the basalt headland,

But the monoliths accept the watery caress and shrug it off,

While the denizens of this rocky home luxuriate in the brine.  6/20/12


Perfect weather for martinis on the rocks….for February anyway!  Temps in the 30’s (F) with a south wind. This is OK since my special niche in the rocks faces north.  Big rollers smash into the rocky headland creating spouting spumes. Even the gulls lean into that south wind!   2/20/12


How different from the last post!  Two days from Thanksgiving and we are being battered by “hurricane force” winds.  Wind driven sheets of rain slash through the forest by my cottage, ripping off the last clinging leaves and roaring like a speeding freight train….thankful not to be homeless!   11/22/11


On a rare, cloudless Winter evening, to my left, the setting sun splashes crimson across the darkening Pacific while, on my right, the full moon, rising over the Coastal range, casts a ghostly pallor over the rocky headland. Such an incredible combination of sensory overload! Wish I could have captured the event in photos.   11/10/2011

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

Autumn arrives at the Oregon coast – compliments of the Pacific Ocean

Steven Seagull stands ready to snatch treats when offered as the annual transition from Summer to Autumn proceeds. The long
line of brown pelicans glides between the troughs and peaks of the waves on their way south while the little shorebirds avoid
drowning as they dance in and out of the surging sea swells. I have to wonder why I’m not here every night to enjoy
this show!! 9/30/11


July 4th has come and gone with a patriotic send-off.  High tide and wind-driven waves make for an active evening at the coast.  Mid-July and still wearing coats!  Summer is slow to arrive. 7/11/11


Life has been a blur!!  1) January 2011-retirement planning, 2) Feb 2011-retiring and trip to Italy, 3) March 2011- finish 6 week Italy trip, 4) April 2011-36th wedding anniversary & time to focus on writing Italian adventure novel!   4/10/2011


Merry Christmas – Happy New Year and may all your wishes come true!     12/29/2010


With a fanfare of snow on the beach and a blast of arctic cold, winter has arrived on the Oregon coast.  Our hardy band bundled up and ventured onto my favorite rock to bring Thanksgiving to the shorebirds.  Mary even cajoled Steven Seagull (aka “Fred”) to take cornchips from her hand.  11/25/2010

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

“An old dog learns new tricks”  –  Pudge, the family dog, was happy for 13 years.  Our family of six fed him, walked him and treated him like royalty.  Then… 18 month old granddaughter arrived to live with us.  Not merely arrived, but took over.  This did not sit well with Pudge!  The house rules not only changed, but frequently changed.  Retreating and hiding sometimes worked, but the child was quite determined and usually found him.  It was only when he realized she routinely threw food on the floor that a relative accord was reached.  10/18/2010


Mashed potatoes – that’s what it’s called when the ocean whips the surf into a froth.  A very agitated ocean with 7 visible sets of breakers (rare!!!) suggests an imminent storm front.  The seagulls seem to be a little discomfited with the mashed potatoes as they attempt to forage for marine treats.  10/3/10


Addendum (9/6/10) – forgot to mention the pod of whales cavorting about a hundred yards northwest of us.  Also, the “love of my life” is Maureen, not the Pacific Ocean!!
I wish I could share the sensation with you – yes, you – of hearing, seeing and feeling the throb of the Pacific Ocean as it beats relentlessly against the rocky pillars of the shoreline.  On a sunny, cloudless day like today with the multi-hued seagulls wheeling about, sitting next to the love of my life, it’s hard to imagine wanting to be anywhere else in the world.   9/5/2010


July 4th, 2010.  I just published “The Legend of Fender’s Garage”, the Memoir of my father, Loren Fender.  See comments on the “Feedback” page.  The days in Yachats are warm and languid, the breezes are playful and the Pacific is sloshing about with vigor.  As I sat on my favorite rocky perch above the breaking waves, I considered how thankful I was for the freedoms I enjoy in America, for the beauty that surrounds me, for whatever ability I have to write and for the many people who call me friend.  All that from just one martini!

Today the Pacific is not playful.  There are no birds, not even seagulls.  My rocky perch juts out far enough that I can watch the mighty swells surge past and crash onto lower rocks, throwing huge sprays into the air.  As I reluctantly leave, 25-30 brown pelicans heading north dance in and out of the surging waves.  They belong to the sea, not the intertidal zone.    6/6/2010

birds again – blue jays this time.  The hot, bright deck flood lights are mounted on a small base against the wall.  On that base this mated pair of blue jays have been trying to stack small twigs and grasses to build a nest.  It won’t work.  I’ve told them but they continue.  I’ve removed half a rick of small twigs from the floor beneath their ill-fated effort.  Maybe a “scarefrog” will help.  I blame this behavior on global warming.         05-14-2010
I haven’t added anything recently because I’ve been working on the Memoir of my father who was born in 1903, lived through the Depression and four major world conflicts.  He had some remarkable experiences – which are requiring big blocks of time to explore.  When I finish, I’ll go enjoy my martini on the rocks and tell the birds how much I learned about myself while writing about my father. 04-20-10

Those little black birds were at it again, darting in and out of wave surges while searching for delectables in the intertidal zone.  This was a receding tide so they were fearless until…..the unthinkable happened!!  A small wave hit a projecting rock and shot directly sideways, drenching one of the little birds.  It shook itself, as if ridding the indignity, and returned to foraging.  3/22/10


The jingling of harness chain, the neighing of horse teams, the pounding surf and the rumble of huge wagon wheels were a frequent occurrence as freightwagons rolled north to Portland and Seattle along old County Road 804 in Yachats, Oregon back in the 1890’s.  Later roads, built further inland, replaced the 804 as the preferred travel route and the road fell into disrepair until 1986 when it was rebuilt and became a popular walking trail between the Adobe Inn and the Sandy beach 3/4 of a mile to the north. On cloudy, windy evenings when I venture forth to walk the 804, the surf roars and I swear I can hear the rumbling and jingling of ghost wagons moving their loads ever northward……..  3/12/10

A Neighborhood Walk with Pudgie:

Pudgie’s our dog….just in case you were wondering.  His official name, Pudge McDuff, is larger than he is.  He is a black, more-or-less purebred, Cocker Spaniel who has never met a bush he didn’t want to sniff.  I’ve decided he is a closet herbivore because he just loves to sniff all kinds of bushes, flowers and trees!  We use one of those leashes that pulls out, then reels back in so he can get to lots of flora. Quiz: For you math majors, how many trees can a small black dog on a 25 foot extendo-leash wrap himself around in a 2 mile walk?  Hint – think larger! As an aerobic exercise, a walk with Pudgie is 50% useless – that’s on the way out.  When I make the commitment to turn and start home, his psyche changes to that of “Speed Racer” – except, of course, for those few perfect, exquisitely scented bushes!  3/4/10


With ocean waves crashing below my rocky perch, I marvel at the courage of the small black birds who rush in to forage as soon as the water recedes.  Without fail, they know exactly when and how far to retreat before the next wave crashes down on their feeding grounds.  To be clear, they know precisely how high to skitter on the rocks so that each wave kisses their jet black feet. The whole group does this seconds before the wave arrives.  How in the world do they do this?  It’s as if they have some link to the immediate future.  When they suddenly all flew up to the level where I was sitting, I looked out at the relatively placid surf and spoke aloud, “Aha, you little rascals blew this one!”  Those nearest me looked at me disdainfully as the quiescent surf suddenly exploded into a mega-wave that almost splashed onto me.  This deserves more study on another “martinis on the rocks” trip!  2/28/10











February 26 2010 Categorized Under:

Comments are closed.