Photo of harbor in Depoe Bay, Oregon

Weekly Gem #192 Bigger than a bread box, but just barely!

Published 4/13/2019

Location: This hidden gem is located just east of the Pacific Ocean, in Depoe Bay, OR (see the Clue Me! Map). 

Depoe Bay has an interesting (little) harbor. It's only about 6 acres larger than a bread box. In fact, one claim to fame is that this harbor (as best we or they know) is the smallest natural harbor in the world. It has been dredged out now and then, because back in the day, it was nearly a beach during low tide. Fishing boats would routinely become stuck in the mud flats, with many 'keeled over' on their sides waiting for the tide to come back in.

Another claim to fame is that the harbor was used for filming a memorable scene in the 1975 movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (a movie in which Jack Nicholson played a new patient in an Oregon mental institution). In the movie, Nicholson's character, Randle McMurphy, takes other patients out on a boat to go fishing, but sticks to the safety of the harbor. Knowing the rough surf just outside the harbor, discretion was definitely the better part of valor, and the patients got their wish ... "You're a fisherman!"  

Had they taken a trip outside, they may have been safer than they thought. This harbor has a small Coast Guard Station, known to locals as the "Hole in the Wall Gang." They have a cutter ready to go 24/7, with the prow aimed right down the center of the harbor entrance. If someone gets into trouble at sea, they can be full throttle from the word go, and out of the harbor within seconds.


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


A Hole in the Wall


Depoe Bay Harbor

Why It's Interesting

This harbor is known as the world’s smallest natural navigable harbor.

Related Gems