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Juliet Schreckinger - Pepper and Salt the Gray Whales and Their Lighthouse


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Pepper and Salt the Gray Whales and Their Lighthouse
13”x15”, Ink and graphite on Arches hot pressed paper

The Cape Meares lighthouse, the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon coast, was first lit on January 1, 1890 and had one of the most powerful First-order Fresnel lenses; it was the largest lens of its time. It is surrounded by the Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge. Although it stands only 38 feet tall, its Fresnel lens light can be seen for 21 miles out at sea because of the steep sea cliff it stands on.

This spot is home to many creatures, including sea birds, seals, orcas, and some resident pods of gray whales. Salt and Pepper first met at this iconic spot. Salt had recently traveled down to the warm waters off the coast of Baja, Mexico. She had felt quite homesick, and after about three weeks she began her journey back to the cold, plankton-rich waters of the North Pacific. Along the way she met Pepper, another gray whale returning to the cold waters. They traveled side by side, sharing stories of their adventures over the years. One night, a storm rolled in and the waters churned, creating powerful currents. They struggled to regain their orientation, and were lost in the deep, churning sea. Salt saw a glimmering light on the ocean surface, and began swimming to it as it was the only thing steady enough to concentrate on in these conditions. She swam faster and faster, and Pepper followed right behind her. She continued following the light, when suddenly Pepper cried out "Salt! Look down! We are flying!" Salt did look down, and to her surprise Pepper was right, they were flying. They were gliding towards the light, 20 miles away. They kept their course and finally made it to the coast, where the Cape Meares Lighthouse stood. They flew all around
the rocky coast, loving the way the light lit up the fog that engulfed them. From that point on, they always looked for the shimmering light on the surface during their travels back to the coast that feels most like home.