By The Sea

Bandon, Oregon

Sept-Oct., 2000

One of the charming little seaside towns that we found on the Oregon Coast was a place called Bandon. It's located where the Coquille River flows into the Pacific Ocean. We went through 2 years ago and Bob went crabbing with some friends we met. (See Crabbing). The town itself is very interesting. It was obviously an old fishing town. However, most of the stores have been refurbished. It's a place where a lot of nature exploration is possible. They have an old lighthouse that you can take a tour of. Their beaches are famous for the beautiful agates you can find. There are times that the Dungeness Crabs are plentiful in the water (in late September), and then the Salmon start their run. You are permitted to fish for the Salmon on a very limited basis. I think at the time we were there it was three fish per person, per day, and those each had to be of a certain size. The fish were so thick in the river it was almost impossible not to catch one.
One of the things that we particularly liked to do was wander the beaches which
was very easy to do since the sand was well-packed and solid to walk on. The Oregon Coast here was like it was most places along the northern Pacific Coast, rugged. The view of the rocks from the beaches was just spectacular. Some rocks, as we found, you could actually walk to during low tide. But it is always wise anywhere on the ocean to be aware of the tide times and don't get caught stranded by an incoming tide. In Bandon we found out that every 24 hours and 50 minutes, the tide rises and falls twice. While we were in town we heard a local legend about something called Face Rock. Everyone said that we had to see it. Legend in hand we dutifully trudged out to the location where they said we could find Face Rock and lo and behold there it was. Now you have to understand that I have always had an overactive imagination when it came to legends and this was no exception. The legend of Face Rock is an old Indian legend. The story goes that there was to be a potlatch (an Indian get-together) of several famous Chiefs. Chief Siskiyou was chief of a tribe who lived in the mountains. He was the first chief to arrive with his beautiful daughter Ewauna. Ewauna had never before seen the sea and she decided that she had found the place where the beautiful clouds were made. She was fascinated by the sea, but her father warned her not to go near the shore because there was an evil spirit called Seatka who lived in the ocean and if he saw her he might claim her for his own. Several days later other tribes began arriving for the potlatch. Soon, there were many people there. One night after having feasted most of the day, all of the peoples in the tribe fell asleep. It was then that Ewauna took her cat and kittens and her dog, Komax, and went to the oceans edge. She dropped her basket containing the cat and kittens and told Komax to watch them. She ran out into the sea and started swimming. The moon was full and made the cove like daylight. As she swam Komax howled trying to warn her of the danger. She paid him no heed but swam on. Then the moon became obscured by a black hand and the next thing she knew she was being grasped by a fearsome creature who came out of the water near her. Komax, who had failed to make her hear his danger cry, swam out with the basket and, as the monster seized his beloved mistress, sunk his sharp teeth into the hand. Howling with rage, the creature threw off the dog, causing him to drop the basket. Grabbing the cat and kittens, the monster threw them far out into the sea. Seatka held the girl tightly, trying to make her look at him, as his treacherous power lay in his eyes. This she refused to do, telling him she never, never would look at him, keeping her face toward the friendly moon. At sunrise, her father awoke, and finding his daughter gone, gave the alarm. They all rushed to the sea. Fearfully, they gazed out, seeing the dawn break through the white mist, and then they saw the beautiful face of Ewauna lying on the sea, smiling up at the white clouds coming from the North. To the West, they saw her cat and kittens and near the beach, poor Komax baying for his mistress. Behind the large rocks near the shore sits Seatka, gazing at Ewauna, still trying to catch her eye. But never, never does she falter. Many, many moons has she been there. Now, they have all turned to stone.
Is this simply a story to explain the strange shaped rocks along the shore? Or did something strange really happen at water's edge in Bandon hundreds of years ago. The realists of you will probably say, of course they are nothing but rocks, but we romanticists might sit and ponder whether or not something happened that brought about this legend.
There are so many delightful things to see and do in Bandon, don't pass by without spending at least some time here to discover and learn for yourself.

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Good Luck! Have Fun! and Stay Safe!