Photo of waves near the Devil's Punchbowl in Oregon

Weekly Gem #240, The Devil's Gravy Boat?

Published 4/11/20

Location: This hidden gem is located just a few steps to the south of the Devil’s Punchbowl, in Otter Rock, OR (see the Clue Me! Map). 

The Devil’s Punchbowl gets all the press, and for good reason. It’s a truly unique outcome of rock, ocean, and time. The ocean enters and leaves the Punchbowl through an arch into the bottom of the bowl, the arch being difficult to see, and at high tide may be completely submerged. The appearance then is of a massive bowl filled with sloshing water, but nothing visible that causes the water to slosh.

It must be the Devil’s doing!

People will come, take a picture of the Punchbowl, and leave, not realizing the mesmerizing location just a few steps to the south. But take the trail to the south, just 30 or 40 steps, until you see this section of cliff that looks for all the world like the cross section of a … a gravy boat? Indeed. The arch into the Punchbowl is just at the far end of this Gravy Boat, and it seems that every drop of water is fighting to get in. (The top of the Punchbowl is visible to the far right in the photos)

The turmoil of this water is hypnotic. The waves come to shore and are compressed by the outer cliffs into the middle of the Gravy Boat. The rock that forms the ‘beach’ is steeply sloped, so there’s no gentle retreat of the waves … the water rushes up the cliff, and then turns around and surges even faster back out to sea. At the same time, here comes the next wave, shoving the whole kit and kaboodle back in.

As a result, the part of the Pacific Ocean that enters the Gravy Boat is never at peace, never placid or calm. It is always tumultuous, lathered, and chaotic.

If you tend to become mesmerized by the waves on the Oregon coast, you’d better bring a chair. You’ll be watching the Devil’s Gravy Boat for quite a while.


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


Look for water that's about to enter the Punchbowl


A section of trail overlooking a particularly mesmerizing section of Pacific Ocean

Why It's Interesting

This short section of cliff and beach is arranged so that the water is always frothy, foamy, and turbulent as all get out. It's a great place to watch water in action!

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