Inspiration on the Oregon coast Part 2

• Mind-bending labyrinth in the sand.
• Crashing waves and captivating video.
• The rugged south Oregon coastline.
• Tsunami warnings…. An overdue mega-quake is coming.

Our rental house in Yachats, on the Oregon coastline, was only 20 yards from the Yachats River and 150 yards from the Pacific Ocean. The water was always moving – tides coming in and out of the river which supplied a thousand seagulls with minnows every day, and waves breaking on rocks and ledges with hidden tidal pools of crabs and anemones.

Like gazing at a fire, water movement is enchanting to me. From my training I find the physics of water flow fascinating. But more than that, my mood gets reflective as I recall other rivers and oceans I have seen. I feel thankful, and thankful for God who put all this nature together. In this un-rush moment, I feel peace and calm and hope, and even inspiration.

Maeona Urban designing her labyrinth.

In one of these reflective moments, Maeona appeared on a large sandbar of the tidal river, and with a clam hoe began scraping lines in the sand. We had no idea what she was up to. But her gift unfolded slowly over time. What a surprise – she created a beautiful labyrinth.

I carried Chanel over to talk to Maeona, and she encouraged me to walk through the labyrinth. It was amazing to follow the path through four great spirals, which eventually led me back to a single exit right at the entrance. For other paintings by Maeona, click here.

I read once that the greatest art is ephemeral. And that is why a symphony is greater than an architectural masterpiece by Frank Lloyd-Wright. The labyrinth in the sand lasted only a few hours before the incoming tide obliterated it. Very ephemeral. Very artistic. Very sad.

The completed labyrinth on the sandbar viewed from the upper deck of our rental house in Yachats. Click to enlarge, then back-arrow to return to blog article.

CRASHING WAVES AND CAPTIVATING VIDEO. I am enchanted by waves crashing on rocks, and I love the challenge of trying to capture the moment of largest spray. I have fond memories of beating my brother Neil in this challenge in the wilds of Western Australia a few years ago. Below are four still shots from Oregon that I was pleased with.

Even better is a 15 second video of a crashing wave and a blowhole which acts like a geyser. Click here. After the end of the video, stop the video, then hit the back-arrow to return to blog article.



Near Devils Churn in Cape Perpetua park. Click to enlarge, then back-arrow to return to blog article.

Fogarty beach near Newport, Oregon. Click to enlarge, then back-arrow to return to blog article.

THE RUGGED SOUTH OREGON COASTLINE. After 40 years I returned to the southern Oregon coastline. I knew it was the most rugged portion of the coast, and the snaps below do justice to the spectacular scenery. To Australian readers, this is comparable to the Great Ocean Road in the state of Victoria.

Just south of the small town of Bandon.

North of Gold Beach town.










Mary and Chanel north of Gold Beach town. Click to enlarge, then back-arrow to return to blog article.

South of Gold Beach town.










Everywhere along the Oregon coast are tsunami warnings, like the sign in the picture. I vaguely knew that a great fault, called the CSZ fault, lies 50 miles offshore Oregon, and its overdue for a mega-earthquake, meaning magnitude 9 or greater.

The last one was in 1700, and down through history mega-earthquakes have occurred every 244 years on average. Since it’s been 317 years since the last big one, Oregon is overdue. Geologists have predicted the next big one will occur within the next 50 years, with high probability. An enormous tsunami will cause a Katrina-like disaster.

Initially, I hadn’t thought too much about this while staying on the Oregon river-beach rent house. But after seeing all these tsunami signs, I began to think about how to escape a tsunami if we felt a really big earthquake…. we would have only 15 minutes to get to higher ground, meaning 100 feet higher. The signs recommend running, but Gray Nomads like me cannot run that fast, especially with a metal hip in my body. To avoid a traffic jam on the road to the high ground of Cape Perpetua, we would have to grab the dog and leap into the car and blaze out of there. All very sobering.

Artist rendition of a tsunami hitting the beach. The beach and houses here look a bit like Yachats viewed from our rental house. Click to enlarge or to source.

Some chilling excerpts from a website are included below. If you’d like to read more, click here.


“Hey, you know that place your grandparents immigrated to, the place you call home, that seaside cottage? Well, it turns out to be a high-risk disaster zone. Yeah. We get a massive earthquake every 300 – 500 years around here, and we’re due. They’re super bad. When it comes, it’s a monster. A full-rip nine.”

By “full-rip nine” Corcoran means a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the kind of massive offshore temblor that triggered the tsunami that killed 28,050 people in Japan on March 11, 2011 (the Fukushima earthquake). Geologists call them mega-quakes. Geologists also call the Northwest coast of North America—from Vancouver Island down to Northern California—one of the likeliest next victims.

“When that earthquake hits, it’s going to shake for a long time,” says Corcoran. “Three to five minutes or more. You’re going to feel lucky to survive. Then guess what. You rode out the quake? Congratulations. Now you have 15 minutes to get above 50 feet of elevation. Fifteen minutes. You’re elderly and not very mobile? Sorry. Your condition does not change the geologic facts. It’s called a tsunami. The water’s coming. It can’t be stopped.”

It’s the old story all over again. Natural beauty and natural tragedy all mixed up together. Same as in our daily lives. In scenes and moments of wonder and beauty, I try to remember to thank God for creating these. In times of travail and trauma, I cling to God for comfort and peace and hope.

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The Gray Nomad ….. think well and stay informed.

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk [and make spiritual progress] upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility].
[from Book of Habakkuk, chapter 3 — Parentheses are from Amplified Bible.]

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6 years ago

Great Blog post Ian. I enjoyed it very much, and the pictures are amazing. Thanks. Makes me want to return to the Oregon coast soon. Maeona’s beautiful labyrinth is surely a work of art, how did she keep a perspective with such a large and integrated work of wonderful art? I also liked the colored pencil pictures of her art work provided by the “link.”

Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
6 years ago

Nomad, you forgot to say that you back the car, truck, bicycle, or whatever device you use to transport your body, nose out to the highway so you don’t run over someone when you are trying to leave immediately so the tsunami doesn’t get you!!!!

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