Cape What?

Cape Perpetua.

This headland forms a high, steep bluff above the ocean about 2 miles south of Yachats, Oregon. The cape was named by Captain James Cook on March 7, 1778 as he searched for the Pacific entrance to a Northwest Passage. He named the cape Perpetua because it was sighted on St. Perpetua’s Day.DSC_7912

We visited this area several times, and always found it to be much more windy than other nearby areas of the coastline. Its rock formations in the inter-tidal zone were also more dramatic than most nearby areas…and they generated more dramatic wave actions.DSC_7779

In the first photo above, if you click on it so it fills your screen, you can see a number of slots in the dark rock that extends into the water. These funnel water into ever-narrowing channels that cause the wave to explode when it finally reaches the end.

My interest in this area arose several years before we saw it. I had heard of an interesting formation named Thor’s Well, and was dying to photograph it.

I previously showed you a very poor photo of it, gotten under terribly windy conditions that coated my camera and lens with salt spray and caused waves that threatened my existence.

On this occasion, as you can see in the photos above, there was a lovely sunny day to welcome us.

Well, not exactly. Notice in those photos how there’s quite a dense fog offshore? And that wave in the photo above wasn’t a fluke.

Nope, there was quite a storm coming straight onto shore, and my chance to shoot Thor’s Well was brief.

I realize you can see the pictures below, but let me explain just a little before you pay them close attention!

Thor’s Well is a hole in the rocks about 10 feet across just a couple feet back from the edge. Near high tide, waves will wash into it, and will disappear down its throat. If surges in the ocean are timed just right, they will push water up from inside Thor’s Well, but it all immediately disappears down that throat.

On this occasion, we were there about an hour before high tide…and I wanted to stick around to see just how dramatic it could get! But that storm wasn’t about to wait, and I was risking my camera to salt spray even so!

Herewith, then, my two very modest efforts to show you what Thor’s Well looks like and acts like.DSC_7758DSC_7746


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